The Swedish railway: with successes and setbacks
18 September 2014 • Author(s): Christel Wiman, CEO of ASTOC
Rail in Sweden has been under the spotlight for the last 4-5 years, but the good news is that the Swedish railway is now transporting more passengers and cargo than ever before, reports Christel Wiman, CEO of ASTOC – the Association of Swedish Train Operating Companies. More and more people are dependent on the railway for commuting and going about their daily routines. But the increased traffic raises some negative issues, including a lack of capacity – not great when trains are already running on old and poorly maintained infrastructure due to a lack of investment over recent years. This causes traffic management problems – occurrences that passengers and freight owners of course do not want.
If Sweden did not have a railway network, it would not be the exporting nation it proudly is today. Sweden is still export-dependent of raw materials such as iron ore, steel and forest products from the northern parts of the country, requiring a well-functioning, efficient and competitive transport system. In the forest industry, the cost of transport is more than 20% of the product value – price and delivery are crucial for competitiveness.