Why not take the train?

Dagens Nyheter report that the Swedish train travelling made a slight decrease last year. If you are worried about what happened with the profits of SJ, I can ease you anxiety. They are decent. In a related article from the same newspaper, the CEO of SJ blames the weather for the so-so reliability of the time table, stating that the infrastructure is very sensitive. The chairman of SJ, old right-wing politician Ulf Adelsohn blames past governments for not investing in improving the railway system, referring to a study showing that Sweden spends very little on upkeep.

Regardless of this, aren’t we in Sweden supposed to be super environmentally friendly and take the train wherever we go? My view on it is that it is not so much the lack of reliability as much as the price of tickets that is the problem. Going from Luleå to Stockholm with a train takes like 13 hours if it is on time, which it never is. I just checked some prices for a roundtrip between the two cities next friday with a return on Monday, and the price with SJ would be SEK 950 as a student, choosing the cheapest fares of course. Taking SAS would cost you SEK 1089, but would get you there in 1h 15 mins. Of course, you would have to pay about 200 more to get to and from the airport, but in the end you will have paid like SEK 300 more in order to save 24 hours of your life not sitting in a crappy train. If SJ wants to get more people to take the train, they should spend less money on advertising making people feel guilty about the environment and more money on price incentives. /Fredric

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