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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

More talks on train woes

Another rash of train trouble during the Easter holidays prompted more high-level talks on Tuesday, between Norway’s transport minister and the head of the state-owned railroad. Opposition politicians once again were demanding concrete measures to make things better.

Transport Minister Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa returned from the Easter holiday to face another barrage of complaints and concerns regarding state railroad Jernbaneverket and state railway NSB. Delays were common again during the busy Easter travel week, not least after a derailment not far from Oslo’s central station shut down service north of the capital yet again.

Kleppa called in Jernbaneverket’s hard-pressed boss, Elisabeth Enger, for a detailed explanation of what went wrong this time, and what steps are being taken to prevent further mishaps.

Kleppa and her government colleagues claim the railroad has received all the money it requested, to make needed improvements and repairs. Years of neglect, however, mean that’s taking time. Last week’s derailment was blamed on old tracks, for example, and it can take years before all are brought up to speed.

The railroad also claims it can take up to 40 years before a new train tunnel through Oslo can be planned, built and opened, reports Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). That set off sharp criticism from politicians demanding more “vision and ambition” from the state railroad.

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