Nearly 400 passengers on board the afternoon train from Oslo to Bergen had to be evacuated in a forest area between Hønefoss and Vikersund on Friday, after the train itself tore down its connection to overhead power lines. The situation was described as chaotic.
“I heard something like an explosion before the train came to a sudden halt,” passenger Erik Schreiner Evans told state broadcaster NRK. “At first I thought a suitcase had fallen down from an overhead rack, but then we could smell someting like an electrical fire.”
Evans and his partner Aurora Salmelid were taking the train to Finse, in the mountains between Oslo and Bergen, and planned to cycle the popular Rallarvegen route while on summer holiday. They and hundreds of others only got as far as the Tyrifjord, about an hour outside Oslo.
“It was chaotic in the beginning, with little information, but we were then told we had to evacuate the train and walk 300 meters on a forest road,” Evans said. The 397 people on board were told to take their belongings with them and wait for alternative transport to Bergen. Evans and his partner said it took around two hours before they ended up taking a bus back to Oslo. Finse is only accessible via train, and they had to cancel their bike tour.
Most passengers eventually continued to Bergen or destinations in between by bus. By 8:15pm, around 11 passengers and some of train crew members were still waiting for alternative transport.
“The majority took bus transport westwards,” Åge-Christoffer Lundeby, spokesman for railway NSB, told NRK. He couldn’t explain exactly what caused the power failure.
“It’s difficult to reconstruct what happened,” he said. “The overhead lines may have come out of position, and then the train snagged one and tore it all down, or there could have been a power receiver that was faulty.” He hoped the rail line would reopen by midnight.