More train trouble strands passengers

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Train service on lines west of Oslo ground to a halt on Friday for the fourth time in the past week, because of a lack of electrical power to railroad signal equipment. All service on the busy line between Skøyen in Oslo and Sandvika west of the city was suspended.

Service on the Airport Express Train to OSL Gardermoen was disrupted along with other lines because of more signal trouble west of Oslo. PHOTO: Samferdselsdepartement/Olav Heggø/Fotovisjon

Service on the Airport Express Train to OSL Gardermoen was disrupted along with other lines because of more signal trouble west of Oslo. PHOTO: Samferdselsdepartement/Olav Heggø/Fotovisjon

The resulting lack of signals forced state railway NSB  and the Airport Express Train to halt service in the affected area. The airport line was running from Drammen to Asker and from Skøyen to Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen, but there was no service from mid- to late Friday morning between Asker and Skøyen.

NSB’s lines were shut down between Skøyen and Sandvika, and train officials were scrambling to provide stranded passengers with alternate forms of transport. The disruption also carried over to other lines, forcing cancellation of routes to Kongsvinger and Eidsvoll as well.

“This is extremely unsatisfactory for NSB and our customers,” NSB spokesman Åge Kristoffer Lundeby to state broadcaster NRK. NSB must rely on state railroad Jernbaneverket to provide functioning rail infrastructure. “This hits several thousand passengers,” Lundeby said.

Jernbaneverket was working to restore power to the signal system but Lundeby said NSB hadn’t been told how long the work would take. “We don’t know when our trains can run normally again,” he said. “Regardless, this is causing delays and cancellations.”

Jernbaneverket has recorded fully 981 signal malfunctions so far this year, and there have been severe disruptions on the lines between Drammen and Oslo for the past week. NRK reported that more than five train routes are delayed every day in Norway because of signal problems.

“981 signal failures are 981 too many,” Vibeke Aarnes, regional director for Jernbaneverket, told NRK. “We don’t want this and we’re working constantly to make the system better and better.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund