SJ to Lose Rail Monopoly
The state-owned Swedish Railway company, SJ, is to lose what’s left of its monopoly of the train market by October next year, according to Swedish transport minister Åsa Torstensson. Writing in the daily Dagens Nyheter the minister says scrapping SJ’s monopoly will hopefully make travelling by train easier, and make rail transport more competitive.
The deregulation will take place in small steps. Firstly train traffic on less busy routes at the weekend will be opened up to competition, then international routes, and finally all domestic routes.
SJ has already lost its monopoly on routes to the north of Sweden.
Opposition politicians are critical of the plans, saying the big problem for train travel in Sweden is that there just isn’t enough space on the tracks for more trains. They also say that private companies will no doubt concentrate on busy, profitable lines, while less popular routes will be neglected, and may eventually close.