Photo: Trafikverket / Veidekke

Sweden accelerates the North Bothnia railway

Sweden is taking the next step for the Norrbotnia line, a 270 kilometre new coastal high-speed railway between Umeå and Luleå. Infrastructure manager Trafikverket received the task to start planning the next section, Skellefteå – Luleå. More capacity, heavier goods and higher speeds are some of the benefits the brand new line will bring.

The Swedish government calls the North Bothnia line a strategically important investment, saying that it contributes to their goal of higher employment and reduced climate and environmental impact. It will run along the coast of the two northern most counties of Sweden: Norrbotten and Västerbotten.

The current main line in the North has a big shortcoming, and that is that the entire line is single-track. With the construction of the Norrbotnia line, capacity will be significantly improved and the railway’s vulnerability will decrease.

Trafikverket expects that the Norrbotnia line will be operated every day by approximately 44 passenger trains and 22 freight trains.

Halved travel times

In the national transport plan for 2018-2029, the government allocated money for the construction of the Norrbotnia line, Umeå-Skellefteå. Construction for the Umeå-Dåva section started in the autumn of 2018. Planning and construction of the section Umeå – Skellefteå is in progress and now the government instructs the Swedish Transport Administration to begin planning work for the remaining section Skellefteå – Luleå.

The new line will be important for passenger traffic along the Norrland coast by shortening travel times. With halved travel times, the distance between the cities on the coast shrinks and it becomes easier to travel between places in the region. This should contribute to the growth of the region.

Shifting transport to rail

With the Norrbotnia line, capacity is significantly improved as the new, modern railway runs in a straighter stretch near the coast where Norrland’s largest cities are located.

The Norrbotnia line is an important part of the European transport system and is part of the Core network and the Bothnian Corridor. It will be able to handle heavier loads and higher speeds, which will benefit freight traffic. Emissions of carbon dioxide are estimated to be decrease by about 80,000 tonnes per year by shifting transport from road to rail. According to Trafikverket, freight transport costs are reduced by up to 30 percent, travel times are halved. In case of traffic disruptions, it also becomes possible to divert traffic to another electrified track.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor of RailTech.com

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