REGIONAL passenger trains between Boden and Haparanda in northern Sweden resumed on April 1 after a 29-year gap.

The previous service, which extended over the border with Finland to Tornio, ended in August 1992. The line was then closed for extensive rebuilding with those sections retained electrified at 15kV ac and equipped with ETCS Level 2.

Norwegian state rail operator Vy is operating the service via its Swedish Vy Tåg subsidiary, which operates the Norrtåg concession on behalf of regional governments in the north of Sweden. The service consists of three trains per day on the 158km route between Boden and Haparanda, 86km of which is a new electrified line which opened in August 2012.

New stations have been built at Kalix, on the new alignment, and Haparanda where the former station has been renovated.

The sponsoring Norrbotten region would like to see the service expanded to five daily trains by 2023 while an extension of existing services in Finland to Haparanda is under discussion. The Finnish 1524mm gauge network meets the Swedish 1435mm gauge at the new Haparanda station.

More improvements in 2022

Vy Tåg has also announced that it will introduce a daily train pair to the coastal city of Skellefteå - the largest city in Sweden without passenger rail services - beginning on April 1 2022 following an agreement reached with the Skellefteå municipal government and the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).

Vy Tåg will operate one of the Stockholm - Lulea overnight trains, which it runs under contract to the Swedish Transport Administration, via the city, which is located at the end of an otherwise freight only electrified branch line.

As well as providing connections from Stockholm to Skellefteå in around 12 hours the trains will provide a daytime connection between the town and Lulea taking around four hours.