Norway fast rail unprofitable and uninteresting

Mobile Edition. 17:21, 25 July, 2014

16:37, January 26, 2012
by Lyndsey Smith.
(Filed under News)

Spanish high-speed train over viaduct (illus. ph.)

There have been unenthusiastic reactions to the long-awaited Norwegian high-speed rail report following publication, Wednesday.

In February 2010, the Ministry of Transport asked for the possibility of high-speed rail in southern Norway to be explored.

National Rail Administration (Jernbaneverket) officials have spent two years studying whether the transport solution would work, and came with some positive results.

Their conclusion was that high-speed rail lines would be feasible, and could result in the journey from one end station to the other being achieved in only 3hrs at speeds of over 250-330 kph (155-205 mph). High-speed rail would also reduce the amount CO2 emissions.

However, the report also stated it would not be economically useful for society using trains of either speeds.

The only thing that would make it profitable for business – except on the Stavanger-Haugesund-Stord-Bergen stretch – and worth the cost of building it was if the government picked up the bill, estimated at 1,000 billion (1 quadrillion in the US) kroner.

Centre Party (Sp) MP for Troms, Irene Lange Nordahl, told NRK, “Using 900 billion on trains in southern Norway is absolutely insane. Such an enormous investment in the south will mean northern Norway lagging completely behind the times.”

“We don’t have trains in the north, and investing billions of kroner in high-speed rail in the south will, in practise, mean it will be impossible to get priority investment for road construction in the north. It’s completely unacceptable.”

The report is based on the following routes:

1. Oslo-Bergen
2. Oslo-Trondheim
3. Oslo-Kristiansand-Stavanger
4. Oslo-Gothenburg
5. Oslo-Stockholm
6. Bergen-Haugesund-Stavanger in combination with 1 and 3

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