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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Train disruption starts smoothly

Locals and tourists alike have been bracing themselves for commuter chaos, as the scheduled halt of all trains through Oslo began this morning. “All things considered, this has gone fairly well,” press officer Bjørn Stuedal of state railway NSB told newspaper Aftenposten. “The coach-for-train system has been working well, and passengers experiencing delays have handled this with composure.”

Scheduled to last for six weeks, the disruption in train traffic is due to necessary maintenance and improvement works, forcing travelers to find alternative methods of transportation through the capital. The comprehensive renewal program for signals, switches, tracks and other rail infrastructure is meant to ultimately lead to far more reliability of a train system that has developed a terrible reputation of late. As of this morning, all train services are being replaced by bus and metro, and busses will run every three minutes during rushhour.

Heavy traffic has been mounting on state highways E6 and E18, in and out of Oslo, as many have chosen to get behind the wheel. Roadwork on E6, as well as the shuttered Oslo Fjord tunnel are factors likely to add to the congestion, and traffic monitor agency Vegtrafikksentralen has recommended that drivers leave their cars behind.

NSB and state rail agency Jerbaneverket have run a large-scale informational campaign leading up to the halt and Stuedal feels as though the positive results of this effort have been evident. “Although there is a lot of traffic on the roads, it’s not as if we running empty trains. It seems our customers have understood how to get to their intended destination, and that they must allow for additional time.”

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