Off-Topic: Triple Train Trouble

I am a big fan of trains, I admit as much. I take the train almost every day to Stockholm, and I find that far superior to the stress and misery of driving a car or the poor comfort of a bus. I have always defended the railroad when people complain that trains are often late and unreliable.

But recently there have been a few cases of really bad delays hitting me… a couple of weeks ago, I missed a meeting at KTH by about 45 minutes after the train’s brakes broke. And today, we had an absolutely monumental delay — I arrived at my office some two-and-a-half hours late, which is pretty amazing (or abysmal) for a 40 minute train ride.

Along with thousands of other I got stuck after a power converter failure stopped all traffic from Gävle down to Älvsjö, and westwards to Västerås. Our train left Uppsala some one hour late, and south of Märsta we stopped and learnt that the locomotive had failed. So we limped back to Märsta, about two hours after we were supposed to leave Uppsala. At that point some of us left the long-distance trains and took the local Stockholm trains again. Which also had some fifteen minutes of delay, but compared to the rest of the day that we pretty much OK.

UNT article (in Swedish). Also, adding to the fun, the E4 down to Stockholm was also partially blocked (UNT), so the car or bus would have been pretty late as well. Fantastic day to get to work.

At least I got a lot of work done, you have to love laptops with large batteries (even if it was totally dry in the batteries when I got to Stockholm), Turbo 3G data cards, and mobile phones.

4 thoughts on “Off-Topic: Triple Train Trouble”

  1. Wow, and I thought I was on the worst train that day (the 7.30 direct train to Stockholm). After some slow going, we came to a complete stop in the middle of nowhere (well, somewhere near Rosersberg, which is a pretty good definition of nowhere), and enjoyed the view of some trees and a muddy field for the next one and a half hours before the train could move again.

    If I have to arrive at work two hours late, I much prefer it to be because I stayed in bed.

    (I can already imagine the follow-up post by some miserable third person: “You had trees? You lucky bastard!”…)

  2. I’ll bite as the third person: I took the bicycle and only heard of train problems when I got to work, in time 😉

    But many years ago I went by train from Umeå to Stockholm and experienced a delay of 8 hours. I don’t remember what the problem was, but I can assure you that I got to see a lot of trees. As compensation, the passengers got to buy something for 20 crowns from the on-board train shop.

    I should still say that in general I really like trains. It’s a really nice way of travelling when it works.

    // Simon

  3. I was once on a Eurostar train from Paris to Hamburg that was stopped in Brussels due to a strike of the Belgian train-people-something union. As a result, we had to take a slower train that left an hour later, was utterly crowded, and made us miss our Hamburg connection.

    Late at night, we had finally made our way on regional trains up to Copenhagen, and had to get a hotel for the night. The last train for Stockholm had already left a long time ago from Malmö. The original plan was to take a night train from Malmö to Stockholm.

    However, all reasonable hotels in Copenhagen were sold out due to a medical congress. We then scrambled and just managed to catch the last ferry across to Malmö (pre-bridge times this was), and finally found a hotel room.

    The next day we managed to get tickets exchanged for an early Intercity train, and got home only some half a day later than planned.


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