The work on developing a Swedish network for high-speed trains is entering a critical stage. Read an interview with the Project Manager, Sara Distner, about what will happen this autumn with the Gothenburg-Borås project.
Hello there, Sara Distner, Project Director for the planning and construction of a high-speed railway between Gothenburg and Borås. What will happen this autumn?
We are currently in the middle of extensive planning work on the stretch between Almedal and Borås. We are identifying possible routes for the railway, but we are also looking at possible locations for stations and passage-ways under or over the railway. In connection to this, ground surveys are also being carried out of the area. The level of detail in our work depends on how far we have come in our previous investigations.
You previously project managed The BanaVäg i Väst Project, an infrastructure venture which really engaged residents and businesses in the affected municipalities between Gothenburg and Trollhättan. How engaged are the general public in the high-speed railway between Gothenburg and Borås?
We have seen an incredible commitment, not only from the municipalities, but also from businesses and from private individuals. A lot of people look forward to being able to travel between Gothenburg and Stockholm in only two hours, while other are looking forward to an easier and faster commute along the Gothenburg-Borås route, and finally being able to take the train to and from Göteborg Landvetter Airport.
What are the project's biggest challenges?
One challenge is designing a facility that meets the national objective of travelling from Stockholm to Gothenburg in two hours as well as the regional goals of providing accessibility and regional development. Other challenges include the actual geography and the environmental aspects. Railways are an important investment for the environment, but we are operating in a very hilly landscape. This means that we must build many bridges and tunnels, which places a lot of demands on the design. The railway will also run through some densely populated areas. We must take people's local environment into consideration in a good way.
What does it feel like to be involved in laying the foundations for Sweden's first high-speed railway?
It is a big, complex, and incredibly daunting task, but also tremendously exciting. It involves making an incredible number of technical and strategic decisions from the very start of the project; decisions that we must live with for a long time to come. Yet, it feels awesome to be a part of laying the foundations for a modern and more robust railway system which, in the long-run, will help promote more sustainable growth, not only in Western Sweden, but in the entire country.