INTRO: As construction work passed the half-way stage, Andrew Hellawell viewed construction sites around Kastrup, and took a stroll in the immersed tube tunnel

ØRESUNDSKONSORTIET has set the provisional date for opening the fixed link between Denmark and Sweden. Of course, this is dependent on keeping to time through the rest of the construction stage without delays due to bad weather or labour disputes. That a date can be suggested at all is testament to the rapid progress being made on the link.

People flying to København’s Kastrup airport can clearly see the scale of works under way. On the Danish side the rail and road links to the airport are complete (panel p535); a ’people’s party’ on September 27 will celebrate the opening by Crown Prince Frederik of the 12 km link to the city, and the 6 km Kalvebod line linking directly onto the route to Roskilde. An intermediate station at Tårnby will be supplemented by another at Ørestad later.

East of the airport, the western tunnel approaches are taking shape. The immersed-tube tunnel under the Drogden channel now reaches the mid-point, and the eleventh of the 20 elements was being floated out from the casting dock in København on June 23. After element 15 is in position, attention switches to the Peberholm end, where elements 20 to 16 will be laid heading back to the Danish coast, with the last element due to be submerged into position in March next year.

At the other end of the island, the support piers for the eastern bridge are rising from the Sound, with the four pylons of the 490m high-level bridge across the Flinte Channel clearly visible from the Amager shore as they slowly rise to their full 204m height. The first of the cable-stayed bridge segments was lifted into place on June 25, although the deck of the eastern approach bridge has now progressed over 2 km from the Swedish shoreline - the first of the western approach bridge sections should be placed this month.

Not all the work is happening across the Sound. DSB is working closely with SJ on the design of a fleet of 27 three-car EMUs to be built by Adtranz. They are based on DSB’s IR4 EMU, though narrower at 2·97m, and carry equipment for both Swedish and Danish power supplies, signalling and telecommunications systems. The centre car has a low-floor section to give easy access for bicycles, prams and wheelchairs.

Fitting out

Meanwhile, Øresundkonsortiet’s Contract Director (Railway & Coast-Coast Installations) Dan-Erik Hansson is finalising plans for the fitting-out stage of the link. European standards are being adopted throughout, with the schedule being set so that installation and testing is co-ordinated to minimise costs. The task is complicated by the fact that ’the only thing that’s exactly the same is the track width’.

Balfour Beatty is due to begin casting the base of the slab track for the tunnel early next year, with signalling and electrification work following shortly after. Adtranz Signal is supplying interlockings. Danish 25 kV will go across to the Swedish side, but the transition between signalling systems will take place on Peberholm using automatic handover equipment being developed by Siemens - this is being tested at Høje Tåstrup at up to 180 km/h, and a site in south Jylland will be equipped later for tests at up to 209 km/h. AEA Technology Rail is studying pressure effects in the tunnel to help propose a maximum line speed. In all the development work to link the two railways, Hansson stresses that ’we are trying to avoid being another organisation for operations and maintenance - the aim is to make two systems work together, not to create a third one.’ o

CAPTION: Right: Construction of the immersed tube tunnel leading from the Danish shore passed the midway point in June 1998 with the sinking of the 10th 176 m concrete segment. Work is well under way on the freight bypass around København airport station (inset)

CAPTION: Decking is being installed on the low bridge leading from the Swedish shore at Lernacken (right) to the cable-stayed high bridge over the Flinteren shipping channel (below)

The Øresund link in Railway Gazette International

Main Øresund contracts in place RG 2.96 p92

1997 marks milestones for Øresund link; Who’s building what?;and Update: state of work at December 31 1996: RG 2.97 p120

First segment floated out RG 9.97 p560

Adtranz takes train order RG 10.97 p641

Banverket 10-year spend: Malm