Improvements on the Østfold Rail line

Commuter train østfold rail lineCommuter train in snow. Photo. Pixabay.com

Improved infrastructure on the Østfold Rail line

The Norwegian Department of Transport promises more departures and better mobile coverage on the Østfold Rail line – partially in place from December. The changes will be most noticeable during peak hours.

 

– We have complete understanding of the frustration felt by commuters with respect to overcrowded trains on many of the departures on the Østfold Rail line. The whole railway community has therefore sat down in order to improve the situation.

Major investments in infrastructure will provide a significant improvement in the offer in a few years time, but we are already implementing measures that will help ease the pressure on local trains and provide a better offer during the peak hours.

The additional departures will be in place in December this year. Mobile coverage will also improve.

Work will be conducted next year to install reception equipment on board the trains, primarily in older material that cover the longest routes, says Minister of Transport, Ketil Solvik-Olsen (Progress Party).

The main challenge on the Østfold Rail line (Østfoldbanen) today is the capacity of the local train line L2, running between Ski and Stabekk. The train is often overcrowded and spends a lot of time at the stations. This often makes for delays that propagate throughout the system. There is also an increasing demand for travels in the other direction, especially to and from Ås.

More departures – especially during peak hours

Today’s infrastructure is highly utilized. On the initiative by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Norwegian Railway Authority, Bane NOR, Norske Tog (Norwegian Trains) and NSB have looked at various measures to strengthen the rail service in the short term. In December this year improvements will be introduced to the route plan on the Østfold Rail line.

The most important measures

  • Line L22 Mysen-Skøyen – two departures in both directions will stop at Vevelstad during peak hours. Together with Ruter’s bus service from Bøleråsen and Vevelstadåsen, this provides a good offer that relieves existing departures
  • Line L22X Mysen-Oslo S (peak hour departures) – two departures in both directions will stop at Kolbotn and Vevelstad
  • A departure on line L2 is added to the Kolbotn-Oslo S stretch during the morning rush hours
  • Another departure on line L21 between Skøyen and Moss is added during the evening rush hours
  • Three more departures are added in the direction of Moss on line L21 during the morning peak in traffic
  • Three more departures are added in the direction of Oslo on line L21 during the afternoon peak hour

The improvement to the offer entails that there will be departures every half-hour during rush hour – in both directions – on line L21 between Stabekk and Moss. This will certainly be noticable for commuters to and from Moss, Vestby and Ås. Several departures for the counter current rush are important in order to handle increased commuting to Ås and Vestby. Kolbotn also receives more departures during peak hours. Several of the offers lessen the pressure on the local train between Ski and Stabekk (L2).

Considers double dekker carriages

The Norwegian Rail Directorate has also been commissioned to assess whether double dekker train sets is a good solution for the Østfold Rail line. This work is at full pelt, and the Directorate will look at costs for making the necessary adjustments to the infrastructure and workshops among other things. This work is expected to be completed in the autumn.

Better coverage on board

The mobile operators have built up network infrastructures along the Østfold Rail line. Bane NOR have provided coverage in the tunnels. The challenge has been that some of the trains used on the route have been too “dense” to allow the signals to penetrate into the carriages. Repeaters must therefore be installed on board these trains so that travelers can work, watch movies or surf the web during their journey.

It is not yet decided which trains that this equipment will be installed in first. It is primarily in the slightly older trains used in InterCity traffic on the Oslo-Halden route (R20) where there is a imminent need for equipment installed on board. These train sets will therefore be prominent on the priority list. F Flirt-trains that are servicing the Østfold Rail line between Oslo and Mysen and Oslo – Moss, already have this equipment installed on board.

The Work involving installing repeaters will not start until next year, but the Norwegian Rail Directorate will ask for tenders now.

 

© Department of Transport / #Norway Today

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