In the early 1980s, the idea was raised to build a double track railway between Stockholm and Arlanda to cater for the increasing number of air passengers, reduce the burden on roads and reduced pollution. In the late 1980s, the Swedish Rail Administration started planning for a railway between Arlanda Airport and the existing rail network.
In 1990, the Swedish Rail Administration presented its project planning to the Government, whereby Arlanda Airport would be linked with the rail network at Rosersberg and Odensala. The proposal also included plans to allow long distance trains to make stops at Arlanda and thereby integrate the new rail line with the rest of the rail network.
The project was further examined with the aim of establishing Arlandabanan as a Public Private Partnership where the private sector would assume substantial risks concerning financing, construction and operations.
Quotations for tender were issued in 1993 and the tendering process was completed the following year. The Arlanda Link Consortium submitted the winning bid. The consortium included the Swedish companies NCC, SIAB and Vattenfall and British GEC Alsthom and John Mowlem. The consortium later formed the A-Train AB company to both manage Arlandabanan and operate the facilities until 2040.
A-Banan Projekt AB (the company was renamed Arlandabanan Infrastructure AB in 2008) was incorporated by the Swedish state in 1994 with the assignment to coordinate the state’s varying interests and implement the tendering process for Arlandabanan. The company also monitors the state’s rights and obligations in accordance with the agreement concluded.
In 1995, A-Train was assigned by the state to finance, build and operate Arlandabanan. The state has contributed SEK 850 million in financing as well as a SEK 1 billion conditional loan.
The same year, construction of the railway was initiated. NCC and SIAB carried out all building and infrastructure works as well as aerial lines. British Mowlem delivered tracks and switches and GEC Alsthom built train cars and delivered signalling and telecommunications systems.
The first purpose-built Arlanda Express train arrived to Sweden in June 1998 for one-year trial operations.
On 24 November 1999, Arlandabanan was officially inaugurated and the first Arlanda Express train departed from Stockholm Central Station.
Upon project completion in 1999, all fixed assets were transferred to Arlandabanan Infrastructure AB. In parallel, A-Train was granted a 40-year concession to operate services (until 31 December 2040) in return for its investment. Thus, it has both the right and obligation to operate and maintain the railway line and also has the rights to all ticket revenues until the end of 2040.
The agreement can, however, be annulled from 2010 if A-Train fails to meet the demands and services stipulated in the agreement.
New exit to Terminal 5, pier F, at Arlanda airport is opened.
In 2004, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund became the new owner of A-Train.
The Upptåget line starts operations from Arlanda Central Station, a 30-minute frequency to Uppsala and Upplands Väsby.
Arlandabanan train passengers reach a total of 4,450,000. Arlanda Express has 83 daily departures from Arlanda to Stockholm in December of that year.
On 9 December 2012, the regional transport authorities SL and UL start operating a commuter rail line between Älvsjö and Uppsala calling at Arlanda Central Station. The journey from Stockholm Central Station takes just short of 40 minutes.
Since 2014, A-Train is owned by Portare.
The agreement with A-Train AB was extended by 10 years to 3 July 2050.
A-Train acquired six trains that Arlanda Express has previously leased from Nordea Finans. Hence is Nordea Finans since 2020 no longer a contracting party and financier/lease giver in the Arlandabanan project.