Norway: majority of parliament now in favour of building North Norway line Fauske - Tromsø

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jamesontheroad

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Norwegians, forgive me if my understanding of your parliamentary process is a bit inaccurate.

According to NRK today, the Labour Party in Norway has secured a majority in favour of building the North Norway railway, approximately 370km from the existing Nordlandsbanen in Fauske north towards Tromsø. With a majority in the Storting (legislature) in favour, it can now ask the government to initiate the work of planning the railway.

Translated, highlights from the article read:

Labor secures a majority for the Northern Norway line​

It is up to the majority in the Storting when the North Norway line is taken up for consideration today. With that, the Storting will ask the government to initiate the work of realizing the railway.

Published Apr 20 at 08:11 Updated Apr 20 at 13:38


"Now it looks like it can be current national policy from today," says parliamentary representative Cecilie Myrseth (Labor).
During this weekend's national meeting, the Labor Party decided to put forward a proposal in the Storting that a thorough study be made of the new train connection that could lead to a future realization of the Northern Norway line. They want this in the National Transport Plan (NTP).
With the track, the region will be lifted and jobs will be provided. After more than 100 years of planning and four studies, it is time for a majority in the Storting today.
The 370 kilometer stretch will run from Fauske in Nordland to Tromsø. The Northern Norway line was the theme of Politisk kvarter on Tuesday morning.
 
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BigCj34

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Driving route is 480km, though the railway will be a lot straighter surely. That's going to be one major piece of engineering.

There is something about Nordic railway engineering that is impressive, such as the ability to link Jutland to Sweden via Copenhagen with tunnels and bridges, and the new Fehmarn Belt link.
 

JonasB

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Driving route is 480km, though the railway will be a lot straighter surely. That's going to be one major piece of engineering.

If it becomes a reality, and in what way. In the facebook group Togferie that is usually very pro rail, there are different opinions about it. Some like it, others think that Norway should focus on upgrading existing lines, and then there are those that think the northern part (Narvik-Tromsö) is enough.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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Could the north be more easily reached by going through Sweden? I guess there are political reasons for a route entirely within Norway
 

JonasB

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Could the north be more easily reached by going through Sweden? I guess there are political reasons for a route entirely within Norway

Short answer: yes.

The Fauske-Narvik part is a very narrow part of Norway and the terrain is very difficult. North of Narvik the terrain becomes a bit less hostile.
 

Gloster

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It will be interesting to see if the new line, if it is ever built, will incorporate any of the bits that were started during World War II. There are going to have to be some pretty impressive engineering works, particularly on the first part of the route.
 

jamesontheroad

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Could the north be more easily reached by going through Sweden? I guess there are political reasons for a route entirely within Norway

Short answer: yes.

The Fauske-Narvik part is a very narrow part of Norway and the terrain is very difficult. North of Narvik the terrain becomes a bit less hostile.

In addition to the famous night train from Stockholm in Sweden to Narvik in Norway (and the dayime train from Luleå in north-east Sweden to Narvik), cargo trains from southern Norway to Narvik also already travel via Sweden (albeit a much longer route). I live near Vännäs on the Main Line through Norrland, and a couple of times a week I catch a glimpse of Cargonet's mixed freight train from Oslo to Narvik passing by. Here's some drone footage of it driving through northern Sweden.


This train is distinguished not just by the Cargonet locomotives, but also the brightly coloured array of ambient and refrigerated truck trailers which serve the Norwegian supermarkets in Narvik and the far north. REMA 1000 and Spar don't exist in Sweden, so the sight of their truck trailers on trailer wagons is noticable.

There was some chatter when Vy (NSB) won the procurement of the Narvik night train about a possible through working to/from Oslo: train paths were applied for which suggested that there might be a connection or through carriages on the Stockholm-Oslo route. However COVID has prevented anything from being developed further.

Maybe it could be mostly in tunnels. Could it be the most difficult terrain in the world?

Not just difficult, also expensive and environmentally problematic. Critics of the project highlight not only the immense cost but also the environmental damage. Electrified railways are great for low carbon transportation of people and freight, but this project will probably never compensate for the huge carbon emissions produced by its construction.
 

JonasB

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In addition to the famous night train from Stockholm in Sweden to Narvik in Norway (and the dayime train from Luleå in north-east Sweden to Narvik), cargo trains from southern Norway to Narvik also already travel via Sweden (albeit a much longer route). I live near Vännäs on the Main Line through Norrland, and a couple of times a week I catch a glimpse of Cargonet's mixed freight train from Oslo to Narvik passing by. Here's some drone footage of it driving through northern Sweden.

Oslo to Narvik is a around a 26 hour trip one way. But they are pretty popular so they must be a good option between southern and northern Norway.

Not just difficult, also expensive and environmentally problematic.
Apart from tunnels, there will also be a couple of huge bridges needed to cross the fjords in the way.
 

Gloster

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As I read your summary, the vote was for a "thorough study" - which sounds like what's happening in GB.
As you say, it is just a thorough study that was approved. There is no timescale, financial allocation beyond the cost of the study or declared intention actually to build it.
 

daodao

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There don't seem to be any passenger trains on this route at present. Is this permanent, or related to Covid and/or track works? It has certainly been downgraded in recent years, with no night trains and no refreshment facilities. It does seem in much of Europe that while internal domestic services are still being developed/promoted on trunk routes, such as the line discussed in this thread, international passenger services are withering.
 

Gloster

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There don't seem to be any passenger trains on this route at present. Is this permanent, or related to Covid and/or track works? It has certainly been downgraded in recent years, with no night trains and no refreshment facilities. It does seem in much of Europe that while internal domestic services are still being developed/promoted on trunk routes, such as the line discussed in this thread, international passenger services are withering.
It looks as though services are either completely withdrawn or restricted to the bare minimum as a result of (partial?) closure of the border due to Corona. However, the normal service is limited at the best of times.
 

Cheshire Scot

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The Fauske-Narvik part is a very narrow part of Norway and the terrain is very difficult. North of Narvik the terrain becomes a bit less hostile.
I have travelled that route a couple of times in the eighties by bus. In addition to the terrain there are several Fjord crossings which back then were a mixture of bridges and ferry crossings. It may be that more have been bridged since then but a railway would also need to find a means of bridging (or tunnelling - or diverting inland to a much narrower point) adding further huge cost. If built it would be an engineering marvel and a wonderful journey to make.
 

JonasB

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It looks as though services are either completely withdrawn or restricted to the bare minimum as a result of (partial?) closure of the border due to Corona. However, the normal service is limited at the best of times.

Yes, Norway has closed their border for all international trains. Had there not been a pandemic there would have been two daily trains in each direction between Oslo and Stockholm. There is a lot of construction going on in Norway, some kind of catenary works if I'm not mistaken. But once they are finished, the plan is 8 daily in each direction. SJ has also mentioned reintroducing X2000s on the route which could cut the travel time from the current 6:30 to less than 5 hours.
 

30907

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I have travelled that route a couple of times in the eighties by bus. In addition to the terrain there are several Fjord crossings which back then were a mixture of bridges and ferry crossings. It may be that more have been bridged since then but a railway would also need to find a means of bridging (or tunnelling - or diverting inland to a much narrower point) adding further huge cost. If built it would be an engineering marvel and a wonderful journey to make.
There's only one ferry now and I believe the road is fully surfaced (which it wasn't in 1980) - the bus is at least an hour faster these days.
 
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