The West Link inauguration…

…does not occur today. All too familiar, much work remains before train traffic can start rolling through the tunnel. But had construction time been the same as for the comparable City Tunnel in Malmö, the inauguration would have taken place this very day, March 4.

The City Tunnel

Work on the City Tunnel in Malmö began in March 2005 and was completed in December 2010. The basic idea, just as for the West Link, was to eliminate the terminus layout of Malmö Station and allow for trains to pass through. The solution, with a tunnel linking the central city to the urban developments in Hyllie appears very well planned. Compared with the old tracks circling the city, the tunnel forms a shortcut to the Øresund Bridge and Denmark. Along the way it connects to both the commercial centre of Triangeln, with Malmö Konsthall and Malmö Concert Hall within walking distance, and Hyllie with its substantial developments. Overall, it is a very rational solution that in an elegant way increases access to Malmö’s main central areas.

In addition, the former Continental Line around the city has been devoted to local train services, complete with a new, much needed station in Rosengård.

The West Link

Compared to Malmö’s City Tunnel, the West Link in Gothenburg does not present a new shortcut in the railroad network. Rather, it has the character of a rather large balloon loop beneath the central areas of the city. Among its benefits is the access it grants the Central Station and Korsvägen, with visitor destinations such as the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, the Scandinavium Arena and Liseberg amusement park. On the contrary, the Haga Station has all along stood out as a far less strategic point. To some degree, this has changed with recent developments around the Masthuggskajen area. But a station at Järntorget would undoubtedly have been more spot on.

The tunnel has been designed to run through bedrock as much as possible, avoiding the infamous Gothenburg clay that the city is built upon.

Having run out of money at a point where construction work is only half way finished, big problems arise. The Swedish Transport Administration and the local municipal government disagree on the issue of where to find additional funding. Solutions are currently not within reach. The West Link is part of a larger package, with large infrastructure projects co-financed between municipality and state.

Stockholm City Line

If compared with a third Swedish tunnel project of roughly the same length, the Stockholm City Line, the West Link is still within time frame. An equal number of work days would then set the inauguration date to November 14, 2026. This is in line with the Transport Administration’s original plan. Currently, works are thought to be finished between 2029 and 2032.

But that of course implies that financial issues are solved first.


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