GREATER Stockholm Local Transport (SL) has decided not to extend MTR’s contract to operate Pendeltåg commuter trains in Stockholm, with a tender to be launched to operate the service after the existing contract ends in 2026.

The existing contract with MTR, which began in December 2016, included an option to extend to 2030, which SL has decided not to exercise.

“Looking at the entire period of the agreement, commuter train traffic has seen good development since MTR took over in 2016,” says SL head of administration, Mr David Lagneholm. “Since last autumn, however, there have been serious problems and the evaluation we carried out shows that the agreement has flaws that impair delivery. Therefore we are choosing not to extend the agreement.”

SL says the current agreement means that the operator has difficulty obtaining financial conditions to deliver high-quality services, and that rolling stock issues are being neglected, which affects service reliability.

The lessons learned from the existing agreement will guide the development of the new agreement, SL says.

“The people of Stockholm need, and deserve, a high-capacity and reliable commuter train service,” Lagneholm says. “In our discussions with MTR, we have underlined the importance of commuter trains running regularly and on time, a goal we fully agree on.”

MTR won the contract, which includes train operation, station management and rolling stock maintenance, against competition from Abellio, Keolis, Swedish national train operator SJ, and Tågkompaniet.