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Iceland studies airport link

01 Jul 2001

PLANS have been unveiled for the construction of a 50 km rail link between Reykjavik and its international airport at Keflavik. State-owned power and water utility Reykjavik Energy has commissioned a feasibility study from a consortium led by AEA Technology Rail. Other participants are Icelandic construction firm Istak and Transport Technologie-Consult of Karlsruhe.

One of the main drivers behind the project announced on May 29 is a proposal to transfer domestic flights to Keflavik from the existing airport close to the centre of Reykjavik by 2016. The existing main road along Iceland's northern coast is becoming increasingly congested, and a fast transit to and from Keflavik is seen as essential.

The first phase of the study is due to be completed by the end of 2001. This will evaluate a range of rail modes, from light rail to a limited-stop high-speed line. Various intermediate station options will also be considered. Whatever technology is preferred, the line would be electrified to make use of local geothermal and hydroelectric resources.

A second stage of the study will confirm the selection of a preferred mode and develop the project in more detail, so that a decision to proceed can be taken next year. No timescale has been set for construction, but RE envisages that the line could be open by 2010.