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September 2005

Turnaround at Bombardier Transportation

Bombardier's rail division is again profitable after a cost-cutting program, says director André Navarri in an interview with Die Welt. Four of seven unprofitable factories have been closed, and the other three are being closed by April 2006. This sums up to cutting 7600 jobs. Bombardier is taking advantage of globalisation by moving some manufacturing to low-wage countries while retaining engineering jobs in western Europe. Navarri believes the consolidation wave is over, both for the big companies like Alstom and Siemens as well as for smaller train manufacturers. See also Die Welt's Bombardier fact box. (September 21st)

Transit Tenders Eat Swedish Monopoly?

Transit Battles SJ's Monopoly

Transit authorities in the Bergslagen and Skåne regions of Sweden are lobbying for the right to put out to tender traffic which would infringe on SJ's monopoly. This monopoly covers a national network of profitable long-distance passenger traffic. In collaboration with Danish authorities, Skåne transit is preparing a large tender of traffic stretching from København across the border to Malmö and 300km northward and eastward to Göteborg and Kalmar. In Bergslagen, the transit authorities say they can take over the trains to Stockholm by making better use of their Regina trains. They have better acceleration than SJ's X 2000 trains and could thus make more stops while maintaining the 2 hours trip time to Stockholm. The government has commissioned a report which concludes that SJ would go bankrupt if it loses the monopoly on the two lines to Skåne, but has not said anything about changing legislation to allow any of these plans. It has See also Tåg i Bergslagen press release in PDF and Skånetrafiken press release on the large tender. (September 21st)

First Commuter Trains to Arlanda Airport in 2006

The transit authorities in Stockholm and Uppsala have been authorised to run commuter trains Uppsala-Arlanda airport-Upplands Väsby (a suburb north of Stockholm). Once this is done, stage two will be to extend SL's commuter trains to Knivsta where they would meet up with UL's commuter train. This means that SL and UL would be offering services in competition with SJ's direct Uppsalapendel train, and Arlanda Express' monopoly on rail traffic between Stockholm Central and the airport. The new commuter trains will start operation in 2006. See also press releases from Upplands Lokaltrafik 1 and 2, and UL newsletter. (September 21st)

Free Internet on Swedish Trains

While installing wireless internet on its X 2000 fleet, SJ is offering the service for free during the fall. Modern computers configure themselves, while older ones may need to be set up with SSID to "SJ" and then go to the website This bulletin was written on the train. The internet connection is done with a combination of mobile phone and satellite networks. (September 16th)

Russian ICE Deal Re-Examined

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin was present at a signing ceremony for Russia\'s purchase of high-speed trains from Siemens, the deal is now in doubt following the appointment by Putin of a new railway boss. (September 16th)

Gunn Says Federal Goal is to Scuttle Amtrak

Amtrak Chief Executive David Gunn told a St. Louis audience in late August that the passenger railroad is not in a crisis, then blasted the U.S. Transportation Department for a mind-set he says could destroy Amtrak. (September 16th)

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