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How empty tunnels become a metro

Tor Thomassen Paula Lindström tunnlar
Sweden’s longest escalator, latches, tiles, tracks and power lines shall be ordered. Although it will be several years before all tunnels are even completed, the planning work is already in full swing. 

Construction of the new metro is in full swing. But when the traffic barriers are lifted and the ground has stopped vibrating, the work will continue in the ticket halls and underground. Tor Thomassen is the project manager for BEST and installations at the Söder department. BEST stands for “Track, electricity, signal, and tele” and it is Tor Thomassen and his crew who will ensure that the tunnels are turned into metro systems. 

“We’ll take over responsibility for the hole in the mountain and make a metro out of it. The track tunnels shall be filled with tracks and cables. The stations will be artistically designed. And at that point we’re on a choice-of-tile level. Directory signs need to be put up so that people will know their way about and find their way. Barrier lines, lighting, heating, and cooling need to be installed. In addition, all lifts and escalators need to be put in place,” says Tor Thomassen.  

Sweden’s longest escalator is to be installed at the station in Nacka. With a lift height of 41 meters and 99 meters long, it pokes the West Forest escalator (33 meters in lift height and 66 meters long) down to second place. The world’s longest is said to be in Kiev with a lift height of 66 meters and a length of 132 meters.  

“This may even be western Europe’s longest escalator and another 14 will have a lift height of 30 meters,” says Paula Lindström, project manager of installations.  

A critical junction

Ordering escalators this long is a bit tricky. There is only one factory in Europe that produces them.

“Additionally, the requirements for escalators this long are really, really tough and we follow the requirements set by the public transport administration,” says Paula Lindström.  

The escalators are a critical point. The delivery period is long and they are to be in place only when the station is being decorated. The plan is to start procuring the escalators to Söder in the autumn of 2021. 

As soon as we get access to the facility, somewhere around the year 2025, the escalators need to be installed. It takes time and will be a big challenge,” says Paula Lindström.  

For Tor Thomassen, the biggest challenge is that all the work with the tunnels and stations are taking place at the same time. Many contractors are to perform different jobs in parallel with each other, and this needs to happen without compromising on the working environment and safety.  

“Right now a large group of us are meeting and going through everything activity for activity, month by month, to make sure everything runs smoothly. There's no space for wishful thinking. We should have reasonable schedules and use what experienced people say as our basis,” says Tor Thomassen.