Get up to Speed – Fast Trains Series: CEO Crister Fritzon Talks SJ-Swedish Railways

High-Speed Train SJ 3000. © SJ_AB

High-Speed Train SJ 3000. © SJ_AB

So what’s the big deal about high-speed rail networks in Europe and at home? Rail Europe brings to you the second post in a series of interviews from CEOs of high-speed trains for an inside scoop. We’re featuring their inspirational words on our blog about every two weeks for the next several months. At the end of each post, we’ll ask a trivia question and you’ll have 24 hours to answer in our blog comments. From all correct answers, one winner will be selected to receive two complimentary rail tickets on the featured rail company’s high-speed network – up to a $599 value High-Speed Trivia Sweepstakes. See how fast can you answer!

Read on for the second post of our series: CEO Crister Fritzon on the Swedish high-speed trains.

CEO of SJ - Swedish Railways, Crister Fritzon. © SJ_AB

CEO of SJ – Swedish Railways, Crister Fritzon. © SJ_AB

How did your railway undertaking get started?

1798 The first documented rail track in Sweden and the carriages are pulled by horses
1855 Colonel Nils Ericson is appointed to lead the design and construction of Sweden’s main rail lines
1856 The Swedish State Railways is founded, operating with steam trains
1862 Stockholm/Gothenburg route is established, our prime route of today
1886 Our first sleepers are introduced
1895 The first electric route is introduced in and around Stockholm, one of the first in Europe at that time
1939 The government decides to create a state owned national railway SJ = Statens Järnvägar
1990 High-speed train is introduced
2011 Botniabanan is introduced, our latest railway connecting the coastline up to the north of Sweden (the previous track was inland)
2012 20 brand new high-speed trains operate as the SJ 3000

Where do you see the future of your railway 10 years from now?

SJ will be the market leader, with a customer oriented approach and an ongoing improvement of our environmental policy. Hopefully we will introduce high-speed lines connecting north and south of Sweden with a much faster infrastructure than today.

What can you say to convince the North Americans to take a ride on one of your trains?

Welcome to Sweden!

It doesn’t really matter what time of year you come to visit us. Experiencing Sweden in the winter is just as exciting and amazing as it is in the summer – regardless of whether you are heading for the big city heat or the wondrous wilderness of our northern realms. Travel by train, and you can rest assured that you have not only chosen the most ecologically sound alternative for your journey, you have also chosen the most comfortable and safest means of transport. You can quietly recline in a cozy seat on our modern trains and simply enjoy the trip as a delightful preview to the adventure that’s yet to come. And you can spend your time on board doing precisely as you please.

  • Anna

    Time was synchronized in Sweden in 1879 so that passengers travelling between Stockholm and Gothenburg would not reach the station too late according to local time.

    • wandajr

      To facilitate time schedules for the Railways throughout Sweden. Sweden was the first country to do so. Eliminated the private lines from being able to set their own timetables.

  • peter

    So people wouldn’t get to the station late to take the train between Gothenburg and Stockholm when the line between the two opened up in 1862 and to eliminate the private lines using their own time standards

  • anne

    So that passengers were not late for the trains ..

  • Christina Norton

    So that passengers following local time would not go to the station too late!

  • Christina Norton

    So that passengers following local time would not go to the station too late!

  • Kimberley Converse

    Synch time synched travel time for those in Gothenburg and Stockholm. Must not be late for the trains.

  • Kathleen Richichi

    Sweden introduced a railway time after the main railway between
    Stockholm and Gothenburg was opened in 1862. The time in Gothenburg, the
    westernmost end, was used, so passengers following local time would not
    go to the station too late. There were many private railways that
    followed local time or their own railway time. In 1879 a standard time was introduced, one hour more than Greenwich time.

  • Greg

    To make sure the time was standard at all train stations so it would not be confusing for passengers.

  • John Mac

    Time synchronization ensured that anyone travelling on the Gothenburg-Stockholm line would get to the station on time. Also, it eliminated the private system of time-keeping used on some rail lines.

