Is Oslo Central one of ‘Europe’s worst’ rail stations?

Oslo Central Station has fared poorly in a European-wide ranking of train stations in major cities, coming in at a lowly 45th place out of 50.

Is Oslo Central one of 'Europe's worst' rail stations?
Photo: Miradortigre /Creative Commons

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) examined Europe's 50 largest railway stations and ranked them in terms of passenger experience, according to a mix of factors ranging from how crowded platforms are and accessibility to the number of destinations and cleanliness.

The judges crowned St. Pancras International in London as the best railway station in Europe. Switzerland's Zurich followed and Leipzig Central Station in Germany took the third spot.

The European Railway Station Index features mainly northern European railway stations in the top 10. Roma Termini and Milan Centrale are the only two southern European railway stations among the best ranked stations and Moscow Kazansky is the only eastern European railway station in the top 10.

Here is the ranking of the top 10 stations.

For Oslo S, however, the scores were not entirely impressive.

The station, the only Norwegian terminal included in the comparison, was 45th out of the 50 stations on the list.

Although its 19 platforms are comparable in number to stations figuring at the top end of the analysis (Roma Termini has 32, for example, and Zurich 26), the number of passengers per platform at Oslo S is actually lower at 2.9, compared to 5.9 in Zurich and 4.6 in Rome.

So where did it go wrong for the Norwegian station to end up with such a poor ranking?

Oslo Central loses points for accessibility. Very few of the stations included in the study are sub-standard on this point.

“Wheelchairs are accessible to platforms, but there are difficulties with boarding the trains due to platform heights/type of train. This is solved with elevators inside the trains or mobile wheelchair ramps,” CCC states in the report.

Additionally, some platforms only have ramp and conveyor belt access, while others are connected by elevators only, the summary notes.

Oslo posts a mediocre score for its number of shops and restaurants, with 24 and 21 of each respectively not making a favourable comparison with most peer stations. Additionally, the Norwegian station loses marks for its lack of a first class lounge.

It scored 100 percent for cleanliness, however.

The station’s signage is described as “80 percent clear”.

“Signs are provided for the whole station, but that does not mean that it is easy to find toilets etc. There are no signs that tells you where to find a specific shop/restaurant,” CCC writes.

With an overall score of 61, CCC puts Oslo S 45th out of the 50 stations in its study.

Is Oslo Central Station as bad is the report would suggest? What experiences have you had at the busy Norwegian station? Let us know – we'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Why Norway is set to lose top spot on UN development ranking

Norway regularly takes the top spot on the United Nations Human Development Index, but a new parameter is set to change that.

Why Norway is set to lose top spot on UN development ranking
File photo: AFP

The UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) ranks countries on how well they provide conditions for people to reach their potential, using parameters including life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling and gross national income.

Norway is top of the 2020 HDI, a ranking not uncommon for the Nordic nation.

The report, which comes from the UN Development programme (UNDP), ranks countries in relation to progress on the UN’s global development targets. Like it was this year, Norway is regularly ranked the world’s top nation by the UN.

Despite this consistency, Norway can no longer call itself the ‘world’s best country’ based on the ranking, national broadcaster NRK writes.

A new addition to the ranking will include the costs to nature and the environment of gross national product. That will make CO2 admissions and individual carbon footprints part of the broader assessment of development.

According to the UNDP, emissions are a new and experimental lens through which to view development. But the inclusion of climate and the environment gives the index a different look.

When CO2 emissions and resource consumption are factored in, Norway finds itself in a much more moderate 16th place on the UN development ranking.

The adjusted list is yet to be published by the UN, but the Norwegian national broadcaster has been informed of the new positions, NRK states in the report.

Norway’s CO2 emissions of 8.3 tonnes per resident are among the 30 worst values of included countries, and it also fares poorly in a measurement of material resource use per resident, resulting in a lower overall position.

“Norway loses its top placing because of our high imprint on the planet. This is an import debate and it’s time we had it,” Bård Vegar Solhjell, director of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), told NRK.

READ ALSO: Norway ranked world's top nation for 'human development'