According to Sweden's current national plan for the transport system (2018-2029), an expansion of new main lines will be carried out to increase capacity, shorten travel times and promote a transfer from air to train. The new main lines will also create the conditions for strong labour market regions and regional development according to the Sweden Negotiation and facilitate tomorrow's travel in Europe.
The Southern main line and the Western main line in Sweden are national arteries for passenger and freight traffic. The tracks are currently crowded and sensitive to disturbances. On the new main lines with new routes, there will be more room for long-distance and regional trains. At the same time, some of the load is being taken off the existing main lines and capacity is being freed up for more freight and commuter trains.
-The effects of new main lines will not only be increased capacity, improved punctuality and shorter travel times, but they will also enable growth for Sweden's business community and thus for Sweden's economic growth, says Ali Sadeghi, Programme Director for New Main Lines at the Swedish Transport Administration, a newly established programme that will only focus on railway expansion.
The expansion of an entire system of new main lines is a comprehensive and long-term societal development project which, regardless of its design, will cost a lot of money and take a long time, according to Ali.
- The pace of development and how this will be implemented depends to some extent on future funding and the form of funding, Ali explains.
In New Main Lines, planning and project design is currently underway, according to the present national plan, for three sections: Järna-Linköping (East Link), Lund-Hässleholm and Gothenburg-Borås, which correspond to forty per cent of the new main lines. The three projects are being built as double-track railways with common standards of technology and speed. The tracks will be operated by high-speed trains and fast regional trains. Preparatory work has been underway on the East Link since 2017 and start of construction for the first railway plan is scheduled for 2024.
In April 2021, the government's Infrastructure Bill "Future Infrastructure – Sustainable Investments throughout Sweden" proposed a total financial ceiling of SEK 799 billion for the state transport infrastructure during the period 2022-2033, of which SEK 437 billion is proposed to be used for investments in state railways and roads, among other things.
-We are now waiting for the government's funding process for the New Main Lines to be targeted and we are working on the three sections that have been decided until we get new directives and a new national plan in place next year, concludes Ali Sadeghi.