Putting into action large-scale rail projects

Posted: 26 September 2013 | | No comments yet

The first railway in Sweden was built in 1856. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Sweden had a combination of both private and public railways…

After the 1930s, the railways were nationalised with the establishment of Statens Järnväger (SJ) – Swedish Rail. In 1988, SJ was split into Banverket (for rail infrastructure) and SJ (for train operations). Since 2000, maintenance has been subject to competition, and in 2010, the Banverket Maintenance Division became a state-owned company called Infranord AB. Furthermore, in 2010, Banverket and Vägverket merged to become Trafikverket – the Swedish Transport Administration.

The Swedish railway system comprises 11,900km of railway lines – 90% of which are electrified and there are 11,400 sets of points and 560 railway stations.
Negative factors

There are only a limited number of railway contractors that are active on the Swedish market, one of which – Infranord – is the dominant player. The railways have a maintenance backlog and consequently there is no spare capacity, which makes it a vulnerable system.

Negative factors

There are only a limited number of railway contractors that are active on the Swedish market, one of which – Infranord – is the dominant player. The railways have a maintenance backlog and consequently there is no spare capacity, which makes it a vulnerable system.

Positive factors

Rail in Sweden is a popular mode of transportation and the country’s government is increasing its spending on the railways by 20%. Since the Swedish state finances are in good order, it means that the funding of projects is secure.

Supplier market

The supplier market is one of the most important areas in the EU strategy for Trafikverket.

Since Trafikverket only receives a limited number of tenders per procurement, we are trying to encourage more foreign suppliers to submit tenders and thereby increase the level of competition in procurements. We do this by holding seminars abroad, arranging an International Suppliers’ Day, publishing a newsletter for foreign suppliers, conducting 1-2-1-meetings and by publishing the latest information on our projects in foreign magazines.

Rail projects


Six maintenance areas per year are subject to competition. The contract time is 5+1+1 years. Each maintenance area is €40-50 million/seven years. The time it takes to make a bid is three months and the time to establish is 9-12 months. The contract contains an incentive if reduction in faults in the rail system and a penalty if failure to meet response times when faults in the rail system occur. Trafikverket provides stock with material to correct acute faults and the contractor takes care of the stock.


The Flackarp–Arlöv project entails upgrading of the present double-track line to four tracks over an 8km-long stretch of the Southern main line between Malmö and Lund. The project is being implemented because of the need for increased capacity on one of Sweden’s busiest lines.

Noise pollution from the trains, which is one of the most serious environmental issues for local residents in this area, must be reduced. Therefore, parts of the railway will be lowered below ground level – by approximately 4m through the village of Hjärup and by 6m through Åkarp. A 400m-long tunnel will also be built in Åkarp.

The reconstruction of three stations is also included in the project. The stations at Hjärup and Åkarp will be built on a lower level and adapted for the requirements of people with reduced mobility, while Arlöv will become a regional commuter train station.

The project is expected to cost approxi mately SEK 3.8 billion, with construction work planned to start in 2016, taking an estimated five years to complete.


The construction time schedule and financing for the two stages in Hallsberg–Degerön (Stenkumla–Dunsjö and double tracks through Hallsberg) have not yet been established.

Currently, tender enquiry documents for the construction contract of the double-tracking section will be in autumn 2014 (at the earliest), with construction estimated to start in spring 2015. The budget, including the proprietor’s costs, is SEK 830 million at the 2012 price level.

For the Stenkumla–Dunsjö section, tender enquiry documents for the design and build contract are to be issued in spring 2014 with start of construction estimated no earlier than spring 2015. The budget, including the proprietor’s costs, is SEK 800 million at the 2012 price level.

The West Link

At present, design work on the railway plan and preliminary design documents, including an environmental impact assessment, for the West Link is in progress. These are expected to be ready for review in December 2014. Between 2013 and 2014, Trafikverket will be preparing and packaging the future contract procure ments in dialogue with the market. By approximately 2015, Trafikverket plans to distribute the enquiry documents for preparatory works, such as utility line re-routings, access tunnels, etc., and in 2016 intends to distribute the enquiry documents for the construction works. Start of construction for the project is expected to take place in 2018, which will mean a completion date of approxi mately 2028.

The Harbour Line

The Harbour Line – the railway link between Gothenburg Harbour and the rest of Sweden – requires an increase in capacity, safety and standard.

Kville Shunting Yard

Work at the Kville Shunting Yard is required to create concurrent implementation for through-tracks and the existing shunting yard, and to prepare for a future increase in speed. This will be achieved by converting existing points (approximately 30 sets) and the adaptation of associated track, electrical, signal and telecom (BEST) works and earthworks. There is also contaminated soil to be dealt with. Conversion and production is expected in 2015 and 2016.


A new double-track line between Eriksberg– Pölsebo is needed, plus an improved environment for the residents in this neighbourhood. This will be achieved by building a 1.2km-long tunnel with appurtenant track connection in a so-called ‘trough’. The tunnel will pass beneath a heavily built-up urban area and through old parks. Specific problems exist in connection with existing pipes, utility lines and hydrology (water pressure in the tunnel). At present, production is planned for the period 2018-2021, (but there is also a proposal to perform the work from 2016 to 2019 – not decided yet).


Double-track upgrading is required on this section. New tracks will be laid alongside the existing one. Cautious blasting will be needed because the track passes through an industrial area with special environmental requirements and oil storage caverns. At present, production is planned for 2018-21, (but there is also a proposal to perform the work over the period 2016-2019 – not decided yet).

