Labour ready to invest in trains

Bookmark and Share

After decades of neglect by a long series of governments, the ruling Labour Party now claims it wants to further boost funding for Norway’s ailing train system and especially improve service in the Oslo area.

Norway's trains are in dire need of maintenance and improvement. PHOTO: Views and News

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) chronicled recently how politicians from all of Norway’s parties over the years have failed to improve or even maintain the Norwegian railroad. Political tendencies to favour rural districts over urban ones have resulted in hundreds of millions being allocated to bridges or tunnels or short spans of highway in outlying areas, while critical maintenance of railroad infrastructure was overlooked.

This past winter, though, resulted in the worst train service ever and politicians seem to have woken up. While DN claimed that some politicians seemed to willfully withhold train funding in the Oslo metropolitan area, because they didn’t want more people to move there, now there’s more political will to fix the badly broken system.

Labour politicians, meeting for a national board meeting last week, voted to boost funding and prepare for construction of double tracks around Oslo (the area called Østlandet, where the vast majority of Norway’s population lives). The double tracks will vastly reduce cancellations and delays and improve safety.

“We’ll have another round with Jernbaneverket (the state railroad) with an eye to doing even more to improve maintenance and upgrade equipment,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told newspaper Aftenposten

Stoltenberg said plans also must include construction of the long-awaited “inter-city” system linking Halden in the south, Skien in the southwest and Lillehammer in the north with Oslo.

Views and News staff