Haparanda - Tornio railway bridge (Photo: Andreas Lakso, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Photos: Andreas Lakso, CC BY-SA 4.0

FINLAND: Funding has been agreed for the electrification of the 24 km line from the junction at Laurila near Kemi to Tornio and across the border to Haparanda in Sweden.

Electrification and associated signalling, bridge and level crossing works are expected to cost €24m, with €10m coming from Finnish transport infrastructure agency Väylävirasto and €10m from the National Emergency Supply Agency. Trafikverket will fund the work on the short section within Sweden. EU support from the Connecting Europe Facility has been provided for the design work.

Planning and approval processes are expected to be completed by mid-2022, with work to start by the end of the year for completion in 2024. Electrification is intended to make operations more cost effective, provide a passenger transport option and form part of the trans-European TEN-T network.

Swedish passenger services to Haparanda were reinstated in April 2020 after a gap of 29 years, with Vy Tåg’s Norrtåg subsidiary operating trains from Luleå and Umeå.

The bridge over the River Tornio which forms the border is currently only used for freight traffic. It carries interlaced 1 435 and 1 524 mm gauge tracks, and the current plans envisage Finnish broad gauge trains running through to Haparanda station.

‘In terms of security of supply, the functioning of maritime transport is critical in all situations’, said Outi Nietola of the National Emergency Supply Agency. ‘In the event of serious disruptions and exceptional circumstances, the land route through Sweden may partially replace maritime traffic.’