This week, we will be writing about the Citybanan project in Stockholm, Sweden, and it will the first of several posts related to Sweden-based projects. Sweden is known throughout the world as being a global leader of innovation with a highly skilled labour force, and a stable economy. The country’s competitiveness rests on distinct business environment indicators as well as more delicate indicators such as reliability, trust and quality of life.
Stockholm is one of the five fastest growing regions in Europe, with a current population of 900,000 in the inner city and 2 million in the county. 525,000 people work in the city, which is the economical centre of Scandinavia with the largest gross regional product and most multinational companies.
Stockholm County public transport is composed of suburban / regional rail, metro, bus, light rail tram and a boat operation. Greater Stockholm Public Transport, SL (owned by Stockholm County Council) is in charge for organising bus and rail transport.
An ambitious project to help cut congestion within the Stockholm commuter region is the Citybanan (“City line”) project, which is a six kilometre long commuter train tunnel under central Stockholm developed to double the rail capacity through the city and planned to open in 2017. The new rail tunnel will cut through solid rock some 10-45m below ground level.
There are not enough rail tracks in Stockholm, and that results in congestion in rail traffic and delays. Goods trains, long distance services, regional trains and commuter trains all operate on only two tracks at the moment.
When Stockholm City Line is finished, commuter trains will run on their own tracks in a 6 km-long tunnel, meaning they will become completely separate from the intercity trains within the city, which will continue to operate on the present tracks. This means that track capacity will be doubled, and trains will be able to run more frequently and punctually.
Two new commuter train stations where passengers can easily swap to other public transport are included in the project. Interchanges will be smoother because the new stations are located close to bus routes and metro lines.
The location deep below ground has made it important to technically and architecturally design the stations with great attention to safety, comfort, light and space. Fast elevators and escalators in glassed stairwells will provide travellers with efficient and convenient interchange transportation, and a common idiom that will make it easy to orientate.
For the most part, Stockholm City Line is passing through rock, but between Riddarholmen and Söder Mälarstrand it is running through a submerged concrete tunnel. Rail tracks will need to be reconstructed and adapted to future commuter train traffic between the Årsta bridges and Älvsjö. Therefore, a 1.4 km long bridge across the tracks at Årsta is being constructed.
As with previous articles in this series, the vision of the project was mapped through a graphic displaying four main factors that we identified were relevant in all of the projects we analysed, which is shown below.
Stockholm City Line is being built by the Swedish Transport Administration in close co-operation with the City of Stockholm, Stockholm County Council and Stockholm Transport, SL.
The structure of the involved entities was as displayed:
In this case study we have also researched the way the project was financed, and the structure of investments.
The City of Stockholm will invest SEK 900 million, Stockholm City Council will invest SEK 3 billon, and the rest of the costs will be covered by the country.
The parties (Stockholm City Council – SCC and the City of Stockholm) are jointly responsible for the funding of Citybanan. SCC and the City will partially finance the stations with a fixed amount of SEK 3.5 billion, equivalent to about 80% of estimated costs of the stations.
SCC and the city will cover 85% of the costs of the impact on public transport during the construction period, but with a maximum of SEK 340 million. SCC will finance control and monitoring with a fixed price of SEK 70 million. SCC and the City will provide staff to the common organization of audit, monitoring, inspections, etc., with a maximum cost of SEK 25 million.
The idea behind the Citybanan is not only to provide more frequent and punctual commuter traffic and more convenient transfers to other kinds of public transport, but also to contribute to a possible duplication of other train services to and from Stockholm. It makes it possible for both public transport and rail traffic to increase as it would ease the congestion problems and allow a more frequent service. Citybanan would also help a reduction of greenhouse gases of benefit not only to the Stockholm environment, but for all of Sweden.
Considering the fact that eight out of ten rail journeys in Sweden begin or end in Stockholm, the end of Citybanan project will mean that rail connections with the whole Sweden will be improved, because there the tracks running through the city will be doubled. This will obviously provide enough space for twice the number of trains running now, and reduce the risk of disruptions.
Our next article will be presenting Stockholm Central Station redevelopment, a construction of a new commuter station in Stockholm, which is also the largest railway station in Sweden.