It had been 10 years since a brand new metro station opened in Oslo, so folks turned out in droves to welcome the arrival of the Norwegian capital’s new Løren station on Sunday, along with the T-bane trains serving it. The project opened on time and under budget.
“We have waited many years for this,” local resident Lone Vang Wøien told newspaper Aftenposten. The opening left Oslo with the largest metro system in the Nordic countries, with 101 stations and a new cross-town line that will allow many metro passengers to avoid traveling through the downtown stations when they’re heading from east to west or back again.
The new line has led to changes in metro schedules but the morning and evening commuter rush went well on Monday. Opening ceremonies on Sunday featured the Norwegian Chamber Music Orchestra playing on board the first arriving train.
The new line, called Lørenbanen, covers just 1,6 kilometers but connects some key stations for the first time and its station is located in an area that’s been redeveloping into a major residential hub in northeast Oslo. New condominium buildings are rising all around the station, which is expected to handle around 8,000 passengers a day. The new line and station cost NOK 1.3 billion (USD 156 million).
Raymond Johansen, the head of Oslo’s city government who’s been criticized for using the city’s limousine service for top politicians instead of practicing the anti-car policies he preaches, was on hand to cut the ribbon for the new station. He thanked the public transit system Ruter and Sporveien that delivered the improvements both on time and at less cost than budgeted. “That sort of thing impresses us elected officials,” Johansen said.