Bane NOR calls on PwC to investigate Folloban debacle
Bane NOR has selected consultancy PwC to carry out an independent investigation into the events that led to the multi-billion-euro Folloban railway being suspended shortly following its opening. PwC, on its part, will enlist the help of Holte Consulting AS and other technical subcontractors to carry out the evaluation. The investigation will be concluded in June.
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. The problem was assumed as being an electrical grounding issue, which then 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.
At the time, the disruption of services was forecast to last until January 9, a date that was subsequently pushed back several times. At the end of January, Bane NOR faced a fresh setback and admitted that it had been “overly optimistic” in its schedule for fixes and testing of the 3.5-billion-euro railway. The announcement followed the discovery 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. Each power cable is 600 metres long.
PwC will now try and shed light on the underlying reasons for the many setbacks, and to see which role was played by who. “The situation on the Folloban line is very unfortunate and it is important to use this evaluation to assess the necessary measures at Bane NOR”, chairperson Cato Hellesjø said in a press statement released this week. The evaluation will begin in March.
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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