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In Korea the group took the KTX (Korea Train eXpress) between Seoul and Daejeon. Due to the cold, the train only ran at 250 km/h as opposed to the normal 300 km/h.

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Study trip to Korea and China in search of new insights

To learn more about how high-speed railways are constructed, a delegation from the Swedish Transport Administration with participants from project Göteborg-Borås and others spent a week in Korea and China.

The study trip included both meetings with the countries' railway authorities and individual potential suppliers. Participants came back to Sweden with new insights and knowledge about both the purchasing and the production process.

Participating on behalf of project Göteborg-Borås were Project Director Sara Distner, Technical Manager Tomas Johansson and Procurement Manager Roland Mårtensson.

"As we take the first steps toward a Swedish high-speed railway, it is incredibly valuable to learn about other countries' experiences in this field, not least to find smart solutions and key figures that may save us money," notes Sara Distner.

More expensive to build on bridges than on banks

"One of the things that we were able to confirm is that it is more expensive to build railways on bridges than on banks. It can be up to twice as expensive and is not faster to build," says the East Link's deputy Project Director and Sustainability Manager Anna Forslund, and continues:

"The reason why they choose bridges in China is to reduce the risk of subsidence, especially when ground conditions are poor. Taking up less land and reducing barrier effects are other advantages of using bridges."

In China, all land is owned by the state which means that planning times are significantly shorter than in Sweden. Another difference is how far the countries have come in working with environmental and sustainability issues.

"We have come a long way in Sweden when it comes to resource use," says Anna Forslund.

Ready to share their experiences

Andreas Hult, Project Director for the measure selection studies Linköping–Borås and Jönköping–Malmö felt that the trip was very rewarding:

"I got a lot of input regarding planning, expanding and operating high-speed railways. It was interesting to meet different suppliers. We will bring this knowledge home and use it in our future work."

Purchaser Mikaela Mogren is also happy to have studied purchasing and procurement in China and Korea. She says that the meetings were less strict than she had expected:

"They were knowledgeable, interested and willing to share their experiences with Sweden. The meetings were also fairly light-hearted, we talked a lot and they really showed that they were interested in working with us. In Korea they said that the three main things they associate with Sweden are beautiful nature, welfare systems and ABBA."

A few facts

  • China's longest bridge on the high-speed railway is 160 km.
  • The railway is designed for 350 km/h but trains run at 300.
  • China's high-speed lines are exposed to temperatures ranging from -40 to +40 degrees.
  • Korea has three high-speed lines.
  • The majority of the companies on the market are domestic.
  • Korea aims to make it possible to reach any part of the country in 90 minutes by train.