Double-track cross-river rail link in Gothenburg now open

08:34 - 21 Dec 2016 / Press

One of the most vulnerable points from an industry point of view has now been addressed. The double-track cross-river rail link in Gothenburg, with both the North Marieholm Bridge and the South Marieholm Bridge, became operational on December 19. The Port line in Gothenburg, which is one the most important rail links for Swedish exports and imports, is being gradually expanded into a double-track system to increase capacity.

The Port line in Gothenburg, which is one the most important rail links for Swedish exports and imports, is being gradually expanded into a double-track system to increase capacity.

The South Marieholm Bridge was completed in March this year and at the same time the Swedish Transport Administration began renovating the North Marieholm Bridge. Renovation work has now been completed and on December 19 the two tracks across the river were opened.

“Expansion of the Port Line is one the most important projects in our endeavour to increase freight traffic in Sweden and it is vital if the Port of Gothenburg is to grow,” said Svante Jonsson, project manager for the Port Line at the Swedish Transport Administration. The combination of sea and rail is the most efficient multimodal transport alternative from both an environmental and economic point of view.” 

The double-track cross-river rail link in Gothenburg, with both the North Marieholm Bridge and the South Marieholm Bridge, became operational on December 19. Picture:The Swedish Transport Administration

The Port Line is one of the most important rail links in Sweden and allows freight traffic from the whole of the Nordic region to reach the largest port in Scandinavia. Almost 60 per cent of container traffic in Sweden passes through the Port of Gothenburg.

The Port Line currently carries 70 trains each day. Now that the planned sections have been expanded, the potential daily capacity will be increased to 160 trains.

“The double-track Marieholm Bridge and the Port Line are crucial if freight transport to the port is to work effectively. More than half of the containers destined for the port already arrive by rail instead of by road. In the future, the number will increase even further,” said Magnus Kårestedt, Gothenburg Port Authority Chief Executive.

The rail link across the river has up to now been the most vulnerable point along the Port Line. If the only bridge that existed were to be damaged, or could not be closed, it would have major implications for industry. Analyses made by the Swedish Transport Administration showed that a stoppage lasting more than one week would cost industry in excess of 100 million kronor per day.

Fact file: Expansion of the Port Line
Under the National Plan, construction of the South Marieholm Bridge was only due to commence in 2018. To speed up the process, the City of Gothenburg, the Port of Gothenburg, the Västra Götaland Region and Volvo went in as co-financiers. Together, they contributed 315 million kronor, of which the Port of Gothenburg invested 85 million kronor. The project is also partly funded by the EU.

The expansion of the Port Line comprises five sections, including the South Marieholm Bridge. The two first sections, the South Marieholm Bridge and the Kville marshalling yard, have already been completed. Four of the stages are included in the Transport Administration National Plan. The fifth section runs between the Kville marshalling yard and Eriksberg. The assessment is that the final stage will be needed eventually although for the time being the first four sections offer a sufficiently large increase in capacity.

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