Railway to Bergen reopens, freight traffic restarts 02/04/24

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Source: https://www.railfreight.com/infrastructure/2024/04/02/railway-to-bergen-reopens-freight-traffic-restarts/



As of last night, freight trains are running again along the railway connecting Oslo and Bergen, as Henning Aandal, the CEO of OnRail, told RailFreight.com. Rail access to Bergen was impeded after a derailment in Arna on Friday 22 March 2024.


The derailment was a significant thorn in the side for operators active in the country. Last week, state-owned CargoNet mentioned that, for some goods, there was no transport alternative and the only solution was to wait until the line reopened. It remains to be seen whether this created a significant backlog, hindering a quicker resumption of operations for the company.

On the other hand, OnRail, which also uses the Oslo-Bergen line, said it tried to provide some alternatives by having the goods transported by rail between Oslo and Stavanger. From there, trucks would take them via road to Bergen. “There is a backlog, but Onrail is operating as normal”, Aandal highlighted.

Workers repairing the damaged railway in Arna. Image: © Bane NOR

The accident

freight train operated by OnRail derailed just inside the Arnanipa Tunnel. The cleanup process started on Sunday 24 March, after Norwegian police and the National Accident Investigation Board concluded their on-site inspections. The accident caused significant damage, but luckily nobody was seriously hurt. Only the train driver, who is treated as a suspect together with a person who helped set up the train, suffered minor injuries. The dynamic of the accident is still unclear and under investigation. What is currently known is that the train might have ran a red light and that a diverting switch struck, forcing it to derail. However, it is not clear which of the two events happened first.

Once the cleanup of the scene was finished and the damaged train was removed, Bane NOR was able to start repairing the damaged infrastructure. “Among other things, we have laid 3,000 metres of signal cable, made several hundred cable joints, changed many sleepers, built a new catenary system and carried out dozens of rail welds”, Bane NOR said. It needs to be mentioned that the derailment might have led to a massive tragedy, as a passenger train, loaded with 200 people, was coming from the opposite direction inside the tunnel. However, a last-minute emergency call allowed the passenger convoy to stop safely one kilometre from the derailed locomotive.

The derailed freight train outside the Arna tunnel. Image: © Bane NOR


Author: Marco Raimondi