Forest fires cause rail chaos in Norway

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Forest fires cause rail chaos in Norway
Helicopters take part in the firefighting operation over Nittedal. Photo: Tor Erik Schrøder / NTB scanpix

Train cancellations due to forest fire have caused major transport delays as Norwegian rail operator NSB struggles to find enough replacement buses.


The state-owned rail operator advised commuters in the area served by the Gjøvikbanen line to work from home on Monday where possible, news agency NTB reports.

The fire, which broke out on the  line between Sandermosen in Oslo and Hakadal on Sunday, is now under control, but services were still suspended on Monday.

“In the area south of Oslo city limits, where we are working, things are under control. We have two fire engines at the scene in control of extinguishing the fire,” Oslo emergency services lead coordinator Hans Kristian Steen told NTB early Monday morning.

Also on Sunday, at around 8pm, fire began to spread further north, in the Nittedal municipality. After a considerable blaze in the region, the flames were reported as being under control again on Monday.

“We had an extensive operation in Nittedal. There were fires on the same route at the same time in Oslo, so we were unable to get much support,” emergency services operator Mads Østebøvik told NTB.

The fires caused infrastructure agency Bane Nor to announce on Sunday that the Gjøvikbanen line was closed. The closure remained in place on Monday afternoon with an update expected at 9pm, according to Bane Nor’s website.

Replacement bus services have been brought in to take over from trains in a number of areas, but NSB has admitted it is struggling to provide adequate cover.

“We are already using 300 buses due to other planned works. We have been making calls all night in order to reallocate, but have not been as successful as we would have liked,” NSB’s head press officer Åge-Christoffer Lundeby told Dagbladet.

Lundeby said that long delays and waiting times could be expected, but that the situation would improve during the course of Monday. Nevertheless, those able to work from home would be better off avoiding a commute along the affected line, he said.

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