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‘The contract has fallen victim to the pandemic’, said Dan Olofsson, Head of Tendered Services at national operator SJ after an agreement was reached for the early termination of the Bergslagen passenger operating contract.
The contract covering services on nine routes radiating from Borlänge and Västeräs was awarded by local rail agency Tåg i Bergslagen on behalf of the Örebro, Västmanland, Gävleborg and Dalarna regions, and was due to run for 10 years from December 2016.
The operator carries most of the financial risk, with 90% of revenue based on ridership and 10% on local authority support, and so was badly hit by the pandemic when revenues dropped by up to 50% while costs remained largely unchanged.
SJ invoked a clause allowing the contract to be renegotiated if circumstances changed, and agreement has now been reached to terminate the contract three years early in December 2023.
TiB is planning to call tenders for a new contract, with consideration being given to adopting a different contractual model. TiB said it had been happy with SJ’s performance, while SJ indicated it may bid but it was now very difficult to predict future ridership.
New trainsMeanwhile, local authority owned rolling stock leasing company Transitio has awarded Stadler a contract to supply seven double-deck EMUs for use on Bergslagen services.
The four-car units are scheduled to be delivered in winter 2022-23. ‘For our passengers, this means higher comfort and a better travel experience. After trying the trains, I know that they run smoothly and nicely even on older tracks where some of our other trains do not’, said TiB CEO Maja Rapp, who joined from SJ in May.
The latest contract takes the total number of Stadler double-deck EMUs ordered in Sweden to 60. Stadler’s Head Sales Ansgar Brockmeyer said the design was tailor made for Sweden, with high levels of passenger comfort, a focus on green technology and winterisation, while Transitio CEO Magnus von Bahr said the type has ‘proven to be robust, reliable and appreciated by the passengers’.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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