Rail transport in Norway
The Norwegian railway system comprises 4,087 km of 1,435 mm track of which 2,622 km is electrified and 242 km double track. There are 2,760 bridges; the Norwegian Railway Directorate manages the railway network in Norway on behalf the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Bane NOR is a state enterprise which builds and maintains all railway tracks, while other companies operate them; these companies include NSB and subsidiaries NSB Gjøvikbanen and CargoNet, Green Cargo, Grenland Rail and Hector Rail. Norway is a member of the International Union of Railways; the UIC Country Code for Norway is 76. The first railway in Norway was the Hoved Line between Oslo and Eidsvoll and opened in 1854; the main purpose of the railway was to freight lumber from Mjøsa to the capital, but passenger traffic was offered. In the period between the 1860s and the 1880s Norway saw a boom of smaller railways being built, including isolated railways in Central and Western Norway; the predominant gauge at the time was 1,067 mm.
The height of the era came in 1877. In 1883 the entire main railway network was taken over by NSB, though a number of industrial railways and branch lines continued to be operated by private companies. Three urban railways, in Oslo and Trondheim, were started as in 1875, 1897 and Trondheim. Oslo's system, as the only one, started with the two other as with electric cars. Electric cars were introduced in Oslo in 1894 and the last horse car operated in 1900. Bergen closed down its 1. Generation system between 1944 and 1965, but introduced LRT in 2006; the second construction boom of the main railway arose in the 1910s and included the Bergen Line across Finse to Bergen, connecting Eastern and Western Norway. A number of other larger projects were built through the 1920s, including a second line, the Dovre Line, to Trondheim; this period saw the first electrified railways and a steady conversion from narrow gauge to standard gauge. Norway chose to electrify their network at 15 kV 16.7 Hz AC. During World War II there was a massive construction by the German Forces as part of creating Festung Norwegen, including large sections of the Nordland Line and the completion of the Sørland Line.
After the war the main effort was to complete the Nordland Line and completing the decision to electrify 50% of the network, a task not completed until 1970. This allowed the retirement of the steam locomotive, being replaced with electric engines like the El 11 and El 13 or the diesel powered Di 3. In 1966 Norway's only rapid transit, Oslo T-bane was opened, but in the same decade the Bergen tramway was closed. In the 1970s and 80s a lot of branch lines were abandoned. In 1980 the massive project of connecting the eastern and western railway networks around Oslo was completed with the opening of the Oslo Tunnel and Oslo Central Station. In 1996 NSB was split in the Norwegian Railway Inspectorate, Norwegian National Rail Administration and operating company NSB BA. Since the companies have been split into 10 separate companies and corporations. In 1998 the first new line in 36 years was opened when the high-speed Gardermoen Line was opened to allow travel at 210 km/h between Oslo, Oslo Airport and Eidsvoll.
The 1990s saw the massive introduction of multiple units on passenger trains. In the 2000s the freight segment was deregulated and a number of freight companies have started competing with the NSB partial subsidiary CargoNet; the main railway network consists of 4,087 km of lines, of which 262 km is double track and 60 km high-speed rail. In addition there is 225 km of urban railways. In addition there are some industrial tracks and minor branch lines and some abandoned and heritage railways; the entire main network is 1,435 mm, as are the urban railways in Bergen. Of the operational railways in Norway, only the Trondheim Tramway has a different gauge, the meter gauge, 1,000 mm; some heritage railways, operate with various kinds of narrow gauge. The Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line used to be the northernmost railway in the world, but was in 2010 beaten by the Obskaya–Bovanenkovo Line in Russia. Still, Narvik is one of the northernmost towns in the world to have a railway connection, as the terminus for the Ofoten Line.
It connects to Kiruna, but not to Bodø, the northern terminus of the Norwegian railway network. Kiruna is, connected to the Swedish railway network, which again is connected to the Norwegian network at the Swedish stations of Charlottenberg and Kornsjø. 2,622 km of the railway network is electrified, all of it at 15 kV 16.7 Hz AC with overhead wires. The only sections that are not electrified are the lines north of Mjøsa, with the sole exception of the Dovre Line and the Ofoten Line. On non-electrified sections diesel locomotives are used. All of the urban railways use 750 V DC, via overhead wires on the tramways and via third-rail on the Oslo T-bane. In its plans, Bane NOR will concentrate its expansions on the cramped network around Oslo and the larger cities. Oslo–Ski: New double track tunneled for intercity trains finished in 2021. Existing doubletrack is used for local- and freight trains. New tunnel under Oslo city center. Vestfold Line: A new alignment between Larvik and Porsgrunn ca 23 km, will cut 22 minutes of travel time.
