City chiefs in Denmark and Sweden are looking at spending up to €4 billion on what is thought to be the world’s first international metro.
Copenhagen and Malmo are investigating the construction of a 22-kilometre tunnel under the Oresund River to link the two metropolises.
This week a new working group — called the Oresundsmetro Executive and featuring representatives from the two cities, industry and researchers — was established to firm up the proposals.
They plan to use high-speed, driverless trains to transport passengers underground between the cities in 20 minutes.
Train passengers can already travel between Copenhagen and Malmo over the Oresund Bridge, which takes around 35 minutes.
But capacity on the crossing is expected to be squeezed when another major infrastructure project comes online in the next decade.
The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link is an 18-kilometre road and rail tunnel that is set to open in 2028 and link southern Denmark with northern Germany.
That is expected to have the knock-on effect of increasing freight, regional and high-speed trains using the existing Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo. Proponents of the metro scheme say it would ease this bottleneck.
The new metro would also increase the labour market available to business in both cities, according to a report published this week.
The analysis claims the number of people who can reach Malmo or Copenhagen in under an hour would increase from 1.3 million to 2.3 million.
“The metro enables both Sweden and Denmark to secure the full potential and benefits of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link connection,” said Malmo mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh.
“It is of strategic importance for Northern Europe's hottest labour market, but also for Swedish exports because the metro will relieve pressure on the Oresund Bridge.
“The Nordic countries now have the opportunity to become a more important point on the European map, and I welcome the representatives of business and academia to the new Oresundsmetro Executive in this ambition.”
Frank Jensen, mayor of Copenhagen, said: “With the metro we can take a decisive step towards creating an international leading metropolis where we can realise the vision of a larger and more integrated labour market in Greater Copenhagen, a big win for both business and citizens on both sides of the river.
“The metro is the key to future-proofing of our region and throughout Denmark and Sweden, so we can develop and attract the right skills and investments.”
Officials from Denmark city council told Euronews the link — which if approved, could be ready for 2035 — said they thought it would be the first international metro in the world.
It is unclear at this stage when a final decision will be taken on whether to go ahead with the project.
In the meantime, here's promotional video on the planned metro: