Inquiry advises against new railway in northern Norway

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Inquiry advises against new railway in northern Norway
Here is what you need to know about Norway's Bergen Line railway. Pictured is a train in Oslo. Photo by Magnus Engø on Unsplash

A new line finally linking the city of Tromsø in northern Norway to the country's rail network would cost too much and have negative effects on the environment, reindeer and the rights of Sami people, the country's railway directorate has concluded.


The government launched the inquiry to investigate the viability of the North Norway Railway (Nord-Norgebanen) as part of the Hurdal agreement on which the coalition government of the Labour Party and Centre Party was formed

It appointed the Norwegian Railway Directorate to carry out an inquiry after taking power at the end of 2021.

"A new northern Norway railway would have very negative effects when it comes to nature and the environment, greenhouse gas emissions and reindeer herding and the rights of indigenous people," Madeleine Kristiansen, the project manager who ran the investigation, said when the directorate submitted its report on Wednesday.

According to Knut Sletta, the director of Norway's railways, any carbon emissions saved by reducing the number of flights to and from Tromsø would be far outweighed by that emitted during the project's construction.

"Although rail traffic is in itself climate and environmentally friendly, the calculations show that the emissions in the construction phase would be so large that they would never be able to be recovered in the analysis phase of 75 years," he said.

According to the directorate, the new project would cost 281 billion kroner if it had a spur line to Harstad, and only 234 billion kroner if it only went to Tromsø, costs which it judged would be vastly outweighed by any economic benefits.


Norway's Transport Minister, Jon-Ivar Nygård, said on Wednesday it was too early to comment on the conclusions of the report.

"I cannot go into more detail about the content of the investigations and how the government is dealing with it now. We will familiarise ourselves with the reports and take them with us further in our work," he said.

The Centre Party has long campaigned for the line to be built, and in the Hurdal agreement, the two parties agreed to "carry out a concept selection study with the aim of realising the development of the Nord-Norgebanen".


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