Despite sufficient capacity, Sweden and Denmark eye ?resund rail expansion

A new rail freight line across the Oresund strait, connecting Denmark and Sweden, is going to be necessary in the future. The infrastructure that is currently in place will only be sufficient for the next 25 years. After that, capacity will need to grow.

Already now, however, there is a desire for redundancy to improve security. The Swedish government instructed its transport administration to investigate infrastructure capacity in the Oresund region, which is the region directly across the sea strait from Denmark. The conclusion from the research, which the transport administration presented this week, is that redundancy is already needed.

Even though the existing infrastructure provides enough capacity for current traffic, there is a desire to expand capacity for security reasons. "There is a societal benefit to developing a new infrastructure across the strait. But we see no need for capacity reasons until the very long term", says Lars Brummer, strategist and project manager at the Swedish transport administration.

Joint investigation with Denmark

It now proposes that Sweden and Denmark jointly investigate the development of Oresund infrastructure further.

The proposal was met with delight in Denmark, where authorities have already come to a similar conclusion. "The redundancy is not only important for the Greater Copenhagen region, but for all of Sweden and Denmark. From a security point of view, having only a single, fixed connection, which so many people and businesses depend on, is too vulnerable.

We must secure commuting and freight transport across the Oresund, so that the region does not come to a standstill when something happens to the existing bridge. It's also about securing Swedes' access to Copenhagen airport", says Copenhagen government official Lars Gaardhoj. Before another rail line can be built across the Oresund however, Sweden will need to add two new tracks between the towns of Lund and Hassleholm.

Only then can capacity along the strait be increased, according to Swedish publication SVT.

Multiple options on the table

There are various options on the table in order to increase capacity across the strait, namely:

  • a road-rail tunnel between Helsingborg (SE) and Helsingor (DK) strictly for passenger traffic (HH Tunnel),
  • a road-rail tunnel between Landskrona (SE) and Copenhagen (DK) (Europasparet),
  • or an underground railway from Malmo (SE) connected to the Copenhagen Metro System (Oresund Metro).

The HH Tunnel and Oresund Metro projects both entail creating new railway infrastructure for passengers so that the current Oresund Bridge would largely accommodate freight traffic. The Europasparet, on the other hand, would include the construction of a rail tunnel suitable for both passenger and freight traffic. The second option, the Europasparet, seems to be the preferred option based on Swedish reporting.

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