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Cost of high speed train future for Sweden rises

Published fredag 4 december 2015 kl 19.00
Björn Hasselgren: "Many expectations in Sweden to be connected by high-speed rail"
(2:35 min)
A Swedish high speed train, the X2000. File Photo: Tomas Oneborg / SvD / TT.
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A Swedish high speed train, the X2000. File Photo: Tomas Oneborg / SvD / TT.
Björn Hasselgren, Senior Adviser and Research Fellow at the Royal Technical College. Photo: Kaarina Wallin/Sveriges Radio Sisuradio
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Björn Hasselgren, Senior Adviser and Research Fellow at the Royal Technical College. Photo: Kaarina Wallin/Sveriges Radio Sisuradio

The price tag for a planned high speed train network in Sweden has gone up by around SEK 90 billion, according to a new report by the Swedish Transport Administration and newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

In 2014 the former conservative government launched the project and the current red-green government has over taken the reins since being elected last fall. Their task is now to propose where the new tracks will be laid and how the project will be financed.So far, the proposal is to connect Sweden's three largest cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, via Jönköping.

It was already a difficult financial situation for politicians when the price for the trains was estimated at SEK 170 billion. Now the fact that they can end up costing SEK 256 billion or more has created even more anxiety about where the money will come from to pay for the trains. According to the Transport Administration, the higher costs come from noise buffers, expensive bridges and tunnels and advanced track installation.

Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson told Dagens Nyheter Friday that "ingenuity" will be required to finance the new lines, since none of the alternatives so far proposed, like higher track access fees or private partnerships, can solve the entire economic problem.

The new high-speed lines will travel at 320 km per hour. With those speeds a trip between Stockholm and Gotheburg will take two hours and one between Stockholm and Malmö will take 2.5 hours.

A decision from parliament about the high-speed trains will come in 2018, and the plan is for the project to be operational in 2035.

Björn Hasselgren, Senior Adviser and Research Fellow at the Royal Technical College in Stockholm, told Radio Sweden that there is also a vision for another high-speed rail project that would work to connect Sweden and Finland. This project would involve building a tunnel between Norrtälje and the island of Åland, and would take about 15 minutes by trains that would travel up to 300 km per hour.

Hasselgren said that there has been nothing set in stone yet, but that there has been strong interest expressed from private and governmental elements in both countries.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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