Investigating a future high-speed railway in Sweden is not a new task for the Swedish Transport Administration. The former Swedish Rail Administration received the first such commission from the Government in 1993: Create a rough outline for a future high-speed network.
In the first half of the 1990s, the Swedish Rail Administration was involved in an adaptation of the Southern Main Line that would allow trains to drive at 200 kilometres per hour. They negotiated with land owners and municipalities about replacing level crossings with bridges. At the time, the talk of a high-speed railway was only seen as disruptive to that planning process.
But now a broad investigation base is available, and knowledge has been obtained from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan, among other sources. These countries built their high-speed railways for different purposes, and they have also had to deal with different challenges during the planning and construction stages – Japan has to give significantly more thought to earthquakes than Sweden does, for example.
Limited capacity on existing main lines
The existing main lines are currently being used for mixed traffic. Long-distance trains share the line with regional, commuter and freight trains. The capacity is limited, and the system is all too sensitive to disruptions. After studying a number of alternative solutions, the Swedish Transport Administration has chosen to continue planning a more or less separate system for high-speed trains. This means that it will be possible to use the existing lines for regional, commuter and freight transport more effectively, aiming for a higher level of punctuality.
The new separate high-speed railway will be used for express regional trains and high-speed trains travelling at the maximum speed possible on the track. The traffic prognoses produced by the Swedish Transport Administration are based on two and, in the long term, three departures per hour towards Göteborg and Malmö throughout most of the day. This is fewer departures than today, but as the new trains will be more than twice as long as the current trains, they will not need to make as many trips.
Benefits from efficient travel options
Everyone benefits from Sweden's investment in a modern railway network. Since the entire railway system is integrated, the new high-speed railways will relieve the system and improve its capacity. Efficient travel and transport options are beneficial to the labour market and growth in the whole country. The ongoing investigatory work has already shown that the positive impact of the new high-speed railways will not be limited to long-distance journeys. The regional train traffic will also be improved.