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TRAVEL NEWS

Swedish government shelves plans for two fast train links

Sweden's government has called for a halt to planning to faster train links between Gothenburg and Borås and Jönköping and Hässleholm, in a move local politicians have called "a catastrophe".

Swedish government shelves plans for two fast train links
One of the trains that could be part of a new fast rail link between Oslo and Stockholm waits at Oslo Central Station. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold/NTB scanpix

In an announcement slipped out just before Christmas Eve, the government said it had instructed the Swedish Transport Administration to stop all planning for the Borås to Gothenburg link, stop the ongoing work on linking Hässleholm and Lund. 

“The government wants investments made in the railway system to first and foremost make it easier for commuting and cargo traffic, because that promotes jobs and growth,” infrastructure minister Andreas Carlson said in a press release. “Our approach is for all investments in the railways that are made to be more cost effective than if the original plan for new trunk lines was followed.” 

Ulf Olsson, the Social Democrat mayor in Borås, told the TT newswire that the decision was “a catastrophe”. 

“We already have Sweden’s slowest railway, so it’s totally unrealistic to try to build on the existing railway,” he said. We are Sweden’s third biggest commuting region and have no functioning rail system, and to release this the day before Christmas Eve is pretty symptomatic.”

Per Tryding, the deputy chief executive for the Southern Sweden Chamber of Commerce, complained that the decision meant Skåne, Sweden’s most southerly county, would now have no major rail infrastructure projects. 

“Now the only big investment in Skåne which was in the plan is disappearing, and Skåne already lay far behind Gothenburg and Stockholm,” he said.

“This is going to cause real problems and one thing that is certain that it’s going to take a very long time, whatever they eventually decide. It’s extremely strange to want to first suspend everything and then do an analysis instead of doing it the other way around.”  

The government’s instructions to the transport agency will also mean that there will be no further planning on the so-called central parts of the new planned trunk lines, between Linköping and Borås and Hässleholm and Jönköping. 

Carlson said that the government was prioritising “the existing rail network, better road standards, and a build-out of charging infrastructure”.

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TRANSPORT

Copenhagen Metro lines reopen after two-week closure

Lines M3 and M4 of the Copenhagen Metro are back in service having reopened on Sunday, one day ahead of schedule.

Copenhagen Metro lines reopen after two-week closure

The two lines had been closed so that the Metro can run test operations before opening five new stations on the M4 line this summer.

The tests, which began on February 10th, are now done and the lines were running again as of Sunday evening, a day ahead of the original planned reopening on Monday February 26th.

“We are very pleased to be able to welcome our passengers on to our two lines M3 and M4,” head of operations with the Metro Søren Boysen said.

“The whole test procedure exceeded all expectations and went faster than expected and we can therefore get a head start on our reopening now,” he said.

Time set aside for potential repeat tests was not needed in the event, allowing the test closures to be completed ahead of time.

“Several of our many tests went better than expected and we have therefore not used all the time we needed for extra tests,” Boysen said.

The two lines serve around one million passengers every week, according to the Metro company.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen city government greenlights extension to Metro line

The new stops on the M4 line will be located south of central Copenhagen in the Valby and Sydhavn areas. The will have the names Haveholmen, Enghave Brygge, Sluseholmen, Mozarts Plads and København Syd (Copenhagen South).

The M3 and M4 lines, the newer sections of the Metro, opened in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

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