High-speed test train derails in Norway

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Photo: Peder Gjersøe/Scanpix
13:12 CET+01:00
Norwegian rail operator NSB has postponed the introduction of a new type of high-speed train after a crash on a test run left five people injured on Wednesday morning.

NSB said there were five people on board the train when it derailed on a stretch of track between Nykirke and Holmstrand, south of Oslo. Having come off the rails, the train crashed into a telephone mast and a bank of rock.

All five were injured in the accident. Initial reports said a 56-year-old man had been seriously hurt, but his condition was described as stable by Ullevål hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
The train was travelling at a speed of around 100 kilometres per hour when it came off the tracks near Nykirke station, local newspaper Tønsbergs Blad reports. The cause of the derailment is not yet known.

”We’ve driven these trains and tested them for thousands of kilometres already. That’s why its important for us to discover what happened,” Myhre told newspaper VG.

The train was part of NSB's new Flirt (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) fleet, a model made by Swiss firm Stadler. The new trains had been scheduled to start running on regional and local networks across Norway from February 29th.
”The start date for when the new trains will become operational has been postponed indefinitely,” NSB spokesman Håkon Myhre told national broadcaster NRK after the accident.

NSB has ordered 50 Flirt trains from Stadler at a cost of 4.2 billion kroner ($730 million). The Norwegian operator also an option to buy a further 100 trains.

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Flirt trains can reach a maximum speed of 200 kilometres per hour.

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