Bane NOR stumbles again in prepping multi-billion-euro line for reopening
Bane NOR has faced a fresh setback in trying to reopen Norway’s brand-new Folloban railway, admitting this week that it had been “overly optimistic” in its schedule for fixes and testing of the 3.5-billion-euro railway. It will now have to replace close to 2,5 kilometres worth of power cables, and as a result Bane NOR will not be communicating a possible reopening date until further notice.
For the past few days, Bane NOR has made preparations for for restoring power to the line. It soon became clear that one of the four power cables feeding the catenary system and the Blixtunnel through which it runs needed replacing. As the other three were still being tested, the decision was taken to replace those as well. This project is currently underway, Bane NOR CEO Gorm Frimannslund said on Wednesday. Each power cable is 600 metres long. The Norwegian infrastructure manager had been planning to power up today, Thursday and begin its testing programme on Friday. Both dates have been pushed back, and Bane NOR won’t be communicating dates until further notice.
“We recognise that we have probably been overly optimistic with the timetable for fixes and tests on the Folloban. We are working to open as soon as possible, but at the same time we must be sure that we don’t get any surprises when traffic starts up again, Frimannslund said at a press briefing.
Smoke from the tunnel
Problems on the Folloban arose shortly after the festive opening of the railway between Olso and the city of Ski last December. Smoke was discovered coming out of a technical facility at Ski station. At the time, the disruption of services was forecast to last until January 9, a date that was subsequently pushed back several times. The problem was subsequently assumed as being an electrical grounding issue, which caused electrical overheating. This then prompted a major overhaul of the system. Bane NOR teams soon discovered that the inspection and repairs of the cable terminations and joints was more time-consuming than anticipated.
Bane NOR started the main work on the large Folloban project, with a new second track between Oslo and Ski, back in 2015. This halves the journey time from 22 to 11 minutes. More than 2,000 companies and contractors have collaborated with Bane NOR to build the line. For now, trains only run on the old Østfold line.
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