The current railway stretch between Oslo and Gothenburg lies along the ScandMed TEN-T corridor, and has been identified by the EU as a bottleneck to accessibility in the whole corridor. Travel times for train passengers on this route far surpasses that of road transport. It currently takes twice as long for a freight train going from Oslo to Gothenburg, as it does for a lorry traveling by road.
Of the seven trains daily frequenting the stretch in each direction, only three travel at full speed (around 85 km/pr.h). Furthermore, close to 97% of all freight between the two destinations happen via road transport, with over 70% of lorries returning empty. This presents two main challenges; 1) rail accessibility and travel times on the entire TEN-T corridor, all the way down to Hamburg becomes suboptimal; 2) the environmental effects of passenger travel in the stretch are far worse than with a well-functioning railway system. Hence, the bottleneck created by only having a single track between Oslo and Gothenburg is a huge infrastructural disadvantage for the entire TEN-T ScandMed corridor, prolonging travel times and hindering accessibility for the entire megaregion.
The stretch between Oslo and Gothenburg needs double tracks to create economic growth and improve our environment. With continuously stricter EU and national emission goals, we are dependent on well-functioning rail traffic. Electrical vehicles and hydrogen cars are a huge step in the right direction toward cutting emissions, but they do not have the range or efficiency to replace traveling by air and quick trips between cities and rural areas. Nor do they solve the issue of congestion on to roads. Pushing for new rail solutions is therefore the only sustainable alternative for mid-length travels.
STRING is engaging with stakeholders at the local, regional and national levels to strengthen the railway networks and propose new solutions to countering the increasing road traffic. We work to put this on the national agenda in all of our member countries, and as an urgent topic to be addressed in Brussels.