Varberg Tunnel

Work to the Varberg Tunnel is required to create better commuting potential and be able to move freight transport to the railways. Trafikverket intend to procure JP/SH/DP now so that work on the railway plan can begin at the end of 2013. The construction period is planned for 2019-2024.

ERTMS introduced in Sweden

In 2017, Trafikverket will start to introduce ERTMS – the new traffic control system for trains – in Sweden on the Southern mainline between Stockholm and Malmö. After this, the system will be introduced into the Swedish rail network up until 2035. Together with the East Link, this project is Trafikverket’s single largest invest – ment, with an estimated cost in the region of SEK 30 billion.

Andres Strandberg, ERTMS Project Director at Trafikverket, explains: “The present ATC system is approaching the end of its lifetime. ERTMS will help to acquire a system that no longer requires locomotive and driver changes at border crossings and will link together the European railways.” Anders continues: “At the same time, ERTMS will make it possible to operate more trains, and the increased capacity will help to strengthen the competitiveness of the railways.”

Pilot tracks in operation

A number of pilot tracks have been constructed in Sweden which will have been in operation for several years by the time ERTMS is introduced between Stockholm and Malmö. In this way, the ground system function will have been secured. All approved on-board equipment and ground systems must be able to work together. It will be possible to check functionality between systems by means of laboratory tests in order to make sure that the on-board systems work together with the ground installations.

The introduction of ERTMS entails a tech – nological shift in which the Swedish ATC system is replaced by a modern traffic control system. Sweden has opted for the so-called vehicle strategy which means that equipment is first installed on-board the vehicles, after which it is possible with the aid of the new technology to link in different tracks. Vehicle owners will be responsible for the on-board ERTMS equipment.

The cost for the introduction of ERTMS in Sweden is estimated to be in the region of SEK 28-33 billion, SEK 2.6-4.4 billion of which is for on-board equipment.

In order to make sure that the system shift will work, it is essential that all the players involved perform their appointed undertakings. Trafikverket is responsible for construction of the ground installations and the railway vehicle owners for the installation of the onboard equipment.

“From a socio-economic point-of-view, this is a profitable technological shift, primarily as a result of shorter travel times and lower maintenance costs,” explains Anders. “Initially, major investments will have to be made in ground and vehicle equipment, and these will need to be planned together with the railway companies. The transition will need to be made in a controlled way and with a minimal impact on rail traffic.”

Sweden’s deregulated railway market differs significantly from that of other countries, so how will the on-board equipment be financed? In a number of countries, where the state owns most of the vehicles, financing can be arranged in other ways than those possible in Sweden, where the vehicles are owned by independent companies.

ERTMS is a joint EU initiative and the system is expected to have been fully introduced in Sweden by 2035.

The East Link project and the Göteborg–Borås project

On 15 October 2012, the Swedish government identified the East Link project and the Göteborg–Borås project – both parts of the future Götaland Line – as investments in the Infrastructure Bill that was submitted to Parliament on the same day. Consequently, Trafikverket is currently investigating the design of the projects and its results were reported to the government in June 2013. The East Link project is a new, approximately 150 km-long, double-track railway for high-speed trains between Järna and Linköping. The Göteborg– Borås project is a new, approximately 70kmlong, double-track railway for high-speed trains running between the two largest cities in Western Sweden.

The government has commissioned Trafikverket to investigate the dual-track design of the projects and their planned implementation periods. Furthermore, Trafikverket is also tasked with providing more detailed construction cost estimates and with describing alternative speed options and the impact of the system speeds in general. Aspects other than the construction cost also need to be reported, such as the effects of wear, energy consumption and operation and maintenance at various speeds. Trafikverket submitted a report to the government in June 2013 together with its proposal for a new intermodal investment plan for the next 12 years.

The purpose of the East Link project is to strengthen the transport potential within the area and to forge closer links between the provinces of Östergötland, Södermanland and Mälardalen in order to create a new large region. The Göteborg–Borås project aims to improve mobility, safety and environment in the Western Sweden region and it will also provide a new connection by rail to Sweden’s second largest airport, Landvetter. The projects will create two links in the future Götaland Line between Stockholm and Göteborg via Jönköping and Borås, and are also intended to strengthen relations between Stockholm and Malmö.

At this stage of the project work, planning in connection with consultant procurements for system designs, railway plans and environmental impact assessments is in full swing. The work on compiling new master time schedules has also started, and is to be finalised in the autumn of 2013. Furthermore, work has also started on the question of admissibility, which in the final instance is a matter to be decided on by the Swedish government. According to the govern – ment’s Infrastructure Bill, construction work on the projects is expected to commence no earlier than 2017 and to be completed by 2028 (East Link). The East Link project is expected to cost approximately SEK 35 billion and will be partially funded by the European Union. The Göteborg–Borås project is estimated to cost somewhere in the region of SEK 15 billion (2008 price level).


Camilla Ahston has a Master of Laws from the University of Lund with specialisation in public procurement. She has worked in the field of public procurement both in Sweden and abroad over the past 12 years, during which time she completed the procurement of goods, services and works, conducted training in public procurement and conducted audits in public procurement. Camilla has worked at the Swedish Transport Administration (former Railroad Administration) for the past eight years and has been working for several years as a procurement strategist with special responsibility for the work to attract foreign suppliers.

Jan Schönbeck has been Director of Purchasing & Logistics at Trafikverket since May 2010. Jan’s career in supply chain management started back in the late 1980s and he held several management positions within different industries (chemical, paper and telecoms) before he joined public services and Trafikverket. Jan is responsible for the development and implementation of Trafikverket’s new supply strategy and organisation.