SWEDEN: Trafikverket has started work on a three-year project to resignal the Malmbanan heavy haul line between Boden and Riksgränsen with digital interlockings and ETCS at an estimated cost of SKr3bn.

According to the infrastructure manager, most of the existing interlockings on the iron ore corridor are more than 50 years old, and around 40% of the equipment will be life-expired by 2022-23. Interlocking replacement has thus become an urgent priority, ahead of the roll-out of ETCS, and will account for around 90% of the total cost. However, the work will be co-ordinated with other planned capacity enhancement measures including the lengthening of selected passing loops.

The number of interlockings will be reduced from 50 to seven, with each controlling a larger area. Programme manager Anders Åkeson says the replacement of five generations of interlocking technology by a common digital system will reduce simplify maintenance and reduce the range of spare parts required. The new equipment will also include condition monitoring functionality to support a move to a preventative maintenance regime.

With LKAB iron ore traffic moving from Kiruna to Narvik on the northern part of the line and from Malmberget to Luleå in the south, Trafikverket had decided to start the resignalling project on the ‘least sensitive’ section of the Malmbanan between Gällivare and Råtsi. The interlocking renewal contract has been awarded to Umeå-based Eitech Engineering AB, now part of Vinci Energies’ Omexom subsidiary responsible for the Power & Grid sector. Installation of a new optic fibre communications link began in May, and work on the resignalling started near Gällivare on July 4. Commissioning of the new interlockings is to be completed by 2022.