THINGS did not go too swimmingly on January 6 when the CityPendeln consortium formed of Via GTI, Go Ahead and BK Tåg began operating Stockholm’s commuter services. The biggest problem appears to have been a shortage of drivers and other staff who decided at the last minute that they did not wish to leave Swedish State Railways, where their terms and conditions were better. Rush hour services were more than halved on some days, with 10 min interval services cut back to every half hour. Further chaos was caused by incompatible ticketing, as there was no agreement for inter-validity between SJ and CityPendeln services. There were suggestions that CityPendeln would have to pay more than SKr1m in compensation, and the situation grew so bad that the consortium’s managing director resigned on January 13.

We understand that Sydvästen’s operations on the West Coast line did not fare much better from January 9; again the difficulties were crew-related, but there was also a shortage of rolling stock and trouble with ticketing and seat reservations. By January 13 the government had decided that West Coast services would be brought back into the SJ fold from January 2001.