SJ night train

Photos: SJ/Christian Kruse

SWEDEN: The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a SKr1·37bn Swedish scheme to support the rail passenger and freight sectors during the coronavirus outbreak.

This will take the form of a reduction of infrastructure access charges for the period from March 1 2020 to September 30 2021. This is designed to prevent rail losing market share to competing modes, and to encourage modal shift from road to rail.

The commission found that the scheme was beneficial for the environment and for reducing road congestion, and proportionate and necessary to support modal shift whilst not leading to undue competition distortions.

‘The scheme approved today will help rail freight and passenger operators in Sweden weather the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak’, said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, on December 7. ‘The measure will contribute to maintaining the competitiveness of rail compared to other modes of transport, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal. We continue working with all member states to ensure that national support measures can be put in place as quickly and effectively as possible, in line with EU rules.’