Government presents new rail strategy – The Post

Government presents new rail strategy

New high speed rail lines will decrease travel time between Denmark’s major cities and be paid for by increasing the taxation of North Sea oil companies

September 2nd, 2013 12:11 pm| by admin
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Faster trains will save commuters nine million hours a year by 2025, according to the government’s new train strategy.

The government announced earlier this year that it would increase taxation on companies extracting North Sea oil in order to raise 27.5 billion kroner to invest in the rail network.

Berlingske newspaper, which has seen an advance copy of the train strategy, reports that the government wants to electrify stretches of the rail network and reduce travel time between major cities (Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg) to under an hour.

“It will be a completely new Denmark,” the transport minister, Pia Olsen Dyhr (Socialistisk Folkeparti), told Berlingske. “It will be revolutionary and mean that Denmark will better connected.”

The strategy will include the introduction of three new high-speed train lines, dubbed 'Superlyntog'. The first will travel between Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, Randers and Aalborg in under four hours.

The second will travel between Copenhagen and Aarhus in only two hours and ten minutes and stop in Odense, Fredericia, Vejle and Horsens on the way. Currently, that route takes around three hours. 

Another new 'Superlyntog' will travel from Copenhagen to and from Esbjerg, with stops in Odense and Kolding.

With a new rail line along the motorway in west Zealand, and a new train bridge over Vejle Fjord, the government anticipates that its strategy will create an additional 2,800 jobs and result in a 800 million kroner annual economic benefit due to improved mobility.

They also expect that the number of passengers travelling between the big cities will grow by 50 percent, or 22,000 more daily travellers.

Regional and Intercity rail lines will connect other towns and cities to hubs with Superlyntog connections, which means that everyone in Denmark, regardless of location, should benefit from faster train travel across the country.

The government now has to negotiate the plan with the opposition and its far-left support party Enhedslisten. It needs broad political support to make sure the plan is not scrapped by a future government.

So far Venstre and Liberal Alliance have said they will not support the plan if it means raising money from changing the taxation rules of North Sea oil companies.

The government has dismissed critics who have argued that it is doubtful that the government will raise 27.5 billion kroner from the new rules, which sees all oil companies taxed according to the same set of guidelines.