Norway rail officials positive to Swedish cooperation / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Norway rail officials positive to Swedish cooperation. The Norwegian government’s proposed trans-border rail network improvement idea between Oslo and Gothenburg and is welcomed as Norway’s tracks age. Progress Party (FrP) Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen voiced his views on the matter recently, saying, it would be “natural to contact Swedish authorities” about it. Three possibilities Norway’s trains have been found to be amongst the slowest in Europe. Even the idea of domestic high-speed rail links shunted into sidings amongst profitability concerns.  

norwayrailways, scandinaviarailways, swedenrailways



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Norway rail officials positive to Swedish cooperation

Published on Friday, 8th November, 2013 at 10:12 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

The Norwegian government’s proposed trans-border rail network improvement idea between Oslo and Gothenburg and is welcomed as Norway’s tracks age.



Progress Party (FrP) Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen voiced his views on the matter recently, saying, it would be “natural to contact Swedish authorities” about it.

Three possibilities

Norway’s trains have been found to be amongst the slowest in Europe. Even the idea of domestic high-speed rail links shunted into sidings amongst profitability concerns.  

National Rail Administration officials explained there are three options for the Norway-Sweden route.

They envisage the current average 3 hour and 45 minute journey time could be cut considerably.

“The first two scenarios build on the existing InterCity project between Oslo and Halden,” Thor Erik Skarpen, communications manager for planning and development, told The Foreigner.

“Oslo-Halden can, and most probably will, be cut from today’s 1:45 hours to 1:05 when the double track opens all the way to Halden in 2030,” he added.

According to him, minor investments in passing tracks in Norway and Sweden might also slice off 10 minutes extra.

Another possibility is Oslo to Gothenburg in 1 hour and 55 minutes with stops at Norway’s Fredrikstad and Trollhättan in Sweden.

2 hours and 15 minutes is feasible with stops in other towns too by building a new line from Halden, Norway, to Öxnered in Sweden.

Delays possible

Mr Skarpen stated the third scenario, which involves a new high speed line from Ski, making the journey-time just 1 hour and 40 minutes, is more challenging, however.

“It’s possible with a straighter line for 330 km/h from Ski to Sarpsborg and Öxnered, but highly ambitious in terms of cost. Also, sacrificing Fredrikstad and Halden would be a hard sell,” he said.

Moreover, “the Swedish government has made clear that they don’t want high-speed lines faster than 250 km/h on the Swedish side between Gothenburg and Oslo.”

Which inadequacies, if any, does the Administration feel the Norwegian rail network has at present?

“Several. There are single tracks with low capacity and slow journey times, as well as outdated technical equipment,” remarked Mr Skarpen.

“Nationally, 90 per cent of the network is more than 60 years old, and 65 per cent over 100 years old. The tracks’ curvature doesn’t allow for high-speed travel.”

What does the Administration have to say regarding Minister Solvik-Olsen’s comment?

“We’re optimistic!”

The wrong type of equipment

State-owned railway company NSB’s communications advisor Liv Eggebø cited their main challenges are Norway’s wealth of single-tracked lines, congestion, and sorely-needed upgrades.

“The overall quality of the railway infrastructure in Norway is not good enough, due to aging and lack of maintenance, in particular on the Østfold line.”

“The signals and traffic control system is unstable, resulting in delays and stops in traffic,” said Ms Eggebø.

Better Norway-side rail network development will vastly help travel conditions between the Norwegian and Swedish capitals too, in her opinion.

“The competitiveness of the Oslo-Gothenburg and Oslo-Stockholm railway links will improve, with improved quality, capacity and travel times,” she stated.

Passengers will notice considerable improvements as well.

“Double tracks open the possibility of tailoring separate regional train services between Oslo and Gothenburg, which will both improve services on the cross-border trains and capacity on board NSB’s Oslo-Halden Intercity trains,” declared Ms Eggebø.

“Better infrastructure capacity will also open for possibilities for increasing the number of trains between Oslo and Gothenburg.”

In response to Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen’s statements, Ms Eggebø said that her organisation “welcomes better interaction and cooperation between the Norwegian and Swedish government.”

“Hopefully, this can facilitate faster planning and building of new infrastructure on the Oslo-Gothenburg link,” she concluded.



Published on Friday, 8th November, 2013 at 10:12 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: norwayrailways, scandinaviarailways, swedenrailways.





  
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