Bergen railway network crippled

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A train breakdown in a Hordaland tunnel on Wednesday night proved to be much more serious than authorities initially thought, forcing a shutdown of the entire Bergen line on Thursday. A bus shortage compounded the problems, and commuters were warned to expect delays.

A train on the Bergen line damaged driving lines and broke down in a tunnel on Wednesday night, forcing the evacuation of 130 passengers. The diesel engine brought in to tow the train caused further damage overnight, crippling the Bergen rail network throughout Thursday. PHOTO: Rolf M Sørensen/NSB

A train on the Bergen line damaged driving lines and broke down in a tunnel on Wednesday night, forcing the evacuation of 130 passengers. The diesel engine brought in to tow the train caused further damage overnight, crippling the Bergen rail network throughout Thursday. PHOTO: Rolf M Sørensen/NSB

A local train tore down driving lines in the tunnel near Dale, forcing the evacuation of 130 passengers shortly before 8pm. “Extensive work is underway in the Trollkonetunnelen,” Harry Korslund from rail network Jernbaneberket told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Thursday morning. “It is a much more comprehensive job that we had reason to fear. In addition we have a situation between Trengereid and Arna. In sum, it is too early to say for sure when the Bergen line can reopen for normal traffic.”

It took three hours to tow the train to Dale, reported newspaper Bergens Tidene (BT). The diesel engine brought in to pull the passenger train to Bergen tore down the second driving line between Arna and Trengereid, doubling the task technicians faced to repair the network.

A local train was scheduled to run between Bergen and Arna, and the Bergen line was going as normal between Voss and Oslo. Rail operator NSB tried to organize alternative transport between Bergen and Voss, but struggled to find enough buses for the job. “Large delays must therefore be expected and we ask people to find alternative transport to Bergen,” said Korslund.

“It’s taking longer than we had hoped to fix both failures,” said NSB’s press officer Håkon Myhre. “It is also hopeless to obtain buses, and we have not managed to get enough buses to help the morning traffic. We recommend people ride with a neighbour or work from home. You can also find other public transport.”

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate