Sweden’s and Finland‘s railways could be connected in the near future. As early as 2025, according to authorities in northern Finland. In 2021, the Laurila (FI) – Tornio (FI) – Haparanda (SE) railway project was launched on the Finnish-Swedish border after funding was secured.
The project is meant to electrify the line and carry out civil engineering works to enable cross-border passenger train services, among other things. The estimated cost of the project is EUR 24 million, of which the Finnish Railway Board’s is expected to cover EUR 10 million. The share of the Swedish office of social security (försörjningstryggheten) is EUR 10 million and the Swedish government’s contribution is EUR 4 million.
Train travel is something that is more and more in demand.Nina Forsell, Finnish Lapland Tourist Board
The aim of the Laurila-Tornio-Haparanda railway project is to improve the cost-effectiveness of rail transport and the competitiveness of the industry, as well as to enable passenger train traffic between Finland and Sweden as part of the core trans-European TEN-T network in the form of joint projects of the railways.
EU CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) support has been provided for the design of the project. Most of the work is set to take place in 2023 and 2024, according to project leaders. “We will certainly get that transport,” Tornio’s director of development Sampo Kangastalo told Finland’s national public broadcasting company YLE. “Sustainable forms of transport are needed all the time. I want to believe that the transport will start in 2025 or 2026 at the latest, when Oulu is the European Capital of Culture.”
The border section at Haparanda will also be electrified by the Finnish railway’s electricity system. In addition to electrification, the project will build the safety equipment required for cross-border passenger traffic, make changes to railway bridges requiring electrification and the condition of the structures, and update the Tornio city plan. “I think that train travel is something that is more and more in demand,” Nina Forsell, Executive Manager at the Finnish Lapland Tourist Board told Euronews. “We haven’t been able to offer that from international destinations so far.”
Level crossing safety between Laurila and the border will also be improved. Although the project will enable passenger train traffic between Finland and Sweden, the opening of the traffic will require separate decisions. The possible opening of cross-border passenger train services is expected to increase the employment rate in the regions around the Gulf of Bothnia. The Tornio and Haparanda region is a hub for international transport corridors and part of the ongoing development of the trans-European TEN-T core network corridor around the Gulf of Bothnia.
Several important international transport corridors in northern Finland and Sweden pass through the area. These corridors connect the Barents region with the Central European transport corridor and further to the Far East. The route through Sweden is one of the options for Finland’s foreign trade transport.