Banverket - Articles and news items
Construction of a tunnel through the Hallandsås Ridge in southwest Sweden has given rise to many emotions over the years and the project has suffered several setbacks. Yet because of, or perhaps thanks to, its history, the tunnel is now one of Sweden’s most well-planned construction projects. Today, the project has Swedish and international expertise of world-class, and environmental and safety standards are rigorous.
With traffic increasing steadily, Banverket is seeking more money to finance new lines, adding extra capacity and improving maintenance in the Swedish rail system. Over the past decade, rail traffic growth in Sweden has been impressive. Passenger loadings are up by almost three quarters, while freight traffic has grown by more than a quarter.
The new European signalling system, ERTMS, will have a big impact on how the driver operates the train. ERTMS is in fact a signalling system that gives possibilities to support the driver in planning and driving of the train. This is a big difference for a lot of countries where the ATP-system of today is ‘punishing’ the driver.
Two severe accidents in 2004 and 2005 brought focus on the dangers of level crossings. According to ‘Vision Zero’, fatalities and severe injuries are not acceptable in the transport system. Since level crossings concern many key players, Banverket took the first steps to cooperation and Vägverket provided the OLA working approach.
During the Easter period of 2008, Banverket Produktion carried out the biggest ever signal replacement in Sweden and one that could possibly be considered the biggest in the whole of Europe.
For more than 20 years, there has been a political discussion about more rail lines running through Stockholm. For the same length of time, hundreds of thousands of travellers have endured heavy trafficked rolling stock. At both mornings and evenings, the long-distance, high-speed, commuter and even freight trains have waited in queues at entrances. In an interview for the European Railway Review, Mr. Kjell-Åke Averstad, Project Manager at Banverket, discusses the issues about the improvement of rail traffic in Stockholm and his impressions of the most valuable rail line being built in Sweden – the City Line.
Since last February, Banverket has taken on a new identity. The organisation is now totally focused on the customer: providing a higher level of reliability and punctuality and stopping the increasing costs for major investment projects. “If rail transport is to have a future, we must ensure the quality of today’s traffic. We must deliver the product expected by passengers and freight transporting operators. In addition, we must invest and develop the railway to respond to the demands of the future”, says Director General, Per-Olof Granbom.
Railway infrastructure investments in Sweden are presently substantially higher compared with preceding planning periods. Reversing climate change while maintaining continued economic growth are political priorities and an expanded railway system can help fulfil both these objectives.
Achieving high levels of rail system reliability in all the phases of the life cycle at an optimal cost requires sound information, robust risk based analysis, proper implementation of asset management activities and on-going critical review.
Over the last few years, rail grinding operations at Banverket in Sweden has become a natural and important part of the total maintenance track work. The number of track metres that were ground during 2006 was almost 1 million (exactly 997272 track metres) and almost 400 switches. The way of grinding and planning these operations are described, both on the ore line in the northern part, Swedish only heavy haul line, as well as on conventional lines.
Covering 440,000km2, Sweden is a relatively large country – approximately the size and shape of California. However, the population is only nine million, which means a density of 20 persons per km2. Approximately 90% of the population lives in the southern third of the country. Sweden is located on the same latitude as Alaska and has a cold climate. It does, however, have four seasons since it is tempered by the warm Gulf Stream running through the North Atlantic Ocean. The northern part of the country is located above the Arctic Circle. A large proportion of the country is covered by coniferous forest.
The Swedish government has clearly indicated its commitment to railways as one of the most important means of transportation for the future. As a consequence, Banverket has been provided with resources to carry out an enhancement program needed to fulfil the transport policy objectives.