Just as commuters are returning to work after the summer holidays, and tourist season remains in full swing, Norway’s national railroad has forced cuts in train service because of maintenance needs. Oslo’s central train station (Oslo S) will be mostly closed this weekend.
“It’s unfortunate that the work is taking longer than fellesferien,” railroad spokesman Kjell Bakken told newspaper Aftenposten, referring to the three weeks in July when many Norwegians take their summer holidays. Now they’re heading back to work, summer programs at local schools are cranking up and around 30,000 chldren and youth are in Oslo for the annual Norway Cup football tournament. They won’t have normal train service, though.
State railway NSB runs the trains that are served by the railroad, formerly called Jernbaneverket but recently re-named Bane Nor. NSB is at the mercy of Bane Nor, so when it needs to test signal systems, renovate tracks or perform other maintenance, NSB has to cut service.
There’s sharply reduced capacity on the commuter lines through Oslo to and from Lillestrøm, Eidsvoll, Skøyen, Kongsvinger, Dal og Drammen. Service on Østfoldbanen south of Oslo has been closed all summer and now service on Gjøvikbanen, which runs from Oslo through Nittedal, Hakadal, Hadeland and Toten to Gjøvik has been cut as well. There’s no service between Oslo S and the Grefsen station in northern Oslo, meaning passengers to points north of Oslo must travel to Grefsen, from which trains will depart.
NSB is offering alternative bus transportation but that service is always much slower than the trains, with less departures and capacity.
Service on the Airport Express Train (Flytoget) is also reduced, with only two departures an hour instead of three or four through August 4. Three trains an hour will run between Drammen and Skøyen Station in Oslo, from which bus service will be offered to OSL Gardermoen.
“We urge all travelers to the airport to allow more time,” Ronny Lindesteg, traffic chief for Flytoget, told Aftenposten. NSB will also be offering bus service bwtween Oslo S and OSL Gardermoen from Oslo Central Station every 15 minutes.