Key train stations to close for repairs

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Armed with millions from the state budget proposed this week, railway and railroad authorities plan to get down to work repairing Norway’s ailing train system. The work will force closure of both Oslo’s Central and National Theater stations next summer.

The historic closures will mean more service disruptions and delays, but railroad officials insist it will be worth it. Stein Horrisland of state railroad Jernbaneverket told newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday that train passengers will see even better results when the work is finished than they did after maintenance was carried out this past summer as well.

That led to far more timely trains, after tracks, switches, electrical and signalling systems were refurbished. NSB has been able to keep as many as 97 percent of its lines on schedule since a key tunnel under Oslo re-opened after repairs in July.

Details aren’t worked out yet, but Aftenposten reports that only trains on the eastern line known as Østfoldbanen will roll into the Central Station (Oslo S) next summer, and only to turn around there. All other lines into and through the capital will probably end and turn around at either the Lillestrøm or Skøyen stations, from which point passengers will be transported by bus into the city.

Oslo S will partially close, and the National Theater station will close entirely from Sunday June 26 until Monday August 8, 2011. During those six weeks, crews will work to complete refurbishment of railroad infrastructure that was neglected for years. The neglect led to massive train chaos last winter.

The project is expected cost nearly NOK 600 million but the government has allocated the funding, plus several hundred million more, and seems to have plenty of support for the project in Parliament.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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