High Speed Rails in Sweden
This article is about two new high speed rail project in Sweden, Europabanan and Götalandsbanan.
Sweden is located in northern Europe, and is not just one of Europe’s largest countries measured by size, but also the largest market in the Nordic region. In the region, which in total is made up of nearly 25 million people, Sweden has the largest population, of which 85% of the residents live in the southern third of the country.
Sweden hosts an excellent infrastructure. It matches or outperforms that of any other European country. Extensive public investment ensures a nationwide network of roads, railroads, waterways, harbours and airports and sustainable development is at the forefront of Swedish society planning.
In 1988, the rail tracks were transferred from Swedish State Railways to the Swedish Rail Administration and the following years parts of The Swedish State Railways were gradually transformed into seven separate companies, all owned by the Swedish Government: These companies are:
SJ, the passenger train operator;
Green Cargo, which operates freight trains;
Jernhusen, which owns and maintains the real estate;
EuroMaint, train maintenance;
Unigrid, information technology;
TraffiCare, which provides terminal services, e.g. train cleaning and switching;
TrainTech Engineering, currently a part of Interfleet Technology, the technical unit.
The existing railways are relatively congested, because they are used by fast passenger trains, as well as slower regional trains and even slower cargo trains. Therefore, plans have been made for two totally new high speed railways in Sweden. The new rails would be built similar to French TGV-lines to allow for high speeds, between 300 and 320 km/h and would be dedicated to high speed passenger trains.
The first of the above mentioned high speed rail lines is called Europabanan (the Europe line), the name for its Swedish section, and it would lead from Jönköping to Helsingborg to Copenhagen through Malmö. Its length would be 300km
Europabanan would be connected to the second line which is called Götalandsbanan (the Götaland line) in Jönköping. This line would lead from Stockholm to Linköping to Jönköping to Borås and end in Gothenburg. The length of this line would be approximately 440km.
The main idea behind the creation of there two new rail lines is to reduce rail travel times between major cities in Sweden. One of the risks of the projects is the terrain which has steep hills, lots of lakes and wetlands, which could cause difficulties, add costs or reduce speed of construction. Therefore cost estimates should be made very carefully.
The rate of diversion from other means of traffic should also be carefully studied, and the emphasis should be put on socio-economic benefits.
It was important to detect the influence of the project in all of the four sections, to put emphasis not only on the hard factors, but also on the soft factors of the project, mainly the effect it will have on the community.
In the graphic displayed below, we have mapped the vision of the project, through four main factors that we identified were relevant in all of the projects we analysed.
The Europe Line
This line supports the idea of an European Corridor (Europakorridoren), whose goal is to establish a new railway between Hamburg and Stockholm, called the European Line. Until now, it got support from 40 different stakeholders, from local government to chambers of commerce and businesses. As mentioned earlier, it would be connected to the Götaland line in Jönkoping.
The Götaland Line
Trafikverket investigated the route Göthenburg – Jönkoping – Linköping – Stockholm, and Benverket wanted the entire project to be completed by 2030. But the national plan for the transport system 2010-2021 did not include funds for this line. Therefore, Swedish Transport Administration cancelled the project for now, but it may be built du
As for the financing of the both high speed rail lines, possible financing for the project is expected to come from the EU, regions and private financing as co-financing of the project, as well as from the State of Sweden as appropriations loans. Total estimated value is expected to reach
SEK 125 billion. The anticipated structure of the funding is displayed in the graphic below.
In conclusion, the construction of these two lines would provide the passengers with more reliable and safe travel, at the same time cutting travel times and reducing congestion in the rail network, which would in turn free capacity on the standard lines for freight transport. This all would further contribute to development and competitiveness of Sweden.
Next week we will feature another railway project in Sweden, the Arlanda airport link.