Will rail services be ready when the tunnel opens in 2021?
On February 26th representatives from the railway business in Germany, Denmark and Sweden attended the first meeting in the Dialogue Forum “Railway Corridor” in Copenhagen. The aim of the meeting was first to discuss the report “Traffic Analysis Malmö-Hamburg” prepared by the Consulting Company Vectura, secondly to discuss with Swedish researcher Hans Boysen, Royal Institute of Technology how an efficient railway and intermodal corridor could be established in the String Corridor.

Nearly all actors in the railway corridor were present:  Four out of five infrastructure managers, two out of three public transport authorities and two major railway companies. The discussions started on the "Traffic Analys". Vectura has analysed different infrastructure scenarios with different service levels.


Click here to read the article on Vectura's findings


The discussions soon turned from infrastructure requirement to organisational issues: Who should organise the rail service and make the investments in new electrical crossborder trains?


Three countries, three different systems


The 3 countries organise their passenger transport differently. In Germany and Sweden long-distance traffic is commercial and organised by independent railway operators without public subsidies. In Denmark all rails services are subsidised and run on a contract with the Ministry of Transport. InGermanyandSwedenall regional traffic is tendered by regional Public Transport Authorities. So the real challenge is to organise the service and agree on the investment. If the German Public Transport Authority, LVS, was to be be the partner on German side, decisions have to be taken within the coming year. In late2019 anew contractual period begins for the Fehmarn service. Since the tendering process is around 3-4 years they need to decide soon what kind of service should be offered in 2021.


The railway companies found that the concept of a fast train service would have a large impact on accessibility in the region. But there is a clear need for market studies in order to judge the commercial risks and justify investments in new trains. The discussions will continue on the next meeting.


More freight on trains for small cost


Mr Boysen presented his research on wider and higher freight trains in the STRING corridor in order to have more efficient freight traffic. If all the lines could fit the same intermodal standard as the Öresund bridge and the Fehmarn tunnel it will be possible to load more on the same train either in weight or volume. Depending on the type of goods efficiency can be raised by 17-50 %. Since practically all parts of the corridor are going to be rebuild, Mr Boysen claimed that the extra investments are relatively small compared to the impact on transport efficiency.

By Sten Hansen