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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Oslo Central Station reopens

Oslo Central Station, commonly referred to as “Oslo S,” reopened on Monday after weeks of essential maintenance, with promises that the work done would improve service and reduce problems.

Oslo's central station will be close to all thru-traffic from June 26 until August 8, so passengers need to prepare for delays and disruption. PHOTO: Views and News

The work, which began on June 26, apparently completed upgrades that would usually take 18 months in just six weeks. Trains can now travel out of the station again, including those to Gardermoen Airport that had to be replaced with bus services during the engineering work.

13 different companies have had around 250 employees working on the 2,500 maintenance and upgrade tasks that have made up the work. The upgrades are part of something called the “Oslo Project,” which has invested NOK 1.6 billion (USD 293 million) in train network improvements. Work continues on the project from Tuesday night, and will be mostly done after hours except for a few planned closures in September and the winter, and a further six week closure period next summer. The upgrade from two to four lines coming west from Oslo is also nearly complete, which will mean an improved survive between Lysaker and Sandvika through the new Bærum tunnel.

The director of the Norwegian National Rail Administration, Elisabeth Enger, told news agency NTB that there were “some challenges during tests on the weekend,” but the Minister of Transport and Communications, Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa of the Center Party, said the work would lead to “a better everyday life” for passengers. “I hope that messages that lines have fallen down will be a thing of the past,” Kleppa commented, adding that “fewer mistakes mean that more trains are in traffic, and people will notice this.”

Kjetil Bragstad of the Norwegian State Railways told newspaper Aftenposten that “the vast majority of feedback from passengers has been positive” regarding rail replacement bus services, although there had been complaints regarding the length of journeys compared to taking a train. When the work began, there were huge delays to buses and cars during morning rush hour as several items of planned road maintenance were also scheduled at the same time. Only the south-east line of the Østfoldbanen and trains from abroad could run during the six week maintenance period.

Views and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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