Rail - week 46

Tågresenärer Foto:Mostphotos


Passenger railway traffic has been strongly affected by the corona crisis since the end of March while the freight traffic shows less sensitivity.

Large reductions in passenger train traffic

Passenger train traffic measured in train-kilometres has increased every year since 2005. The development during the initial 11 calendar weeks of 2020 appears to follow the same trend (Figure 1). Thereafter the passenger train traffic is rapidly declining to levels below those from 2019. In 2020 between week 13 and 35, the traffic was 10–30 percent lower than in 2019. The largest decrease was during week 21, -30 percent. During the last week measured (calender week 46), the difference was -7 percent. Note that calendar effects, such as the time of Easter, affect weekly comparisons. 

Figure 1. Passenger railway traffic, by calendar week year 2019 and 2020. Thousands of train-kilometres.
Source: The Swedish Transport Administration
Note: Calendar effects, such as the time of Easter, affect weekly comparisons.

Traffic with short-, medium and long-distance passenger trains has decreased compared to previous year (Figure 2). Train-kilometres for long-distance trains has decreased the most, with -25 percent in week 46. The corresponding figure for short-distance and medium-distance trains is -8 percent and -2 percent respectively. It was also the long-distance passenger traffic that was fastest to reduce the traffic

Figure 2. Passenger railway traffic, by sort of trains and calendar week. Thousands of train-kilometres. Year 2019 and 2020.
Source: The Swedish Transport Administration
Note: Calendar effects, such as the time of Easter, affect weekly comparisons.
Sort of train is missing for a few passenger trains and those trains are not included in the figure.

Changes in rail traffic may also affect the length of trains. Initially, when passenger traffic declined after week 12, the average length of medium- and long-distance trains also decreased (Figure 3). In week 14, the trains were 9 and 3 per cent shorter than the average in weeks 2–11. Since then, the trains have become longer. In calender week 46, the short- and long-distance trains were 6 respectively 4 percent longer while the medium-distance trains were 1 percent shorter, compared with before the traffic decline (weeks 2–11). Please note that we lack information on train length in 2019.

Figure 3. Average length (metres) of passenger trains per week and sort of train in 2020.
Source: The Swedish Transport Administration
Note: Calendar effects, such as the time of Easter, affect weekly comparisons.
Sort of train is missing for a few passenger trains and those trains are not included in the figure.

Minor variations in freight traffic

The development of freight train traffic so far shows no clear trend in 2020, it has been similar to the previous year’s trend (Figure 4). During the last calendar week measured (week 46), freight train traffic measured in gross-gross tonne-kilometres hauled was 12 percent higher in 2020, compared with the same week last year. Smaller differences between 2019 and 2020 can to some extent be explained by calendar effects, such as the time of Easter. 

Figure 4. Freight railway traffic, by calendar week year 2019 and 2020. Million gross-gross tonne kilometres hauled.
Source: The Swedish Transport Administration
Note: Calendar effects, such as the time of Easter, affect weekly comparisons.

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