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The High Speed Rail Study is released!

The national high speed rail study was presented by Transport Minister Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa on Wednesday, January 25th at 1 p.m. MiSA performed the climate calculations section of the study.

The environmental assessment of the project was performed by a cooperation between MiSA, Asplan Viak, Verkehrswissenschaftliches Institut Stuttgart Gmbh (VWI Stuttgart), Brekke & Strand Akustikk AS and Avinett.

MiSA has performed the climate calculations, which are based on lifecycle emissions of climate gases during the construction and operation phases of the high speed rail line, and compared the results with the “business as usual” scenario, that is, without the construction of the new line, considering only existing modes of transport.

Our calculations show that there is large variation in climate impact of the different high speed rail corridor alternatives considered.

A total of 12 corridors were considered in the study, all of which differed greatly with respect to terrain challenges, length and projected passengers.

Some corridors present climate benefits
The study identifies the corridors with a payback period within the 60-year assessment period of the study. The most promising corridor is the line Ø2:P between Oslo and Trondheim via Østerdalen. This line has the shortest payback period and the most climate benefit of the corridors studied.
Additionally, two of the corridors to Bergen also have a payback period within the assessment period of the study. These are N1:Q to Bergen via Numedal, and Ha2:P to Bergen via Hallingdal.

The corridors between Oslo and Stockholm were found to have a payback period within the study period, but this conclusion is dependent on the limitations of the rail network, since only the construction of the line to Karlstad, corresponding to 40% of the total corridor length, was considered in the study.
The delta connection H1:P between Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger has a payback period within the time scope of the model.
A sensitivity analysis was performed, and results demonstrate that the ranking of the various corridors remains the same for various model settings.

Assumptions for climate benefit
There are some deciding factors for the ranking of the corridors and in the assessment of high speed rail as a climate initiative:

  •  Climate results are dictated by terrain and market

 Tunnels have significantly higher climate gas emissions in the construction phase when compared to conventional open sections. The tunnel portion of each corridor varies between 22-66% of the total track length, and the tunnel portion is the controlling factor for climate impact in high speed rail.

Emissions from Norwegian high speed rail are expected to be higher than those of similar projects globally; this is a direct result of the total emissions being allocated to a smaller passenger base.

  • Climate savings are dependent on a transfer of the air transport market share to high speed rail.

Other land-based modes of transport have climate effects better or equal to those many of the high speed rail corridors investigated. The climate performance of high speed rail is therefore dependent on the passenger volume and market transfer from air transport.

Read the report and supporting material
The report that has just been released is for Phase 3, and are the final results for the high speed rail study. The assumptions used in Phase 3 can be found in the Phase 2 report. Links to both reports, written in English, can be found below. Results from other work packages can be found on the Norwegian National Rail Administraion (Jernbaneverket) website.

Note that the lines N1:Q and Ha2P are not included in the reports found below, although analysis of these lines have been performed. The final climate report will be released on February 3, 2012.


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