Norway’s troubled Folloban railway to reopen on Sunday
Travellers can once more make use of the Folloban railway between between Olso and the city of Ski starting on Sunday, March 5. The announcement comes following weeks of delays and setbacks as a result of technical issues and repairs.
“After ten intense weeks of correcting errors and shortcomings, we can finally welcome back all train travellers”, Bane NOR CEO Gorm Frimannslund said in a press statement earlier this week. According to Frimannslund, traffic will resume at full force instead of a slow ramp up. To that end, the infrastructure manager has for the past few days been testing with three train sets at 200 kilometres the Blixtunnel all the while testing the different measures it has taken and the improvements that it has made.
All was good and well when King Harald V and crown prince Haakon Magnus performed the official opening of the 3.5-billion-euro Folloban on December 12, in Oslo. A mere week later, smoke was discovered coming out of a technical facility at Ski station.
The problem was subsequently assumed as being an electrical grounding issue, which caused electrical overheating. This then prompted a major overhaul of the system. Testing activity shortly resumed, but Bane NOR teams soon discovered that the inspection and repairs of the cable terminations and joints was more time-consuming than anticipated.
In late-January, when Bane NOR was making preparations 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. The infrastructure manager at the time also said it had been “overly optimistic” in its schedule for fixes and testing.
Last month, Bane NOR announced that PwC would carry out an independent investigation into the events that led to the multi-billion-euro Folloban railway being suspended shortly following its opening.