|System||West Coast Line|
|No. of stations||3|
|Opened||approx. 2025 or later|
|Line length||290 km|
|Track length||8 km|
|No. of tracks||Double|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrified||15 kV 16 2⁄3 Hz AC|
Västlänken (English: the West link) is a planned railway tunnel under central Gothenburg. The purpose of the project is to increase capacity and reduce travel times on the Gothenburg network by changing the Gothenburg Central Station from a terminus to an underground transit station. Two new underground transit stations, Haga and Korsvägen, will also be built.
Of the 920,000 people (2009 figure) who live in Greater Gothenburg, 410,000 people live outside the Gothenburg urban area. Approximately 250,000 people in the region commute to or from Gothenburg Municipality. The majority of these people use cars for transportation and the roads in the region are overloaded. Better rail communications to different parts of Gothenburg and better connections to trams would improve the situation. There is a political wish to attract more public transport users. Significant sums of money have been – and are being – invested in rail infrastructure in the Stockholm region and the Malmö region, more than 20 bn SEK each during 1990-2010, but much less in the Gothenburg region.
The largest improvement according to the prosed plan would be for people who commute from places along the railways to Kungsbacka/Borås and who work or study near Haga station, where a large part of the University of Gothenburg is located. 15 minutes could be saved per journey. Time would be also saved on other journeys, for example around 5 minutes from Alingsås to Sahlgrenska or Chalmers. In addition to this, it would allow high-speed trains from Stockholm to serve destinations such as Kungsbacka, Varberg, Falkenberg etc via Gothenburg Central station without turning round there.
As early as the 1950s there were plans for a tunnel under the inner city for railbound vehicles, then for trams. The plans were abandoned because of the cost. The city has to finance tramways, while the government finances railways.
The planning process has taken a long time, being included in preliminary city plans in the mid 90s under the project name "Centrumtunneln". A feasibility study was conducted in 2001–2002 by Banverket in cooperation with Västra Götalandsregionen, Västtrafik, Göteborgsregionen, and the city of Gothenburg. Similar rail tunnel projects have already been implemented in Malmö and in Stockholm.
Västlänken is not part of the Trafikverket Future plan (swe: Framtidsplan) 2004–2015, nor the alternative plan. Construction could start earlier since the Västra Götaland Regional Council is willing to invest money in the project.
Banverket investigated three routes for Västlänken, including new stations along the routes in the city centre. The route alternatives were named after the proposed new stations: Haga–Korsvägen, Haga–Chalmers, and Korsvägen. In addition to these underground alternatives, an expansion of the current rail network to the south, with a larger termius station, was also investigated, named Förstärkningsalternativet (English: the reinforcement alternative).
On December 19, 2007, Banverket chose the Haga-Korsvägen alternative as it best fulfilled the goals for the expansion. A majority of other governmental bodies to which the proposed routes were referred for consideration also agreed on that opinion.
The construction cost for the project is estimated at SEK 14.5 billion, using a price index of January 1, 2007. By 2012 the estimated cost had increased to 20 billion. The cost of the project will be partially financed by road tolls levied on vehicles entering and leaving central Gothenburg, as well as on those simply passing by the city on the major thoroughfares.
- Andree, Lasse (2008-11-07). "Västlänken kan startas med regionpengar" (in Swedish). Göteborgs-Posten. Retrieved 2008-11-07.[dead link]
- "Banverket väljer alternativ Haga-Korsvägen för Västlänken" (in Swedish). Banverket. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-11-09.