The Green STRING Corridor – From speed and transit to accessibility and regional development
The railway has to be strengthened in order to be able to absorb as much as possible of the expected growth in traffic, when the fixed link across Fehmarn Belt opens in 2021. This requires action from the political decision-makers; this is a key-recommendation in the final report from the Green STRING Corridor project.

"There is a huge need for improvement of the mobility in Europe. The question is how can we do this, without compromising the climate? Transport has always caused a headache in the climate policy, not least, because the traditional approach to transport policies was limited by national borders", said European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard.

 

 

This was one of the main messages from the, now former, European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard at the conference "Öresund-Hamburg - new opportunities for accessibility and regional development in the Green STRING Corridor". The conference marked the finalisation of the Danish-Swedish cooperation project Green STRING Corridor. The project started in November 2011 and has been co-financed by the Interreg-programme Øresund IV A.

 

At the conference also the Chairman of Region Zealand, Jens Stenbæk, gave his vision for, how specific initiatives along the Öresund-Hamburg transport corridor can support European and national climate policies in accordance with improved accessibility and mobility. Jens Stenbæk, representing Region Zealand as Lead Partner in the Green STRING Corridor project, emphasized three issues of special importance:

 

 

1. Development of a common standard for capacity and speed along the new railway line Öresund-Hamburg

2. A decision on the German side to establish a new double track between Fehmarn-Lübeck-Hamburg

3. Initiate the establishment of cross-border interregional train connections with integrated tickets and schedules I cooperation with national and regional transport companies

 

The issues were extracted from the main conclusions of the final report titled "The Green STRING Corridor - From speed and transit to accessibility and regional development", that was released at the conference.

 

The main message from the final report is, that the railway has to be strengthened in order to be able to absorb as much as possible of the expected growth in traffic, if it is to succeed in making transport in the region more sustainable. As pointed out in the report, this requires initiatives that makes the railway more attractive for both passenger and freight transport.

 

A first precondition is that the new and upgraded railway between Öresund and Hamburg becomes double tracked and with a common speed standard of minimum 200 km/h for passenger trains. This will make it possible to travel from Copenhagen to Hamburg in 2 ½ hours and thereby be competitive with travel times for flights and cars.

 

Secondly, the report recommends an extension of the regional train system, in order to take advantage of the upgraded railway infrastructure and to the benefit of short and medium-distance travel and commuting. The advantages will, among others, be shorter travel time for commuters to educational institutions and work places. Furthermore, the business community will increase the catchment area for recruitment of employees due to faster mobility and better accessibility. Analysis from the project also indicates that the expected number of long-distance travelers by train in 2022 will amount to a level, which gives a profitable business case for running a train service between Öresund and Hamburg via a new fixed Fehmarn Belt link.

 

But, in order to increase the competitiveness of the railway in the future it will be necessary to launch a number of initiatives on a national political level. The recommendations in the final report point to the urgent need of a cross-border coordination of a future railway system in the STRING corridor initiated by the transport ministers from Sweden, Denmark and Germany. In practical terms this there is a need for decisions on:

1. Development of a common standard for capacity and speed along the new railway line Öresund-Hamburg
2. A decision on the German side to establish a new double track between Fehmarn-Lübeck-Hamburg
3. Initiate the establishment of cross-border interregional train connections with integrated tickets and schedules I cooperation with national and regional transport companies

 

The fixed link across Fehmarn Belt does not open until 2021, but in the final report it is advised not to hesitate to take action on some of the pending issues listed above, in order to gain the full benefits of the upcoming new infrastructure linking the STRING region together.

 

Even though the trains will become more competitive with the investment in new rail infrastructure, the road transport will also in the future become the primary transport mode for freight and passengers. Therefore additional measures are needed, e.g. in the form of alternative fuel supply of liquid gas, electrical charging, hydrogen. Especially a designated transport corridor represents a potential test site for testing alternative fueling infrastructure, since it provide a concentrated traffic flow of vehicles. As a consequence, the political network of STRING is launching an application for a future cooperation project among stakeholders from private and public organizations in Germany, Denmark and Sweden in order to initiate the development of a carbon-free fueling infrastructure in the STRING corridor.

 

Also in terms of facilitating a greater future co-operation between clusters of logistics and transport in Scania, Zealand and Northern Germany, the project has succeeded in the signing of a Declaration of Cooperation between five established and upcoming logistics initiatives. The cooperation marks a first step towards a more formalized cross-border network among logistics firms and organizations in the region in order to promote a common North European distribution hub along the STRING corridor. In the coming months, the parties will be exploiting the opportunities for more specific cooperation projects within the field of logistics and transport.

 

Read our final report HERE

 

By Leif Gjesing Hansen