Live stream of the Aurora Botnia launch today 15:00EET 11/9/2020

jamesontheroad

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The Aurora Botnia, the new ferry which from next year will cross the Bothnian Gulf between Holmsund (Sweden) and Vaasa (Finland) will be launched today at the shipyard in Rauma, Finland.

The event is being live-streamed at 13:00BST / 14:00CET / 15:00EET on Vimeo. You can watch live here: https://vimeo.com/452475147

The Aurora Botnia will replace the M/S Wasa Express, operated by Wasa Line since 2013. Launched in the early eighties, she previously served with Sally Line as the Sally Star and Color Line as the Color Traveller.

The Holmsund-Vaasa route is claimed to be the world's northernmost year-round RoPax service. The ferry is officially part of the E12 highway from Mo I Rana in Norway to Helsinki in Finland.
 
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JonasB

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It is an interesting route that haven't been doing that great since tax free shopping onboard was abolished, but hopefully the new ferry will renew the route.

It is also interesting to note that there have been proposals to build a bridge between Umeå and Vasa for many decades, and recently a new report was published that suggested a bridge could be a good idea. What has been suggested is a 60-76 km long combined road and rail bridge, and it is estimated to cost around 3-5 billion €. If completed it would be by far the longest bridge in Europe and one of the longest in the world.
 

BayPaul

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It is an interesting route that haven't been doing that great since tax free shopping onboard was abolished, but hopefully the new ferry will renew the route.

It is also interesting to note that there have been proposals to build a bridge between Umeå and Vasa for many decades, and recently a new report was published that suggested a bridge could be a good idea. What has been suggested is a 60-76 km long combined road and rail bridge, and it is estimated to cost around 3-5 billion €. If completed it would be by far the longest bridge in Europe and one of the longest in the world.
It's great the route has a new ferry, I'm pretty sure it's the first purpose built one ever. Even in Scandinavia this seems like an insane idea for a bridge - I would have thought a series of bridges across Åland would have been far more likely.
 

JonasB

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Even in Scandinavia this seems like an insane idea for a bridge - I would have thought a series of bridges across Åland would have been far more likely.
Are we generally insane when it comes to bridge ideas in Scandinavia? :D

A bridge across Åland would certainly be a good idea, and even a semi fast train should be able to run Stockholm-Helsinki via Mariehamn and Åbo in less than 3 hours. It would however be a bit more complicated. A Umeå-Vasa bridge has the advantage that Kvarken is a pretty shallow part of the Baltic sea with an average depth of around 25 m and if I'm not mistaken there are few, if any, parts deeper than 40 m. The Sea of Åland on the other hand is much deeper with large areas below 150-200 m and 301 m at the deepest spot, making bridge construction a bit more expensive.
 

BayPaul

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Are we generally insane when it comes to bridge ideas in Scandinavia? :D

A bridge across Åland would certainly be a good idea, and even a semi fast train should be able to run Stockholm-Helsinki via Mariehamn and Åbo in less than 3 hours. It would however be a bit more complicated. A Umeå-Vasa bridge has the advantage that Kvarken is a pretty shallow part of the Baltic sea with an average depth of around 25 m and if I'm not mistaken there are few, if any, parts deeper than 40 m. The Sea of Åland on the other hand is much deeper with large areas below 150-200 m and 301 m at the deepest spot, making bridge construction a bit more expensive.
Always! Travelling around Norway and seeing the incredible bridges and tunnels serving tiny islands that wouldn't remotely be considered for bridges in the UK, as well as the fixed links built or under consideration in Denmark is always spectacularly impressive, but does occasionally seem like money could be better spent elsewhere! I hadn't realised the shallow water at the northern end of the Baltic, which definitely makes life easier, as does the fairly limited shipping traffic, so presumably it would mainly be a fairly low viaduct type, rather than massive suspension spans. I assume that ice makes it a lot more expensive though. I apologise for not properly looking at a map, knowing that the ferry route was about 4 or 5 hours I hadn't realised that the gulf narrows so much at this point, but the ferry doesn't take advantage, which certainly makes a bridge look more feasible, though it seems like an awful lot of money considering the relatively small populations in the regions on both sides. As a ferry-enthusiast, I am very happy that a ferry route is being supported once again!

I had a look at Åland, and it doesn't look that impossible. The Finnish side would presumably be a series of causeways and low bridges between small islands, with occasional high spans to allow for shipping traffic. The environmental impact would be significant though I would imagine. From Åland to Sweden, assuming a route from Slingo in Sweden to Eckero on Åland, the direct route does indeed go over deep water. An Arc to the north however, would keep the route almost entirely in <20m water, with probably 3 suspension spans of around 2 miles over the deeper channels. Not cheap, but it doesn't sound impossible, or even all that much more expensive than Kvarken. I'm surprised that it isn't being actively looked at, as you say it would give an intercapital time of under 3 hours which would be very good for EU interconnectivity
 

JonasB

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In Norway the terrain on land means that sometimes it can be cheaper to build bridges via islands than long tunnels on land, but the government has made a priority out of getting rid of ferries on the main roads. And while neither Västerbotten nor Österbotten are that large when it comes to population, a rail connection would also be important for freight.

A bridge across Åland is certainly not impossible, but expensive. There is a ridge north of a straight line från Singö to Eckerö, but there is a >200 m channel that crosses it, and another problem is an area with leftover explosives from the World wars. The reason it isn't looked at closer is probably that there are lower hanging fruit to pick, such as the bad rail connections between Stockholm and Oslo. And in Finland, there are talks about a rail tunnel to Estonia that would connect Helsinki to Rail Baltica.

Skärmavbild 2020-09-12 kl. 17.46.29.png
 

bussikuski179

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Are we generally insane when it comes to bridge ideas in Scandinavia? :D

A bridge across Åland would certainly be a good idea, and even a semi fast train should be able to run Stockholm-Helsinki via Mariehamn and Åbo in less than 3 hours.
A Helsinki-Turku (yes Turku, I get mad when someone not Swedish says Åbo) train takes 2 hours at a speed of 160km/h, so even with upgrading all the line to 200 it would take at least 3:30 to 4 hours. Under 3 would be achievable only with a new line capable of going 250-300. I do like the idea of a train to Maarianhamina though, as it’s the largest town in Finland with no railway.
 

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