The Danish railway network is set for a major 28.5 billion-kroner upgrade after the government reached a deal with Dansk Folkeparti and Enhedlisten to fund improvements to the nation's rail infrastructure.
According to a still-unreleased report from the traffic authorities, Trafikstyrelsen, by 2025 Danish railways will have high-speed electric trains zipping across the nation at speeds of 250 kmh.
While the details are not expected to be in place for another few weeks, the ambition is to significantly improve Denmark’s railways so that travel time from Copenhagen to Odense will be an hour, as will the time from Odense to Aarhus, and Aarhus to Aalborg.
IC4s get supporting role
The decision to invest in electric trains seems to send a clear signal that the government wants to push the scandal-ridden IC4 trains into a supporting role.
“With the IC3 trains, reaching a top speed of 180 kmh, travel time between Odense and Aarhus is 61 minutes non-stop,” the report stated. “At 200 kmh, the electric trains can make it in 57 minutes and in just 55 minutes at a speed of 250 kmh.”
Trafikstyrelsen’s report, titled ‘Timemodellen – højhastighed på den danske jernbane’ (’The Time Model – high speed on Danish railways’), also revealed that the country’s railway grid will be improved to handle speeds of up to 300 kmh.
Chasing top European standards
The high-speed trains are expected to be 300 metres long and have a passenger capacity of up to 900 people. The plan requires 45 150-metre train sets to function.
The railway upgrade will place Denmark onto Europe’s high-speed train map, Trafikstyrelsen wrote, pointing to high-class train infrastructure already being established in countries like France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Sweden.
The 28.5 billion kroner needed to fund the upgrade is expected to come from the harmonisation of North Sea oil taxation.
DONG Energy looks to be among the energy companies that will face heavier taxation while oil companies such as Maersk, Shell and Chevron will be exempt thanks to a recent decision to keep their North Sea oil deal unchanged until the year 2043.
The taxation changes have already led to two companies – Bayerngas and Hess - threatening to pull out of their North Sea investments.