Infrastructure expansion

Sweden follows through with major projects after appeal for rail freight investments

Image: Shutterstock. © Frederick Hornung

In May, Swedish Railways made a serious appeal for additional investments in rail freight. A quarter of the country’s industry is affected by rail disruptions, and money is necessary to prevent more companies from taking losses. Now, the Swedish government approved two major projects for rail freight: a new line in the southeast and upgrades along another.

The Swedish government has given the green light to two infrastructure projects that are significant for rail freight. It plans to start construction works on both in 2027.

Firstly, Sweden will expand its network with a new line in the country’s southeast, the so-called Sydostlänken. It is a 17-kilometre extension of an already existing line towards the coast in the region of Blekinge. As part of the project, the soon-to-be extended line will also gain overhead lines and thus be electrified.

Secondly, the line in Bergslagen between Mjölby, north of Stockholm, and Storvik in central Sweden will get a capacity upgrade. While also used for passenger trains, it is an important route for freight traffic.

The southeast link

The Sydostlänken in southern Sweden runs from Älmhult to Olofström, and from there a new track will be built towards the coastal town of Karlshamn. The existing section will be upgraded and electrified. Moreover, it will be enriched with two new freight rail yards.

The port of Karlshamn. Image: Shutterstock. © Lars-Goran Heden.

Swedish freight operator Green Cargo operates on the existing part of the route and welcomes the new development. Its communication chief, Stephan Ray, explains: “Today Green Cargo operates the non-electrified route between Älmhult and Olofström for customers in the automotive industry and we hope that this decision means that the authorities will speed up the process of upgrading that infrastructure as a first phase”, he says. The Swedish transport administration also explicitly cites the connectivity of the automotive industry to the Karlshamn port as a benefit of the Sydostlänken’s extension.

Ray explains that there are more benefits to Sweden’s plans. “It will add a much-welcomed time saving route between Älmhult and the freight ports in Blekinge”, he says. “It will also mean a capacity increase in the connecting routes to Blekinge when present freight trains can use Sydostlänken instead. Sydostlänken will also function as a redundancy option for rerouting traffic in the case of infrastructure failure between Hässleholm and Älmhult.”

Sydostlänken, with the section to be electrified in red and the extension in yellow south of Olofström. Image: © Trafikverket.

The Bergslagen upgrade

The freight route through Bergslagen will get a capacity upgrade in the form of double tracks. “The double track will increase punctuality, improve traffic safety and enable more trains and sustainable transport both within Sweden and further out into Europe”, the traffic administration comments.

Earlier, Swedish Railways published a report on the effect of disruptions, delays and capacity restrictions on the country’s industry. It concluded that presently a quarter of all industrial companies experience problems due to the rail network’s shortcomings. In the long term, the sector’s competitiveness could take a hit in the absence of investments.

On the other hand, extra money has the potential to boost Sweden’s economic growth. With proper investments, increased production would be made possible as maintenance and capacity on the network would improve. By 2050, this could add three per cent to Sweden’s GDP, according to Swedish Railways.

Besides the investments in Blekinge and Bergslagen, Sweden plans to upgrade the economically and militarily vital Iron Ore Line. The transport administration also recommended upgrades to rail infrastructure across the Öresund Strait. There is currently only one line connecting Denmark and Sweden, and both countries desire redundancy desirable for security reasons.

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Sweden follows through with major projects after appeal for rail freight investments | RailFreight.com
Infrastructure expansion

Sweden follows through with major projects after appeal for rail freight investments

Image: Shutterstock. © Frederick Hornung

In May, Swedish Railways made a serious appeal for additional investments in rail freight. A quarter of the country’s industry is affected by rail disruptions, and money is necessary to prevent more companies from taking losses. Now, the Swedish government approved two major projects for rail freight: a new line in the southeast and upgrades along another.

The Swedish government has given the green light to two infrastructure projects that are significant for rail freight. It plans to start construction works on both in 2027.

Firstly, Sweden will expand its network with a new line in the country’s southeast, the so-called Sydostlänken. It is a 17-kilometre extension of an already existing line towards the coast in the region of Blekinge. As part of the project, the soon-to-be extended line will also gain overhead lines and thus be electrified.

Secondly, the line in Bergslagen between Mjölby, north of Stockholm, and Storvik in central Sweden will get a capacity upgrade. While also used for passenger trains, it is an important route for freight traffic.

The southeast link

The Sydostlänken in southern Sweden runs from Älmhult to Olofström, and from there a new track will be built towards the coastal town of Karlshamn. The existing section will be upgraded and electrified. Moreover, it will be enriched with two new freight rail yards.

The port of Karlshamn. Image: Shutterstock. © Lars-Goran Heden.

Swedish freight operator Green Cargo operates on the existing part of the route and welcomes the new development. Its communication chief, Stephan Ray, explains: “Today Green Cargo operates the non-electrified route between Älmhult and Olofström for customers in the automotive industry and we hope that this decision means that the authorities will speed up the process of upgrading that infrastructure as a first phase”, he says. The Swedish transport administration also explicitly cites the connectivity of the automotive industry to the Karlshamn port as a benefit of the Sydostlänken’s extension.

Ray explains that there are more benefits to Sweden’s plans. “It will add a much-welcomed time saving route between Älmhult and the freight ports in Blekinge”, he says. “It will also mean a capacity increase in the connecting routes to Blekinge when present freight trains can use Sydostlänken instead. Sydostlänken will also function as a redundancy option for rerouting traffic in the case of infrastructure failure between Hässleholm and Älmhult.”

Sydostlänken, with the section to be electrified in red and the extension in yellow south of Olofström. Image: © Trafikverket.

The Bergslagen upgrade

The freight route through Bergslagen will get a capacity upgrade in the form of double tracks. “The double track will increase punctuality, improve traffic safety and enable more trains and sustainable transport both within Sweden and further out into Europe”, the traffic administration comments.

Earlier, Swedish Railways published a report on the effect of disruptions, delays and capacity restrictions on the country’s industry. It concluded that presently a quarter of all industrial companies experience problems due to the rail network’s shortcomings. In the long term, the sector’s competitiveness could take a hit in the absence of investments.

On the other hand, extra money has the potential to boost Sweden’s economic growth. With proper investments, increased production would be made possible as maintenance and capacity on the network would improve. By 2050, this could add three per cent to Sweden’s GDP, according to Swedish Railways.

Besides the investments in Blekinge and Bergslagen, Sweden plans to upgrade the economically and militarily vital Iron Ore Line. The transport administration also recommended upgrades to rail infrastructure across the Öresund Strait. There is currently only one line connecting Denmark and Sweden, and both countries desire redundancy desirable for security reasons.

Also read:

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Author: Dennis van der Laan

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