Swedish trains have been paralysed after the network was hit with delays and cancellations caused by heavy snow fall and low temperatures.

This has caused huge amounts of ice to form under the trains, sometimes as much as 20 or 30t, which can take up to eight hours to thaw and damage sensitive systems.

According to SMHI, the national weather service, it has been the coldest winter since the mid-1980s.

Snow has been falling since mid-December and has drifted into rail switches where it has formed ice.

SJ chief executive Jan Forsberg said the Swedish train service system is overstretched and vulnerable to any kind of disturbance.

Snow drifts in Scandinavia range from 10cm to 75cm or even more in the north of the country.

Forsberg said SJ had been asking the government for years for extra funding and has been forced to cut back on staff to clear snow as part of cost-saving measures.

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SJ has been criticised for not keeping passengers up-to-date with delays and failing stranded passengers.

Some commuters in Stockholm have even been encouraged to work from home with Forsberg admitting improvements had to be made.