Norwegian language For Members

Buss for tog? The words to help you navigate public transport in Norway

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Buss for tog? The words to help you navigate public transport in Norway
Here's you go to guide for transport vocab in Norway. Pictured is a metro train in Oslo. Photo by Nan Wisanmongkol on Unsplash

Commuting to work is hardly the most exciting of endeavours. When the train is running late and the PA announcements are in a language you don’t speak, it can go from mild annoyance to major frustration.


Types of transport 

The variety of transport on offer in Norway is almost as wide as the natural scenery the country boasts. Depending on where you are, you can expect anything from ferry and tram networks down to a bus, which might only come a couple of times a day if you’re in a remote village. 

Most of Norway’s cities are served by bus (buss, plural busser) and train (tog, plural tog). Oslo has its own tram (trikk, plural trikker) network and a metro line called the T-bane. However, you can also choose to get to other towns or islands in the Oslofjord by ferry (ferge/ferje, plural ferger). On the west coast, Bergen has its own light rail system (Bybane). 

The majority of cities in Norway have phased out traditional tickets for e-tickets and apps. However, many places – such as Oslo still offer travellers the option of a reisekort (travel card), which is a plastic card that can be topped up as you use it. 

When taking the train anywhere in Norway, you will typically have the choice between a local train (lokaltog), regional train (regiontog) and long distance train (fjerntog). 

Differentiating these from one another is actually quite easily. This is because train departures that are local, regional and long-distance are marked with the first letter of the train type. For example, in Bergen, the train between the city and Arna is designated the L4 (L for lokaltog). 

Regional trains, therefore, carry the R designation and long destination trains begin with F – with the most famous being the F4 between Oslo and Bergen.

Common announcements

Perhaps the most common announcement will be dørene lukkes (the doors are closing). For many, this will be synonymous with taking the T-bane in Oslo. 

On distance trains, loudspeaker announcements often encourage passengers not å etterlate personlige eiendeler uten oppsyn (leave personal belongings unattended). Such items are risikerer å bli fjernet (at risk of being removed). 


Regular announcements will let you know the neste stasjon/stop (the next station or stop). As your train reaches the end of your journey, you may hear the announcer say dette er siste holdeplass/ dette er siste stop (this is the last stop). On a bus, the display may read neste stop and then the name of the stop. 

Delays and problems 

Like most countries, services in Norway are often disrupted by forsinkelser (delays) and changes (endringer) to the schedule. The key phrase to look, or listen, out for as a result is tog innstilt og togtrafikken påvirket (train cancelled and rail services affected). 

Some of the most common issues are a signal failure (signalfeil), a problem with one of the carriages (vogner), or the more vague “technical failure” (teknisk feil). Weekends are likely to see delays, cancellations and a change to the schedule thanks to sporarbeid (track maintenance). 

If you pay attention, there is normally a bit more information on the issue and how serious it may be. The announcement may specify whether the hold-up is due to a tidligere signalfeil (earlier signal failure) or an ongoing, extensive signal failure (omfattende signalfeil). Such a failure could cause omfattende forsinkelser og innstilte tog (extensive delays and cancelled trains). 


Industrial disputes may also lead to a strike (streik), which can cause chaos for transport. 

And finally, there’s the weather: trafikk over hele landet (traffic across the country) can be disrupted by værforhold (weather conditions) such as sterke vinder (strong winds), or perhaps only flere strekninger (several sections) of the line will be affected. In such instances, a buss for tog (bus for train replacement) may be in service until normal services are gjenopptatt (resumed).  


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