UPDATED: A portion of the main train line between Oslo and Stockholm was closed over the weekend after a passenger train derailed at Skotterud, not far from the Swedish border, Friday evening. Nearly 40 persons were injured, but no one was killed.
“I have deep sympathy for all those involved in the train accident,” said the head of Norwegian state railway Einar Enger. The cause of the accident remained unclear but investigators suspect a problem with the wheels on a carriage from Swedish railway SJ.
Officials from the state accident investigation commission (Havarikommisjonen) arrived at the scene quickly along with police and officials from both NSB and state railroad Jernbaneverket, which had just completed routine maintenance of the tracks in the area.
Enger said NSB’s main focus, however, was “to take care of the passengers who were on board, and their families.” A total of 37 persons were injured, two of them seriously, with 26 of them taken to the hospital in nearby Kongsvinger. Another four were taken to the hospital in Arvika in Sweden, while seven were airlifted to Ullevaal University Hospital in Oslo.
There were around 300 passengers on board the train, which had left Oslo’s Central Station at 3:49pm and was typically full on a Friday afternoon. Shortly after leaving Kongsvinger the train derailed near Skotterud, with one carriage flipping over on its side and another running off the track and stopping in a ditch.
Passengers reported loud noises, sudden braking and a crash that some thought resulted from a collision with a vehicle. Most managed to get out of the wrecked carriages themselves and an emergency reception center was set up at the nearby town hall in Skotterud.
NSB said the train involved had a locomotive and five carriages. Baggage left behind by pasengers was transported to the Oslo Central Station during the night and passengers could retrieve it by calling NSB at (+47) 23 15 00 00.
The line between Kongsvinger in Norway and Charlottenberg in Sweden was closed until further notice. NSB and Sweden’s railway were setting up alternative transport long the line.