Q: I remember reading about plans to build a rail link between Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík. Is this still going ahead and if so when will it be opening?
Lynne Childerley, UK
A: A special development association for an express train between Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík, called Fluglestin, was established in May. Spegillinn, a news review program on RÚV’s Rás 2 radio, reported on the planned rail link on August 23.
The association is owned by the City of Reykjavík, the municipalities in the Suðurnes region, Kadeco and a Danish rail company. Runólfur Ágústsson serves as managing director. The project is organized as a private affair; it is not to be financed with public funds.
The project has been under preparation for three years. According to the most optimistic estimates, the express train will start running in mid-2024.
The preparations include investigating the possibility of having the train run in tunnels below the city, laying out a marketing plan, looking into environmental and socioeconomic effects and surveying the view of foreign tourists. It is planned that a one-way ticket will cost EUR 30 (ISK 4,000, USD 34).
Runólfur stated that he is optimistic about the future of the express train but added that it depends on foreign investors.
Viðskiptablaðið reported in May that the project had been presented to investors under the working title Lava Express and that the estimated cost was ISK 102.5 billion (USD 888 million, EUR 793 million). The project had also been presented to the European Investment Bank (EIB).
In June, EIB Vice-President Cristian Popa confirmed to Viðskiptablaðið that talks on the train’s investments were ongoing. “I believe that an express train is key considering the extent of tourism in Iceland and the growth in tourism, which is rather impressive,” he said.
Popa added that he believed that the Icelandic economy would be better equipped to handle the growth in tourism once the express train was up and running. He would not comment on the progress of the negotiations.