In 2025, a 40 percent increase in track access charges is planned in Sweden 06/03/24

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Author: Klara Eriksson


In 2025, a 40 percent increase in track access charges is planned in Sweden


In 2025, a 40 percent increase in track charges is planned, which has then increased by 500 percent since 2011 – an adaptation to EU requirements, which require track charges at the level of the railway's marginal cost. "We see that competitiveness is constantly deteriorating compared to road traffic," notes Gustaf Engstrand, head of economic policy at Tågföretagen.

From Dagens Logistik no. 1 2024


Part of the government's infrastructure policy is to pause the new trunk lines between Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö that were previously planned and instead move SEK 100 billion from investments to maintenance. The industry organization Tågföretagen is, however, skeptical of this solution – the resources are too small to be useful and new tracks are also important for maintenance, they say.

- If the new main lines had been built, when they were ready, they would have been able to pay off the maintenance debt on the old lines. It is better for society than carrying out track work while the tracks are in use, says Gustaf Engstrand.

The extra "maintenance money" from the government does not go very far either: the cost of just covering maintenance and already started investments in the infrastructure is estimated to amount to SEK 150 billion more than what the authority currently has in grants, according to the Swedish Transport Administration - which proposes a larger pot .


Higher costs for operators

The Swedish Transport Administration's framework for the infrastructure 2026–2037 includes 34 billion from the train companies in the form of track fees - fees that have been raised and continue to be raised to meet the EU's requirements - until 2025 with over 500 percent compared to 2012. It will be particularly expensive for freight traffic, as the marginal cost is assessed according to the wear and tear caused by an individual train, where it has been assumed that the weight of the train plays a major role.

- But this question is complex: weight of course plays a role, but also speed, and more, says Gustaf Engstrand.

The maintenance debt of 70–90 billion makes the marginal cost higher than it should be, he believes.

- At the same time, out of consideration for freight traffic, the track is maintained as it is today, with point-by-point interventions, often at night. It would have been cheaper to close a track for a longer period of time and repair it.


Coop "an example" on the railway

Gustaf Engstrand regrets Peter Rosendahl's experience with increasingly expensive rail freight.

- Coop is an example by showing that if you build a warehouse near the railway, you can also use it to a greater extent, he says.

Basically, it's about the railway's competitiveness, he believes

- We see that this is constantly deteriorating against road traffic, most recently it was the reduction obligation that was lowered, and then we have the BK4 rules - both things make it more advantageous to choose the road. At the same time, road traffic does not pay at all for its external costs in the form of e.g. emissions, microparticles, etc., he says.

As it is now, the companies that run goods by rail will pay 900 million in track fees in 2024 – a sum that will be over 1.2 billion in 2025, when the track fee is increased by 40 percent. At the same time, freight traffic receives SEK 550 million in support from the state in "environmental compensation".

- The support was introduced to compensate for increased track fees and to support freight traffic on the railway. It remains in 2025 but is no longer enough, and whether the support will be increased in 2025 or extended is still unclear.