InterCity: transforming Eastern Norway
11 April 2014 • Author(s): Anne Siri Haugen, InterCity Project Director, Jernbaneverket
Shorter journey times, improved regularity and more frequent departures are the main objectives of Norway’s InterCity development, which comprises modern double-tracks between Oslo and the towns of Lillehammer, Skien and Halden. In total, the project consists of 230km of double-tracks, various constructions and 21 stations. The Norwegian National Transport Plan stipulates a planning budget of €25 million over the next four years, and the total investment cost is approximately €12.5 billion.
The InterCity area is Norway’s most densely populated region. To solve growing transporta – tion demands, both for passengers and freight, the fixed strategy since the early-1990s has been to replace the mostly single-track network with modern double-tracks. Some sections have been built during this period, and some are currently under construction.
Population is on the increase and this trend is expected to continue. This strengthens the basis for focusing on modern rail transport: building sufficient road capacity to meet transport demands between regional centres is possible, but not in and out of Oslo. Giving priority to the InterCity network also contributes towards enlarging employment catchment areas, and relieves pressure on the region around the capital.
By passing the National Transport Plan, which is a framework plan for the 2014-2023 period, the Norwegian parliament commissioned specific network development and the basis for long-term service improvement in the InterCity area as follows: by 2024, double-tracks shall be completed between Oslo and Hamar, Tønsberg and just north of Fredrikstad. By 2026, Sarpsborg shall be reached, and some sections north of Hamar and south of Tønsberg completed to improve capacity. The aim is to complete the entire network by 2030.