The plan is to make the whole line double tracked from Drammen to Porsgrunn within the early 2030s. Sørland Line: Plans may include be
Bodung Station is a railway station located in Bodung in Nes, Norway on the Kongsvinger Line. The station was built in 1913 as part of the Kongsvinger Line; the station is served hourly, with extra rush hour departures, by the Oslo Commuter Rail line 460 operated by the Norwegian State Railways. Norwegian National Rail Administration's page on Bodung
Seterstøa Station is a railway station located in Seterstøa in Nes, Norway on the Kongsvinger Line. The station was built in 1862 as part of the Kongsvinger Line; the station is served five times daily Oslo Commuter Rail line 460 operated by Norwegian State Railways
Kongsvinger Station is a railway station located in downtown Kongsvinger, Norway, on the Kongsvinger Line and Solør Line. The station was built in 1862 as part of the Kongsvinger Lin and designed in Swiss chalet style by Heinrich Ernst Schirmer and Wilhelm von Hanno. A branch line, the Solør Line, was built to Elverum; the station is served by many Oslo Commuter Rail departures to and from Oslo Central Station. There are stops by long-distance trains Oslo–Stockholm, some regional trains to Charlottenberg and Karlstad in Sweden. All bus services in Kongsvinger connect to the station, with hourly service offered by Hedmark Trafikk. There are hourly buses westbound to Oslo, northbound to Elverum, buses to Charlottenberg, local buses in Kongsvinger; the restaurant was taken over by Norsk Spisevognselskap on 1 July 1925, subsequently renovated
Norwegian State Railways
Norges Statsbaner AS, trading as NSB AS and known in English as the Norwegian State Railways, is a government-owned railway company which operates most passenger train services in Norway. Owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, it is engaged in real estate through Rom Eiendom, bus transport through Nettbuss, cargo trains through CargoNet and Swedish train transport through Tågkompaniet. NSB transported 52 million train passengers and 104 million bus passengers in 2009; the current company was established on 1 December 1996, when the former Norwegian State Railways was split into the new NSB, the infrastructure company the Norwegian National Rail Administration and the Norwegian Railway Inspectorate. In 2002 the freight operations were split to the subsidiary CargoNet, the maintenance department became Mantena. On 1 December 1996 the largest structural change in Norwegian railway history in the 20th century occurred; the old Norwegian State Railways was split into three separate governmental agencies.
The ownership and construction of the track was transformed to the newly created government agency Norwegian National Rail Administration while a new Norwegian Railway Inspectorate was created to supervise all railway operations in the country. NSB was renamed NSB BA and created as a limited company, wholly owned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. NSB was made a concern, with NSB Biltrafikk and NSB Eiendom made subsidiaries of NSB. In 1998 the new Oslo Airport, Gardermoen opened, replacing the old Oslo Airport, Fornebu, too small since the 1980s. Part of the political compromise to build the new airport was a twofold consequence for NSB. First of all it was decided that the new airport was to have an as environmentally friendly ground infrastructure as possible, resulting in the decision to build a high speed railway on the 56-kilometre stretch from Oslo Central Station to the airport, which would only take 19 minutes, but at the same time it was a political demand that the new airport not cost the tax payers any money, it was decided that the entire construction was to be financed with loans.
The result was that the airport was to be financed and operated by the Civil Aviation Administration subsidiary Oslo Lufthavn AS while the rail connection was to be financed and operated by the NSB subsidiary NSB Gardermobanen. But problems arose during the construction of the Gardermoen Line because of a leak in the tunnel Romerike Tunnel, resulting in major budget overruns and a delay in the opening of the tunnel. Still, Norway's first high speed railway line opened on time on 8 October 1998 at the same time as the new airport, though Romeriksporten was not opened until 22 October 1999, more than a year after its scheduled opening; the service is operated using 16 custom built Class 71 electric multiple units, with a capacity for 168 passengers and maximum speed of 210 kilometres per hour. NSB tried to modernize itself in the late 1990s through the acquisition of new rolling stock and a new brand image; the first stock to be delivered were 22 El 18 electric locomotives. These were to take over the passenger train traffic in Southern Norway while the El 16s and El 14s were moved to the freight division and the El 17s were scrapped, relegated to shunting or sold to the Flåm Line.
The new locomotives were capable of speeds up to 200 kilometres per hour. For the diesel lines NSB attempted to buy 12 Di 6 from Siemens, but had to return them after they failed to operate sufficiently in the Northern Norwegian cold. NSB decided to re-brand itself with three district brands: NSB Signatur, NSB Agenda and NSB Puls. At the same time NSB ordered new electric multiple units, first of all for the new Airport Express Train service, Class 71; this was followed up with 16 new Signatur trains of Class 73 that were to be used on the express services on the Bergen Line, the Dovre Line and the Sørlandet Line and equipped with tilting technology. This was an attempt to create a high speed railway service using existing rail track, though the operating times between Oslo and the termini were only reduced by about 10 minutes; these trains were painted blue and grey, were the first non-red trains to be operated by NSB in decades. At the same time NSB announced the introduction of the Agenda concept, to replace the NSB InterCity Express services and the diesel services.