  • Lorraine Hamel

    Sweden introduced a railway time after the main railway between Stockholm and Gothenburg was opened in 1862. The time in Gothenburg, the westernmost end, was used, so passengers following local time would not go to the station too late. There were many private railways that followed local time or their own railway time. In 1879 a standard time was introduced, one hour more than Greenwich time.

  • Helen York

    Time was synchonized throuout Sweden in 1879 to eliminate the confusion of conflicting local time zones, particularly when it came to accurate train arrivals and departures. Beforethe advent of rail travel, it didn’t really matter if the local clock in a town was a few minutes off, but with trains trying to adhere to a schedule, having one standard and universally accepted time became vitally important! Think how confusing catching the train could be if everyone at each station had their own wildly varying clock settings!
    Originally after the train line between Gothenburg and Stockholm opened in 1862, the train ran on Gothenburg time- but by 1879, the country and the rail-travelling public was ready to adopt a standard time, one hour ahaed of Greenwich Time. But it was all about rail!

  • Diane Frechette-Bartlett

    To facilitate time schedules for the Railways throughout Sweden. The first country to do so.

    • Helen York

      the first country to standardize was Great Britain, hence the Greenwich Meridian, which Sweden based its time on…

  • Aurora Luxuria

    To make it easier for train passengers to catch trains: the trains needed to run on an accurate schedule and that couldn’t happen if every town had its own time zone.

  • joeymegatron

    Yes, they synched the times to passengers following local time wouldn’t miss their trains which were scheduled with different time synchronization. Interesting to me in this whole history is that railways started their own time system in the first place–shouldn’t they have been more interested in making sure passengers were able to board than whether the trains were ‘on time’ according to their way to tell time? Why care that you are 10 minutes late leaving a station when there are no passengers because they don’t know or don’t remember your time is not their time?

  • Tony Albano

    So people wouldn’t get to the station late to take the train between Gothenburg and Stockholm when the line between the two opened up in 1862 and to eliminate the private lines using their own time standards

    • peter

      Post seems familiar……

  • Catherine Gilligan

    To ease train travel between cities so that arrivals and departures could be uniform throughout the country, especially once the railway between Stockholm and Gothenburg. Also to decrease accidents and collisions since trips were becoming very frequent.

  • Garrett Oler

    It was to eradicate the confusion of many different time zones and other time inconsistencies that made keeping a ‘schedule’ impossible. Most notably, the route between Gothenburg and Stockholm.

  • Leigh Edwards

    Time was synchronized to avoid inconveniencing passengers operating on different time zones, thereby making the system more efficient and eliminating any misunderstandings about when the trains were actually scheduled to arrive/depart.

  • Walter Jones

    The train line between Gothenburg and Stockholm was established 1862. The train schedule was based on Gothenburg time. Sweden in 1879 adopt a standard time, one hour ahead of Greenwich Time, to make the system more efficient.

  • redwriter

    To eliminate confusion about the arrival time of trains that traveled between different time zones, especially Stockholm and Gothenburg.

  • Matthew Vincent

    Sweden introduced a railway time after the main railway between Stockholm and Gothenburg was opened in 1862. The time in Gothenburg, the westernmost end, was used, so passengers following local time would not go to the station too late. There were many private railways that followed local time or their own railway time. In 1879 a standard time was introduced, one hour more than Greenwich time.

  • Carlos Valenzuela

    Sweden introduced a railway time after the main line between Stockholm and Gothenburg was opened as mention above in 1862. In Gothenburg the time was used so that passengers would not arrive too late. At the time there was a lot of private railways who used their own railway time or follow local time so to avoid all those confusions in 1879 a standard time was introduced, +1 of Greenwich time,

  • Penny

    Up until 1879 each city in Sweden had its own local time. But as the use of the railway became more and more popular in Sweden, the use of time also became more important. And it was difficult for train companies to write and keep an accurate time table due to all the different time zones. Which was why the Swedish Standard Time was introduced on January 1st in 1879. Actually Sweden was the first country in the world that legislated the introduction of Standard Time.

  • Gerald Dillon

    Gothenburg and Stockholm was established 1862,in 1879 a standard time was introduced

  • Helen York

    So who won?

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