Bane Nor reports challenges due to snow
Bane Nor, the Norwegian railway infrastructure company, reports major challenges in maintaining its services due to extreme snowfall. The Vestfold Line remains operational, but the Arendals Line has been shut down. Additionally, there are currently no trains operating between Kristiansand and Oslo. This suspension of service includes the F5 line, which runs the entire section from Oslo S to Kristiansand. Bane Nor attributes these disruptions to the severe weather conditions, including substantial snowfall and strong winds, which have made it difficult for crews to clear the tracks.
Sørlandsbanen prioritized, Arendalsbanen closed
Bane Nor has prioritized keeping the Sørlandsbanen open, directing efforts towards this critical route, while the Arendalsbanen remains closed until further notice. This decision was made to concentrate resources on clearing snow and maintaining essential services on the Sørlandsbanen. The company has commenced urgent vegetation clearance to remove snow-laden bushes and trees that have fallen over power lines, particularly impacting the Arendalsbanen.
LKAB and Trafikverket on the Iron Ore Line restoration
Swedish mining company LKAB and the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) have announced extended forecasts for the restoration of the Iron Ore Line, a key freight route between Kiruna and Narvik. The initial forecast for resuming traffic was set for January 9, but this has now been extended to the end of January. The restoration work, including changing sleepers and repairing damages caused by the derailment in Vassijaure, has been progressing well, despite challenges posed by the extremely cold temperatures.
Impact on LKAB’s operations
LKAB has expressed concern over the extended disruption, citing substantial revenue losses estimated at around SEK 100 million a day. The company has also seen an increase in the stockpile of pellets at their facilities, with about 1 million tons already stored outdoors. The prolonged stoppage means that storage capacity is being stretched, and LKAB is in dialogue with the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten to ensure proper management of this situation.
Go-Ahead Nordic and Vy Tåg announce cancellations
Go-Ahead Nordic has cancelled all trains on the Sørlandsbanen between Oslo and Kristiansand for January 4, as well as some services between Stavanger and Kristiansand. Similarly, Vy Tåg has cancelled night trains between Stockholm and Luleå, as well as all regional trains north of Umeå until Thursday. These cancellations are due to the ongoing severe weather conditions, making it unsafe to operate these services.
The railway companies have emphasized the safety of passengers and staff as their top priority. They continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as conditions evolve. The extreme weather has not only disrupted travel plans but also highlighted the challenges of maintaining rail infrastructure in such harsh conditions.