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Hallandsås rail tunnel opened after 23 years

Published tisdag 8 december 2015 kl 09.34
"This has been one of the worst bottle-necks in Sweden"
(1:00 min)
Det är en rund tunnel. Genom tunneln går ett spår för tåg.
Photo: TT.

It has taken over two decades and cost more than SEK 11 billion but now the railway tunnel through the Hallandsåsen ridge is finally finished.

The massive project to bore a 10 kilometre tunnel through the Hallandsåsen ridge began in 1992 but quickly ground to a halt when the first tunnel boring machine got stuck after just a few metres.

The construction project ran into problems again five years later when it was discovered that a chemical sealant had leaked into the groundwater and poisoned cows and fish in the region. The project was resumed in 2003 and now, 12 years later, the two railway tunnels are finally finished.

Ulf Angbert, the project's communications manager, says that he is proud that the construction is completed after all these years and that Tuesday's inauguration is a big moment for the Swedish Transport Administration.

"I feel proud. I have been a part of this project for years. The most memorable moment for me was when this giant tunnel boring machine came through the wall of the first tunnel, but today is also a very big moment," Ulf Angbert says.

Ulf Angbert says that many of the locals lost confidence in the project in the 1990's and that they have had to work hard to win it back.

"We have had to work very hard to bring that confidence back. We have had many meetings with the general public and have tried to tell them both good and bad things and give them straight answers," Angbert says.

The double-track railway tunnel will open for traffic this coming Sunday and will be the longest railway tunnel in Sweden. The tunnel will cut down travel time along the west coast with approximately 10 minutes, but Angbert says that the costly project still has been worth it.

"It's definitely been worth it. It's not just about saving a few minutes, but to increase the capacity along the Swedish West Coast. This has been one of the worst bottle-necks that we have had between Gothenburg and Malmö," Angbert says.

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