The technology chosen for the Skagerrak line involves building the track on concrete piers that will allow speeds above 500 km/h on viaducts. A derailment-proof slab track, i.e. a ballast-free track that is virtually maintenance free and which allows a viaduct structure simpler than a box filled with ballast, is essential for speeds of 400 km/h and above.
Conventional railway tracks and high-speed tracks differ in that the maximum permissible axle load on conventional track is 22.5 to 25.0 tonnes and the max permissible weight per metre is 8.0 tonnes. This results in bigger, more expensive viaduct structures, thicker track beds, shallower inclines, more tunnels and longer passing sidings than high-speed tracks where the maximum permissible axle load is 17 tonnes and the weight per metre 5.0 tonnes. In conventional rail tracks, mass balance is achieved by adapting the route layout to the terrain so that the track becomes a low speed, up-hill-down-dale arrangement that follows the terrain’s contours and valleys. In the case of HSR tracks, the viaduct piers level out the terrain contours, allowing trains to run faster and at lower weights than on conventional tracks with slower trains.
Given dispensation for train width, it will in all likelihood be possible to run the wider Asian high-speed trains, which exceed the load profile by 45 mm, on the Oslo–Ski and Surte–Gothenburg–Malmö–Copenhagen–Hamburg routes. If this is not possible, the CRH380BL vehicle profile, which meets EU load profile requirements, could be used.
Platform edges along the existing tracks in Norway and Sweden present no problem for HSRF and with very small adjustments it is possible to shift the track 15 mm in Denmark where this may be necessary. This means the Skagerrak Line will be able to handle HSRF with Asian high-speed trains. It remains to be seen whether or not European train manufacturers will provide trains for HSRF.