Arctic Railway Infrastructure in Kolarctic (KO2011 ARINKA)
Programme funding: 1 528 207 €     Total budget: 1 698 008 €
Duration: 15.10.2018 – 31.10.2021
Call for proposal: 2nd call for proposal 
Type of the project: Standard Project 
Priority axis: 2. Fluent mobility of people, goods and knowledge 
Thematic objective: 7. Improvement of accessibility to the regions, development of sustainable and climate-proof transport and communication networks and systems


The railway has a central role in the Kolarctic region and enables that the efficient transportation of ore, timber, goods and passengers both inside and out of the region. In Europe and the Kolarctic region, there is an increasing demand for railways to be better utilized through heavier, longer, faster and more frequent trains. This means that the railway infrastructure must be designed in such a way that people and goods are delivered on time, all year round.

A large part of the Kolarctic Programme area lies in arctic & sub-arctic climate zones. The entire area is characterized by large uninhabited stretches of wilderness and unspoilt nature. Most of it belongs to the boreal coniferous forest zone, with tundra in the northern parts. The countries within Kolarctic have several common characteristics, sharing a nature with demanding geographical and topological conditions, challenging climate conditions, with long and extreme winter periods with low temperatures, wind, snow, frozen ground/ permafrost including long periods with little daylight.

The Kolarctic railway network is built in sparsely populated and inaccessible areas providing extremely challenging conditions for railway operation and maintenance especially during the winter season, in which repair and maintenance operations are even more demanding. The provision of effective railway infrastructure, operations and maintenance operations is experienced to be challenging under these conditions, both to humans performing the work and for the infrastructure and equipment used.

The railways in the Kolarctic region, which includes the railway lines in the North Calotte and North-West Russia, were built in the early 1900s. Although the railways have been upgraded over the decades, much of the railway substructure consists of elements from the time when the railway lines were built. Therefore, there is a mismatch between the existing infrastructure and the expected increase in railway traffic. Increased load at the tracks also involves greater wear, which means more frequent errors and more extensive maintenance requirements. Improved uptime and punctuality will also require increased use of monitoring and measuring systems, so that errors can be uncovered earlier, and that maintenance and repairs can be carried out at the right time and in a most cost-effective way.

The project “Arctic Railway Infrastructure in Kolarctic (ARINKA)” aims to develop a cross-border railway research and development collaboration between parties from different countries in the Kolarctic region. The project aims to exchange railway technical know-how and best-practice solutions with the goal of making the Kolarctic railway more reliable through robust rail infrastructure solutions, more cost-effective maintenance and repair operations, and railway infrastructure monitoring through advanced sensor technology solutions.

The project is divided into the following five work packages:

  • WP 1 – Management & Coordination
  • WP 2 – Competence Building and Cross-border Experience Transfer
  • WP 3 – Railway Infrastructure (Track components & Sub structure)
  • WP 4 – Railway Operations, Maintenance and Repair practices
  • WP 5 – Railway Monitoring and Sensoring Technology

The ARINKA project has a duration of 36 months, starting on October 15th, 2018 and will be completed by the end of October 2021. The project is financed through the Kolarctic CBC 2014 – 2020 Programme, which is a program that supports collaboration between the North Calotte and North-West Russia. The project is also financed by the Nordland County Council and Region Norrbotten.