The Varberg tunnel project is being undertaken in Varberg, Sweden. Credit: Abako.
The new Varberg station will be located 150m north of the existing station. Credit: Abako.
Varberg tunnel project is expected to be completed by 2025. Credit: Abako.

The Varberg Tunnel project, being undertaken by the Swedish Transport Administration (STA), involves the construction of a double track, a new station and a tunnel through Varberg, Sweden.

The project is part of the expansion of Sweden’s West Coast line between Gothenburg and Lund. The West Coast line is a major transit line, which runs along the west coast of the country.  The expansion of the line involves building a fully expanded, double track to improve capacity and reliability.

The Varberg Tunnel project will facilitate the accommodation of more trains and enable improved safety.

Construction on the project began in December 2019. The project schedule comprises two phases. The first phase, related to planning and design, was completed between 2015 and 2018 while the second phase, dedicated to construction, is expected to be completed by 2025.

Varberg Tunnel project details

The project will build an approximately 3.1km long tunnel under central Varberg and a 9km double track between Varberg and Hamra.

The Varberg to Hamra route connecting the Gothenburg and south-western Skåne regions serves as a key link to Copenhagen and other areas of Europe.

Varberg tunnel will include a 2.8km rock tunnel from Engelbrektsgatan in the city centre to Breared and a 300m concrete tunnel. The project will involve the removal of the existing railway track and the shifting of the freight yard to the north of Varberg. It will help remove the barrier effect in the central area of the city and improve connectivity with the sea.

The railway tracks will be beneath an open trough while entering Varberg from the north and will go into the tunnel from the station and south.

Besides this, the project will involve the construction of a safety shaft under Varberg and the relocation of the current port.

Varberg station details

The new Varberg station will be located 150m north of the current one, linking the city centre with the new Västerport coastal canal district.

Its house will have a base of granite stone and a wave pattern in the surface. The upper section will comprise wood and a wave-shaped ceiling.

Located near the city centre, the new station will have submerged platforms. The first floor of the building will feature waiting rooms and amenities, such as a café, kiosk, restaurants and travel shop. The second floor will have a staff area for traffic companies, break rooms and technology spaces.

Bus squares will be built near the station to accommodate regional and city buses.

Other infrastructure will include taxi spots, bicycle parking and dedicated parking spaces for persons with disabilities.

The current station will continue to operate until the new one is commissioned. Construction of the station and the station area will begin after August 2023 and is expected to be completed in December 2024.

Construction of Varberg Tunnel project

The project will include bridges, tracks and civil engineering works. Construction is underway along the route for the tunnel and the double track. It includes the creation of a new estate yard situated north of Lassabackarondellen and east of Naturum, a southern tunnel estuary in Breared and a service and rescue tunnel in the railway park.

Construction of the new Getterö Bridge, which is the first facility to be built as part of the tunnel project, is ongoing. The bridge is being built south of the existing bridge and will allow the double track to fit under the bridge.

Other components of the project include a concrete trough, new railway bridges over Österleden and Vareborg, service roads and delay ponds for stormwater.

Financing for Varberg Tunnel project

The entire project has a budget of Skr5bn ($621.3m). The STA, Varberg Municipality, Region Halland and Jernhusen are contributing Skr2.4bn ($286.95m), Skr290m ($34.67m), Skr210m ($25.1m) and Skr60m-100m ($7.17m-11.95m) respectively, based on 2009 monetary value.

Key players involved

Implenia was awarded a contract worth Skr3.5bn ($362m) in September 2019 for the planning and construction of tunnels, bridges and the railway station. It also includes 2.7km of track and a freight train station. The STA selected Implenia for initial planning and preparation tasks in 2018.

The municipality prepared the detailed plans and is working in association with the STA on various aspects of the project. Jernhusen will own and handle the management of the new station building.

In January 2020, Atkins was contracted to design the 3.1km tunnel and provide construction support. Basler & Hofmann is the lead designer while Golder Associates is providing geotechnical and environmental consulting services

Abako and Okidoki Arkitekter are under contract for construction work related to the track expansion and preparing the design for the new station along while Okidoki collaborated with O2 Landscape for further designing of the station and station area.

Mantum will supply material and undertake the shipment of shaft masses for the project while Svevia was tasked with carrying out the demolition of platform roofs at the Varberg railway station.