A full 23 years after construction started, the railway tunnel through the Hallandsåsen ridge south of Båstad – Sweden’s longest at 8.7km – finally opened to traffic in December 2015. From the outset the project was plagued by an environmental scandal, as toxic sealants began to soak into the groundwater, killing fish and cattle, and causing many site workers to fall ill. Construction was halted in 1997 amid further problems – the drill used to bore into the hillside became stuck and wedged in the rock after boring a mere 18m and the drilling company went bankrupt due to the extra costs incurred in sealing the water leaks.

The tunnel is part of a larger project to upgrade the entire Swedish west-coast line to double track. Though trains now operate 10–15 minutes faster between Gothenburg and Malmö, it’s estimated the whole project, including a new railway station in Båstad, has cost over 10 billion kronor.

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