From Iceland — No Train Between Reykjavík And Akureyri In The Near Future

No Train Between Reykjavík And Akureyri In The Near Future

Published March 31, 2022

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The chairman of the board of Fluglestin, a development company for the airport train, says that a train between Reykjavík and Akureyri would never pay off, Vísir reports. The construction would be extremely expensive and the number of passengers that would use it can’t justify the coast.

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There’s been a lot of talk on social media about the importance of the train system in Iceland. For instance, Jón Gnarr, has tweeted about the importance of building railway connection between Akureyri and Reykjavík: “If the train ran between Akureyri and Reykjavík, we would reduce the load on the roads with heavy transport, reduce car traffic and the risk of accidents. Trains are an economical way to travel for families and the environmental impact would only be positive.” 

Friðjón Friðjónsson, a deputy member of the Independence Party and a candidate for the local elections in Reykjavík, has also taken an active part in the Twitter discussion of feasibility investing in the railway system in Iceland.

Friðjón compares the prices of building the train system in China and the United States. He says the kilometer of railway tracks in China costs about “2 billion ISK, while in the United States the kilometer costs 7 billion. He continues: “The direct line from Ak to Rvk is 250 km. Through glaciers, mountains and untouched wilderness. We would have to sell the trip for 41,000 ISK just to pay the low interest on the project.

However, others in the same thread have questioned where Friðjón is drawing his calculations from, which are not sourced. There is, for example, the northern Swedish Bothnia Line, which is 190km long and cost a total of about 206 billion for the entire line. Pirate Party city councilwoman Alexandra Briem asked if Friðjón was perhaps talking about bullet trains, as she was able to provide a source showing regular high speed rail would cost somewhere between 150 to 250 million ISK per kilometre.

There’s been a lot of talk on whether Iceland should get trains or not. Ari Eldjárn, a famous Icelandic comedian even jokes about this in his Netflix stand-up show.

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