After a meeting with the Swedish Transport Administration on 17 November, both Region Blekinge and Region Kronoberg announced that they were withdrawing from the investment in passenger trains between Älmhult and Karlshamn. They then said that it would be too expensive.

But on Wednesday morning, the affected municipalities, regions and companies met again – and received a new message:

"We can't stop this and we don't want to risk it being delayed," says Mikael Johansson (M), chairman of the regional board in Kronoberg, to SVT Småland, referring to the fact that, for example, Volvo in Olofström is dependent on the rebuilt and expanded freight railway to achieve its environmental goals in time.

Sharply increased costs

At the beginning of the year, the Swedish Transport Administration announced that the cost of passenger trains appeared to be around SEK 400 million, compared to the original estimates of SEK 250 million. Of these, Region Kronoberg had reserved SEK 25 million and Region Blekinge SEK 50 million – sums that now looked set to at least double.

Mikael Johansson told SVT Småland that he experienced difficulties in negotiating with the Swedish Transport Administration about the financing and that this was one of the reasons why Region Kronoberg no longer wanted to be involved and pay.

Criticism from the municipalities concerned

But since then, the Swedish Transport Administration has warned that the expansion of freight traffic is also at risk if the investment in passenger trains does not materialize. The regions have also been sharply criticised by the municipalities concerned, including Älmhult.

After a heated political debate in Region Blekinge, their turnaround came – they are now prepared to increase their investment from SEK 50 million to SEK 115 million.

In Kronoberg, this announcement is welcomed by both the majority and the opposition:

- This is so important for Älmhult and Kronoberg but of course also for our neighbor Blekinge, says Henrietta Serrate (S), regional councillor for the Social Democrats in Kronoberg, to SVT Småland.