Confirmation from the government – green light for North Bothnia Line

12 juli 2018

01 June 2018
The government has made a final decision about the national transport plan for the coming ten years. Consequently, the first stage of the North Bothnia Line (Norrbotniabanan), connecting Umeå and Skellefteå, will be built in one uninterrupted process.

“We are incredibly pleased that the building work can finally begin. The government deserves a lot of praise for the work it has done. It is great that it understands the importance of the building of this line – for the whole of Sweden,” says Lorents Burman, chair of the North Bothnia Line Group.

The government has proposed that work on the stretch between Umeå and Dåva shall begin in 2018. This will then be followed, as quickly as possible, by the northward continuation of the line from Dåva to Skellefteå. Gusten Granström, CEO of Norrbotniabanan AB, welcomes the decision to perform the extension of the line up to Skellefteå in one go.

“It is tremendously pleasing. In the proposal by the Transport Administration, there was a risk that work on the project would be stopped for four years, which would then require a restart of construction for the fourth time in the project’s history. I’m sure that such an enormous waste of resources and money would not have been in the interests of any of the parties. We can now continue with our work to develop solutions that will facilitate the ongoing planning work,” says Gusten Granström.

The main line running through upper Norrland (the northernmost region of Sweden) is currently the only electrified single-track line between Umeå and Luleå. This has to carry both freight and passenger traffic, and there are major capacity issues. By as early as 2012, the volume of traffic had reached the level that had been predicted for 2020, and, in certain regards, had already even reached the level predicted for 2030.

“If Sweden is to be able to make the most of the opportunities available, the North Bothnia Line is essential in order to relieve the burden on the overbooked and under-dimensioned main line. Our mineral resources, steel, forests and water power are all important – not just for the two northernmost counties, but also for Sweden as a whole and for the EU,” explains Lorents Burman.

The decision to build the first stage of the North Bothnia Line signals the beginning of the biggest structural change to be undertaken in northern Sweden for more than 100 years. The line will provide both Sweden’s heavy industry and the commercial sector in northern Sweden with even better opportunities to maintain and develop their competitiveness. With consideration to upper Norrland’s geographical resources (such as minerals, forests, the natural environment, tourism, energy and space research), this will facilitate the development of new sustainable industrial solutions that can be delivered to a global market.

“The business community has made its requirements incredibly clear: we need an increase in capacity in the form of a modern coastal railway. It is enormously important, both in the short and the medium term. Looking a little further ahead, there is also a need for a northern east-west railway connection. This is important for the continued and unfettered development of large-scale and environmentally friendly heavy industry in northern Norway, northern Sweden and northern Finland,” says Gusten Granström.

“There is a growing appreciation of the importance of the North Bothnia Line. This is evidenced by the fact that the government asked the EU to work to extend one of the nine European core network corridors, known as Scanmed. This currently ends in Stockholm, but the Swedish government has requested that it be extended up as far as Haparanda-Torneå and Narvik. This will have a positive effect on the construction of the North Bothnia Line,” says Lorents Burman.

“We are now continuing with our information campaign to ensure that the entire line to Luleå will be built. Our greatest challenge is the widespread ignorance about northern Sweden. It is easier to get an appreciation of the long distances in the north when you realize that the county of Norrbotten is ten times the size of Sweden’s southernmost county, Skåne, and that Västerbotten is the same size as Denmark. It then becomes obvious how important it is to connect the coastal strip between Umeå and Luleå, which is Sweden’s most densely populated region outside of the major cities,” explains Elisabeth Sinclair, project manager at the North Bothnia Line Group.

Read more at:



From left: Lorents Burman, Elisabeth Sinclair, Hans Lindberg, and Gusten Granström.