Take a train ride in Sweden. We’re a third world country in that aspect. We are a very environmentally aware nation, with insanely high taxes on petrol and diesel, which would trigger the need of a functional rail road one would think? Then rethink!
The tracks are old and require much maintenance. In some parts between our biggest cities we don’t even have double tracks! To make the maintence easier the government thought (a few years ago) that splitting the responsibilities between two state agencies was a awesome idea. Especially good was the idea to let them have their own separate budgets as well. Two beaurocratic colossals arguing who’s responsible for what. But wait, it gets better!
Instead of only having one stately owned company run the trains, tickets, baggage etc, we open the market to private companies. So now it will be cheaper for the costumers, when there’s more competition right? Yes, if you book a ticket a few days before (if there are any left). If you want to plan a trip a couple of weeks in advance you have to pay much more. So traveling to my wife’s family 450km away, bringing all 3 kids, and we want to sit next to each other all the way, costs us twice as much as taking the car.
A good thing for these companies though is that because something always breaks, making the majority of arrivals late, they don’t have to pay the costumers a full refund if they miss their next connection. Awesome!
In the meantime most of our goods are transported by foreign trucking companies. Who of course fill their tanks outside Sweden, with the filthiest diesel on the planet (thanks EU) and hire underpayed drivers from Eastern Europe. And every winter the roads are jammed up with these lorries, who have worn out tires and no snow chains. All because it’s not cost afficient transporting goods on our under dimensional rail road. Especially since it often breaks down and the two state agencies are short of staff.
I have a friend who’s one of the few specialised engineers left in Sweden who can repair signals etc, and they break all the time. He can be called to each corner of the country to make repairs. A very costly affair and a long wait until it’s all up and running again.