While the Class 70s were repainted, the diesel services on the Nordland Line, the Rauma Line and the Røros Line were upgrades with 15 new Class 93 units in 2001, though criticized for lack of comfort, have increased the speed on the railways. NSB discontinued night train services on the Rauma Line and Røros Line. NSB received, starting in 2002 36 new electrical local trains, Class 72; these were put in the Oslo Commuter Rail and Jæren Commuter Rail. NSB has now discontinued the use of brand names on its rail products. By 2002 the Bondevik's Second Cabinet wanted to further deregulate the Norwegian railway sector, made NSB a limited company NSB AS on 1 July. NSB had been through a process of making the company more of a corporation, with the IT section made the subsidiary Arrive and the maintenance transformed to Mantena. NSB purchased part of the Swedish Tågkompaniet while the old freight train section NSB Gods was transformed to CargoNet. 45% of the subsidiary was sold to the Statens Järnvägar successor Green Cargo.
In 2004 the government split NSB Gardermobanen in two, deleting the companies debt, transferring the track it owned to Jernbaneverket and the train operations to a new, government-own
Årnes Station is a railway station located in Årnes in Nes, Norway, on the Kongsvinger Line. The station was built in 1862 as part of Kongsvingerbanen; the station is served hourly by the Oslo Commuter Rail line 460 operated by the Norwegian State Railways, in addition to extra rush-hour trains and express trains to Kongsvinger and Sweden. Most commuter trains terminate at Årnes. National Rail Administration's page on Årnes
Railway electrification system
A railway electrification system supplies electric power to railway trains and trams without an on-board prime mover or local fuel supply. Electric railways use electric locomotives to haul passengers or freight in separate cars or electric multiple units, passenger cars with their own motors. Electricity is generated in large and efficient generating stations, transmitted to the railway network and distributed to the trains; some electric railways have their own dedicated generating stations and transmission lines but most purchase power from an electric utility. The railway provides its own distribution lines and transformers. Power is supplied to moving trains with a continuous conductor running along the track that takes one of two forms: overhead line, suspended from poles or towers along the track or from structure or tunnel ceilings. Both overhead wire and third-rail systems use the running rails as the return conductor but some systems use a separate fourth rail for this purpose. In comparison to the principal alternative, the diesel engine, electric railways offer better energy efficiency, lower emissions and lower operating costs.
Electric locomotives are usually quieter, more powerful, more responsive and reliable than diesels. They have an important advantage in tunnels and urban areas; some electric traction systems provide regenerative braking that turns the train's kinetic energy back into electricity and returns it to the supply system to be used by other trains or the general utility grid. While diesel locomotives burn petroleum, electricity can be generated from diverse sources including renewable energy. Disadvantages of electric traction include high capital costs that may be uneconomic on trafficked routes. Different regions may use different supply voltages and frequencies, complicating through service and requiring greater complexity of locomotive power; the limited clearances available under overhead lines may preclude efficient double-stack container service. Railway electrification has increased in the past decades, as of 2012, electrified tracks account for nearly one third of total tracks globally. Electrification systems are classified by three main parameters: Voltage Current Direct current Alternating current Frequency Contact system Third rail Fourth rail Overhead lines Overhead lines plus linear motor Four rail system Five rail systemSelection of an electrification system is based on economics of energy supply and capital cost compared to the revenue obtained for freight and passenger traffic.
Different systems are used for intercity areas. Six of the most used voltages have been selected for European and international standardisation; some of these are independent of the contact system used, so that, for example, 750 V DC may be used with either third rail or overhead lines. There are many other voltage systems used for railway electrification systems around the world, the list of railway electrification systems covers both standard voltage and non-standard voltage systems; the permissible range of voltages allowed for the standardised voltages is as stated in standards BS EN 50163 and IEC 60850. These take into account the number of trains drawing their distance from the substation. Increasing availability of high-voltage semiconductors may allow the use of higher and more efficient DC voltages that heretofore have only been practical with AC. 1,500 V DC is used in Japan, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, France, New Zealand, the United States. In Slovakia, there are two narrow-gauge lines in the High Tatras.
In the Netherlands it is used on the main system, alongside 25 kV on the HSL-Zuid and Betuwelijn, 3000 V south of Maastricht. In Portugal, it is used in Denmark on the suburban S-train system. In the United Kingdom, 1,500 V DC was used in 1954 for the Woodhead trans-Pennine route; the system was used for suburban electrification in East London and Manchester, now converted to 25 kV AC. It is now only used for the Wear Metro. In India, 1,500 V DC was the first electrification system launched in 1925 in Mumbai area. Between 2012-2016, the electrification was converted to 25 kV 50 Hz AC, the countrywide system. 3 kV DC is used in Belgium, Spain, the northern Czech Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, former Soviet Union countries and the Netherlands. It was used by the Milwaukee Road from Harlowton, Montana to Seattle-Tacoma, across the Continental Divide and including extensive branch and loop lines in Montana, by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in the United States, the Kolkata suburban railway in India, before it was converted to 25 kV 50 Hz AC. DC volt