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Demonopolization in the rail industry in Sweden

The Swedish rail infrastructure has a remarkable backstory, especially considering its neighbors in the north. In the 1980’s, the train and rail industry in Sweden was commercialized with an ambition on better infrastructure, more streamlined maintenance and higher passenger service. The results were questionable, as the division of the different areas ended up in more administration and poor cooperation between the parts.

Ultimately, this resulted in poorly maintained railways, and something had to be done. In may 2013, a committee was established to review the situation and to present recommendations according to the results. Several recommendations were outlined, including one that established a pressuring need for better rail infrastructure. This includes constructing new railways as well as a better maintenance strategy.

Geological challenges

The geological circumstances in Sweden are quite vulnerable and exposed to climate changes. This is clear in the report En klimatanpassad Järnväg by Johan Sundin from 2010. A large percentage of the Swedish infrastructure is constructed on clayey soil, which has the property of going from solid to soft when exposed to moisture. Moist clay has a higher tendency of giving in to pressure, that i.e. can be caused by heavy rolling stock. Because of this, precipitation and flooding can cause landslides, erosions, and mudflows, which further can change the geological characteristics of Sweden.

Rearmament of the rail infrastructure

In 2014, 430 billion DKK was appointed the Swedish infrastructure in the infrastructural plan for 2014-2025 (Ing.dk). This is a historical amount and it testifies that Sweden is ready to take on the task to optimize and modernize their infrastructure.

Digitalization of the railway

The government together with the main infrastructural operator, Trafikverket, acknowledges the need for new, innovative and smarter solutions to optimize the operation of the railway. Trafikverket supports research on this with the objective to figure out how digital solutions can be used to transform the operation of the railway and to secure the railway for climate changes.

Summary

Studies show that the Swedish rail infrastructure hasn’t been maintained optimally since the commercialization of the rail industry. The government, as well as operators, acknowledge the need for better and more stable infrastructure, which can be achieved through both constructing, reconstructing and modernizing the infrastructure.

Construction project: Olskroken, Göteborg

One of the largest rail construction projects currently running in Sweden, is the Olskroken project. Olskroken is an important nerve centre in Göteborg, and in order to optimize the rail capacity, the tracks are being re-organized. Railmonitors solution is being used to monitor tracks that are in operation during this construction work.

Read more here.

Groundwater monitoring in Luleå

Trafikverket is working towards optimizing their maintenance strategy. This calls for better insights into their assets so that they in the future can predict behaviour more precisely than ever possible before. Railmonitor monitors groundwater levels and tilting movements on a location near Luleå.

Read more about this here.

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