Exhibitor interview WSP


Who are you and what is your role at WSP?
My name is Per L Larsson and and is head of Rail Advisory Rolling Stock, the department that works with trains within WSP Rail Advisory.

What kind of company is WSP?
WSP is one of the world's leading advisors and consulting companies in community development. With approximately 55,000 employees in over 40 countries, we bring together experts in analysis and technology to future-proof the world. We plan, project, design and project manage various tasks within transport and infrastructure, real estate and buildings, sustainability and the environment, energy, industry and urban development. In Sweden, we have around 4,100 employees.

Within Rail Advisory, which is the Nordic region's leading transport advisor, we are approximately 100 people who work with business advice, project management, technology and maintenance within train operations with the goal of strengthening the railway's competitiveness.

How come WSP has decided to participate in Train & Rail?
After a number of pandemic years when you could not meet and share experiences, it is very good that there is such an opportunity in the Nordics, where suppliers can show themselves and clients/owners/managers can listen and present their needs and thoughts for the future. For our part, we operate in the borderland between these. We can help them with what is important to think about and find forms of cooperation.

Which issue is most important from your perspective for the railways of the future?
There are many! I think one of the more important ones is how the industry can develop together faster to become more efficient and more attractive, e.g. how we can speed up ERTMS and automatic couplings for freight wagons to make freight transport more efficient.

If we are to be a good industry, we must have a stable supply of skills. People need to think that working with the railway is fun and exciting, so it needs to be heard and seen in a positive flow. That's why we bring in interns to show how fun it is.

What do you want from industry colleagues/decision makers so that society can better meet demand, financial frameworks and climate goals for future rail transport?
The industry itself is conservative and bureaucratic. Buying trains is a complicated process that is often appealed in the end and, in the worst case, everything has to start over. The delivery time will then be very long and we need to be faster. Other means of transport are quicker to adapt to new technology and are more flexible in meeting customers' needs. Freight traffic by truck has increased much more than by rail, and it is a struggle to get running times. Just-in-time deliveries can also be problematic, as the railway has a weakness in that it is quite sensitive. In return, large quantities can be transported cheaply and environmentally friendly.

New signal systems can optimize better and get more vehicles through in less time; automatic couplers make it faster to connect goods wagons. This must be addressed, otherwise there is a risk that freight traffic will only be by truck in the future.

We also need to build out new trunk lines for increased capacity, regardless of speed. With higher speed, the basis for larger regions also increases. The biggest disadvantage is, of course, that it costs money.

Finally, we must highlight the good examples where the railway makes a difference! Sometimes you get the impression that the train is bad because it gets a lot of negative criticism with delays and problems, but it does a lot of good!