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East Link helps provide a sustainable transport system

On 31 August, the Swedish Transport Administration’s proposal for a national plan for the transport system for 2018-2029 was presented. We propose that the East Link is designed as a high-speed railway for 250 km/hr using conventional railway technology.

This work has been conducted on assignment by and according to a directive from the government and encompasses measures for maintaining and developing our national infrastructure within the framework of the appropriations we have been awarded. The combination of measures presented shall discerningly contribute towards the best possible benefits for a modern, efficient and sustainable transport system.

According to the planning directive, the high-speed railway shall be built in stages, and at a rate permitted by financing. The government has also indicated that construction of the East Link and Lund-Hässleholm shall commence within the period for the national plan, 2018-2029.

The Swedish Transport Administration has now proposed that the high-speed sections shall be built for a speed of 250 km/hr instead of 320 km/hr and with proven railway technology with track ballast. If the high-speed lines from Stockholm to Gothenburg/Malmö are developed successively and in stages for a speed of up to 320 km/hr, it will take a long time before we can exploit such high speeds. It will not be profitable for the traffic operators to invest in trains capable of such speeds until the entire system is ready. Given a gradual development and existing appropriations, this will take a very long time.

The difference in travel time from Stockholm to Linköping with an increased speed of 250 km/hr is approximately six minutes for the East Link. The time difference is so low because, e.g. the East Link passes through several town centres along this stretch, where speed has to be reduced irrespective of whether the link is developed for 250 km/hr or 320 km/hr.

The costs are in general the same as reported in former prognoses. It may seem strange, but after substantial work on calculations, we can confirm that the technology and speed in our design process would result in a total cost of up to SEK 65 billion. An amendment to the technical standard would result in a reduction of just over SEK 10 billion, and a total cost of approximately SEK 54 billion, just lower than the figure previously reported.

In connection with the publication of our proposal for the national plan, we also propose a new time for completion of the East Link – between 2033 and 2035. The reason for the time delay is the need for more design work. The development of the East Link is more complex than initially expected, and we have made several comprehensive amendments along the way.

Our assignment remains

During the autumn and up to and including the spring of 2018, the decision-making process will take place, resulting in a resolution adopted by the government. Our assignment is to realise the East Link, with a speed standard of 320 km/hr. This assignment remains. The Swedish Transport Administration will also study the impact of a change of standard to 250 km/hr making use of proven railway technology.

 

Best regards,

Malin Holen