Despite upgrades and repairs to tracks, the number of hours of delays in Swedish train traffic increased from 76,100 hours to 77,200 hours between 2013 and 2016. And at the same time, the number of travellers seeking and being granted compensation for those delays has decreased.
“You need to remember that we have more trains running now than four years ago, so there will be more delays then,” Trafikverket deputy planning chief Tommy Jonsson said, explaining that everything from trees blown onto tracks, to birds deciding to rest in unfortunate locations can cause power shortages and delays.
Trafikverket is now set to map out how the Swedish government's increased funding of 125 billion kronor to rail maintenance across the next eleven years can be best used.
“It's a big project and we’re working frantically on it. But almost as big a share of the errors lie with the rail vehicles, which are SJ's responsibility,” Jonsson noted.
Complaints of delays on the rail network are common in Sweden. Last year, figures showed that the country's high-speed trains are the worst in Europe and among the worst internationally when it comes to arriving on time, with only 66 percent of them arriving within five minutes of their intended times between 2008 and 2015.
Many tracks require significant maintenance work, with some in use for as long as 150 years.