Sweden mulls new high-speed rail lines

Sweden mulls new high-speed rail lines
Sweden should build high-speed rail lines connecting Stockholm to Gothenburg and Malmö, a government appointed commission recommends.

According to the findings of a commission investigating the future of high speed rail in Sweden, building the new lines between the Swedish capital and the next two most populous cities would cost about 125 billion kronor ($17.6 billion), with the state financing about half of the cost.

Additional funding would come from local authorities and regions through which the lines would pass, as well as from the European Union and income from ticket sales.

Tracks in place today, which can carry trains traveling at speeds exceeding 200 kilometres per hour, are unable to accommodate modern high speed trains, which can reach speeds of 320 kilometres per hour.

Trains traveling at those speeds would halve travel time between Stockholm and Gothenburg to about two hours, while the time to travel from Stockholm to Malmö would drop to about two and a half hours.

“Building high-speed rail lines would create conditions for an entirely new transportation system with better options for the effective transport of goods and people, while at the same time altering the conditions governing where one chooses to work and live,” said lead investigator Gunnar Malm, head of the Arlandabanan rail line connecting Stockholm to Arlanda airport, in a statement.

Malm estimates that the new high-speed rail lines could be operational between 2023 and 2025.

The commission looking into high speed rail was appointed by the government in December 2008, and presented its findings to infrastructure minister Åsa Torstensson on Monday.

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