Tough times for train employees working on the night train.Photo: Archive photo

Drunk passengers shut down the night train

"Scared to go to work"
2:53 min

Drunk passengers have managed to shut down a night train between two small cities in south central Sweden. And it looks like the night train will not be moving anytime soon.

The weekend night train from Falköping to Skövde in Västrä Götaland has been off the tracks for two months. This after safety supervisors decided that the work environment was too dangerous.

The two cities each have less than 35,000 residents. And the train ride between the two destinations is only 17 minutes long. But apparently that is long enough for passengers to cause problems for train staff.

In April, employees working on the weekend night trains said they had had enough. They were sick and tired of drunk passengers who refused to pay. They were fed up with being exposed to threats and violence while on the job.

"We talk about it every day at work, if there's ever going to be a solution to this problem. But I think most of the passengers have an understanding for our working situation and realize that there must be some solution first,” a safety inspector for the SJ Götalandståg, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Swedish Radio.

The safety inspector says that the company that runs the trains, Västrafik, has konwn about the problem since February but has not done anything about it.

"The employees who worked at night on weekends were scared to go to work. When you asked for a passenger to pay for a ticket the situation would get heated,” he said.

The employees are demanding that a security guard be stationed on board the train so they can kick off any rowdy passengers. They also want passengers to pay for tickets before they get on the train.

The municipality of Falköping wants the night train to return to action, but say they are waiting for Västtrafik to make the next move.

Meanwhile passengers are feeling the pain. "It stinks, because it's good to be able to, come home at night to Falköping when you've been out in Skövde,” says train passenger Joakim Angel.

Angel says he does not think the train should have been cancelled.  He says there has to be a better way to solve the problem.

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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