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Investment to develop more robust train switches

Published lördag 30 april 2011 kl 12.44
It will take decades to change all the old switches. Photo: Johan Nilsson/Scanpix

The numerous train delays and disruption on the railways over the past few years are partly due to ageing switches. The estimate that they would last for 40 years has simply been too optimistic, Swedish Radio News reports.

Now the Swedish Transport Administration will invest 1,6 million US dollars to develop more robust railway switches.

"These days a railway switch is worn out after 30 years. The last ten years we are living on charity and then inevitably there will be a lot of problems. By getting a more stabile switch that lasts longer you solve a part of the problem," Arne Nilsson, railway engineer at the Swedish Transport Administration tells Swedish Radio News.

Problems with the switches are behind one in five disruptions on the railways in this country. The Swedish railway system currently has 6,500 switches. But it takes time to renew the switches, as the Transport Administration is able to change - at the most - 200 switches per year. "Then it will take time to change some 6000 switches, we are talking 30 or 40 years," says Arne Nilsson.

Asked about the timing of the five year research project into more robust switches, Nilsson says that "there has been an increased focus to get these things to work and it has taken quite a long time to convince people, internally and externally, that there is a need for more money."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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