Track maintenance and delayed timetable deliveries continue to negatively impact rail traffic
The Swedish Transport Administration is continuing to experience major issues with the delivery of timetables to freight train operators as well as in the maintenance planning and updated train timetables for the rest of year (track maintenance). Green Cargo, together with a number of our major customers, has written both to the Minister for Business and Industry and to the Minister for Infrastructure to request an urgent meeting to further highlight the acute prevailing situation. In addition, Green Cargo has written separately to the State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure to request an urgent meeting with our CEO Peter Viinapuu and Chairman Andreas Regnell.
The deterioration in data and the delayed timetable deliveries are primarily due to the Swedish Transport Administration’s introduction of the MPK system for traffic planning. The introduction of and implementation of the system has required and will continue to require additional resources. Additionally, there are many issues for the Swedish Transport Administration to remedy before the system can fully function.
The Agency’s new planning system has received much attention since autumn 2022. Even though canceled passenger trains and late ticket releases ahead of major holidays have generated the most debate, this is far outweighed by the economic damage to Swedish business.
The plan that the Swedish Transport Administration has now presented, which primarily pertains to operational management and planning of rail traffic, poses extensive short-term challenges in terms of the business sector’s vital need for rail transportation.
Pursuant to EU directives, train operators must receive confirmed timetables from the Swedish Transport Administration not later than 18 weeks prior to implementation. The latest timetable plan update with relevant timetables was received with only 5 days’ notice. In many cases, performing at least 12 weeks of planning in just a few days is completely unreasonable both for us as a freight operator and for our customers’ own value chains.
In the spring and summer, the Swedish Transport Administration conducts a considerable number of planned track maintenance works across the country. We are all well aware of the maintenance debt burdening the rail infrastructure and welcome the government’s focus on addressing it. At the same time, our belief is that some of the measures aimed at addressing issues that stem from many years of poor maintenance need to be revisited in the short term. The situation arising from the Swedish Transport Administration’s planning system, combined with extensive track maintenance, is now threatening a considerable proportion of the business sector’s rail freight this summer.
Even though the Swedish Transport Administration has postponed a number of track maintenance works in the summer, this will not be enough. Green Cargo has clearly stated that more non-essential track maintenance must be postponed to create scope for sustainable planning conditions to ensure that freight transportation can be conducted.
In parallel, we will continue to work hard together with the Swedish Transport Administration to minimize delays that could impact you as a customer.
For up-to-date information, follow the situation here on the Traffic Information page or contact your regular customer coordinator at Customer Service.