INTRO: Bo Bylund has successfully recrafted the structure of Sweden’s national infrastructure authority. Now he wants to take Banverket forward from the nightmare of the Hallandsås tunnel problems to deliver improvements which will help reinforce rail’s competitive position

THIS YEAR marks two important steps for Banverket. The first came on January 1, when the revised organisational structure was fully implemented. The second comes on January 1 1999, when the government’s decision to wipe out the vast majority of track access charges becomes effective.

Although the parliament’s acceptance of the government’s proposal is, in Byland’s words ’not as sensational as it might have been’ he is extremely pleased that it does set the general framework of government policy. ’The result is that the roles of SJ and Banverket are more clearly defined’, though obviously because of their political nature they are not set in stone forever.

What has been agreed is a 10-year investment plan, which takes Banverket forward from its strategy which has been implemented over the last 10 years since its formation. This will see SKr36bn of the state budget spent on railway infrastructure, broadly covering approved projects from the Stomnätsplan 1998-2007, but with the important addition of the Malm