News has surfaced that a group of private investors are looking into the possibilities of building a high-speed rail link between Keflavik Airport and BSÍ Reykjavík.
Currently, everyone landing in the airport is either picked up by relatives or friends in cars (if they’re Icelandic) or shepherded onto coaches (if they’re not) for the 40 minute drive into the city.
For an estimated cost of 105 billion ISK (or around 37 million Euros), customers of the new 250kph railway would shave a whopping 22 minutes off the journey, going over land to the city limits, where the track would enter a tunnel before arriving in an underground station at BSÍ.
This would, however, involve wiping out a large area of the spectacular lava field between Keflavik and Reykjavík. It’s often remarked upon that this sight makes arrival in Iceland feel like coming to an unfamiliar “somewhere else”, and that landing at Keflavik feels like landing “on the moon”. This perceived wildness and difference would without question be reduced by a familiar, banal train commute into the city.
On the other hand, it would be fast, convenient, and run on clean energy.
The project will undergo a three-year environmental impact assessment before moving forward. But with a projected completion date set at 2024, the project organisers seem confident of their chances.
What do you think, readers? Is this worth it, for the convenience? Or is it one more step to eroding Iceland’s unique character as a travel destination? Would it create a homelessness problem in the elf community? Would it feel less or more like coming to the moon if there was a train barreling over the landscape, instead of a coach crawling along the small road that lies threaded through the mighty lava?
And will there be a Dunkin’ Donuts in the station?