Home: June / July 2012 › Good choice
04/07/2012 | Channel:
Infrastructure, Rolling Stock, Business Improvement, New Products & Services
Continuing in its commitment to promote the environmental benefits of rail transportation, SJ introduces its new flagship green fleet
Every day, approximately 100,000 people travel with Statens Järnvägars (SJ) AB, as the largest train operator in Sweden. The company in fact holds around 90 per cent of the long-distance passenger train travel market, for distances over 100 kilometres, and approximately 55 per cent of the total Swedish passenger rail market. Through these activities, SJ achieved a turnover of eight billion Swedish Krona (SEK) in 2011.
It is more than 150 years since the first train from SJ departed from Gothenburg central station, and the company has changed substantially in this time. It has been a limited liability company owned by the Swedish state since 2001, at which time the state authority SJ was formed and the business activities divided between six associated companies. This includes SJ AB, which is responsible for passenger transport. The incorporation of SJ saw it lose its monopoly on rail transport, but
has retained the exclusive rights to certain routes including, Stockholm to Gothenburg and Stockholm to Malmö, until October 2010. Since then the whole railway market is open to anyone.
At present SJ AB runs four main types of train service from high speed and intercity
trains, through to regional and night train offerings. SJ InterCity trains offer comfortable travel for medium to long distance journeys across Sweden, with a particular focus on weekend travellers. During 2009 and 2010, SJ carried out a programme of renovation on all InterCity carriages, which included updating
interiors, new lighting, and painting carriages black with tinted windows to reduce heat.
For those commuting shorter distances around Stockholm and Gothenburg, the SJ Regional trains offer both first and second class travel, whilst the SJ Night Trains operate over the much longer route from Narvik in the north of Sweden, to Malmö in the south. This service offers both seating and sleeping carriages, as well as refreshment facilities for travellers.
The SJ High-Speed trains are the company’s fastest and most comfortable fleet, consisting of the long distance SJ 2000 trains, and the newly introduced SJ 3000 trains for medium distance routes. As Sweden’s most modern high-speed train, the SJ 3000 is capable of fast acceleration and braking which means shorter travel times even on those routes with many stops. Each train is equipped with an energy-saving braking-system as well as LED lighting, and recycling facilities. Design consideration has been given to enhanced comfort with more leg room, better seating, additional luggage space, and a new information system with entertainment offering. The SJ 3000 is one of Sweden’s most eco-friendly trains, consisting of 98 per cent recyclable parts, with at least ten per cent of energy used when braking returned to the grid.
Although branded as the SJ 3000, the new trains are based on Bombardier Transportation’s Regina X55 intercity design, which has also served as the concept platform for Sweden’s Green Train research programme. Following the successful introduction of this new fleet earlier in the year, SJ has since been handed the Environmental Product Declaration (EDP) for the SJ 3000 by Bombardier Transportation. The Regina X55 intercity train is notable in its design for its high recoverability and recyclability rates, high energy efficiency and low noise levels. Greenhouse gas emissions throughout the train’s lifecycle are as minimal as 2.48 grams of CO2 per passenger per kilometer, which equates to 95 per cent lower than a car, bus, or airplane. The train has also been specifically designed to withstand the harsh Scandinavian weather conditions, and will be SJ’s new flagship offering.
Having maintained an environmental policy since 1988, green issues are close to the heart of SJ. All of the company’s trains are electrically powered, using only renewable energy produced from hydroelectric and wind-power facilities, which minimal emissions right through the supply chain. Likewise, all journey’s on SJ’s trains comply with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation’s Good Environmental Choice criteria, which is the world’s toughest eco-labelling system.
Of course, rail traffic is not without any sort of environmental footprint. Elements such as train maintenance, procurement, and onboard services like food, all require ongoing work to reduce their impact. This includes operational measures such as regenerative braking, onboard electricity meters to monitor consumption, eco-driving techniques, and reduced brake emissions. SJ also scraps worn-out carriages in an environmentally friendly way, with these dismantled manually and up to 99 per cent of materials sorted and recycled. Whilst this process does not carry a huge financial benefit for the company, the environmental benefits are considerable given that it takes 3.5 times as much energy to produce iron from ore as it does to reuse scrap.
Although the environmental benefits of trains, which SJ is keenly promoting, are now well recognised, it is vital that services also offer the speed and efficiency that the travelling public are looking for in transport connections. The SJ 3000 is a good example of how these requirements can be brought together into one offering, and as such continues to hold SJ up as a leader in sustainable mass transport.