New Bergen tram off to rocky start

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The city of Bergen, on Norway’s west coast, is due to officially launch its new tram line called Bybanen, but accidents have plagued its trial period over the past several weeks.

The new tram system has suffered collisions with other vehicles and even a derailment. The problems are threatening to delay the system’s grand opening, set for June 22, or at least curtail its initial scheduled service.

Carl Erik Nielsen of Bybanen AS told Bergens Tidende that the system now has five sets of trams in place, but needs a minimum of four to maintain its route schedule. If anything goes wrong and a tram needs to be taken out of service, the entire schedule is at risk.

On Monday, Bybanen’s automatic signal system was believed to have failed and two trams collided with each other. A state commission is investigating the accident that disrupted all traffic in downtown Bergen for two hours.

On Friday there was another accident, when a tram collided with a car on Bjørnsons Gate, reported BT.no. That accident, though, was being blamed on the driver of the car.

The tram line from Byparken to Nesttun in Bergen is due to be the first to open. Another line between Nesttun and Lagunen is due to open in 2013, with eventual expansion to the airport at Flesland, Haukeland Hospital, Fyllingsdalen and Loddefjord.

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