Trains Trondheim-Oslo diverted after bridge collapse, but alternative route also damaged by extreme weather

The bridge on the Dovrebanen in Norway could not handle the large amounts of water Sigbjørn Korsgård, Bane NOR

After a storm and heavy rain caused a railway bridge on the Norwegian Dovre line to collapse last week, traffic on that route has come to a standstill. Therefore, operator SJ diverted its traffic via the Røros line. However, this Monday, torrential rain fell over parts of this route and leading to several landslides, further halting rail traffic in Norway.

The bridge on the Dovrebanen was damaged by the large amounts of water in the Lågen river as a result of the extreme weather system “Hans” last week. The bridge foundation suffered a crack, and the bridge broke in the middle on Monday last week. Traffic across the bridge was already stopped on the line as a precaution before it collapsed. The huge amounts of water have caused major damage to the railways and led to the closure of several train lines in Norway.

Their annual inspections had given no indication other than that the bridge was in good condition, says Bane NOR. “The storm and the flood have been an extreme situation. On the basis of the red danger warnings that were given, we chose, for reasons of safety, to close the Dovrebanen to all traffic more than two days before the damage to the bridge occurred”, says track director Eivind Bjurstrøm at Bane NOR.

“We cannot say anything about how long it will take before the connection across Lågen is restored, but it is clear that this will take a long time”, says Bane NOR writes in a statement. Bane NOR is also in the process of repairing other damage to the Dovrebanen as a result of the flood.

Passenger and freight trains diverted

SJ Norge, the Norwegian branch of Sweden’s state-owned operator, runs the trains on the Dovrebanen between Oslo and the North. Traffic between Oslo S and Lillehammer still continues, but the passenger traffic on the Dovrebanen now goes by bus instead of train between Lillehammer and Trondheim. An extra departure was set up on the Røros Line last week, where two direct trains instead of one between Trondheim S and Oslo S were to run on the Rørosbanen each way on weekdays, SJ told paper Arbeidets Rett.

However, since heavy rainfall again this week caused several landslides on this line, those plans are put on hold and even fewer trains can run. The Røros line is currently closed between Støren and Røros. It is too early to say how long this will take and when we can run trains on the route again, Bane NOR said in an update on Monday.

Parts of the Rørosbanen are washed away, meaning diverted traffic from the Dovrebanen meets a dead end (image: Stig Halvei Rønning, Spordrift via Bane NOR)

The night train connecting Norway’s capital to Trondheim in the north, a popular train service was also planned to be diverted to the Rørosbanen by operator SJ.  This will now only be possible when the damaged sections there have been restored. As all train companies in Norway lease their rolling stock from state-owned Norske Tog, SJ has already requested to rent a diesel locomotive for pulling the night train via this line.

In addition, all freight traffic between the north and south was to go on the Røros railway to ensure food supply, Bane NOR told Retten. “That means seven trains in each direction throughout the day in addition to what was planned before”. “We were able to move parts of the freight traffic over to the Rørosbanen, in a desire to maintain the most climate-friendly goods transport on rails. It must now be put on hold until we reopen the Røros Line” said Bane NOR. The railway manager had strongly encouraged users of level crossings, which the Røros line has a number of and many of them unsecured crossings on private roads, to be vigilant as there are many more trains on the route than usual. For now, it will still be quiet, however.

Author: Esther Geerts


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