The beginning of a new era

Thanks to more money for maintenance, Jernbaneverket now has the opportunity to think along new lines when planning. Entire sections can now be renewed for faster and greater benefits. 2015 was the first big year of maintenance in modern times.

Rail replacement on the Dovre Line: Worn out old rails may result in slow running and delays. Old rails are being replaced with new ones so that speed can be increased to 160 km/h. Photo: Øystein Grue/JernbaneverketExisting systems were renewed at a cost of around NOK 2.5 billion in 2015. Just a couple of years previously NOK 800 million was invested in similar initiatives. For the first time in several decades it was now possible to reduce the maintenance backlog. Plans were also laid for initiatives in years to come, and activities escalated in 2015.

2015 was defined by Jernbaneverket as the first big year of maintenance. The backlog of maintenance on the rail network was estimated to amount to just over NOK 17 billion. The aim is to continue to make inroads into this backlog over the next few years while also maintaining a good level of maintenance for all new and renewed infrastructure.

Extensive maintenance plan

In the summer of 2015, the infrastructure division submitted a maintenance plan for the period until 2027. This plan is 687 pages long and has formed the basis for the maintenance proposal in the forthcoming National Transport Plan period (2018-2029). This maintenance plan outlines measures for dealing with the entire backlog by 2030, and this has also been adopted as the transport agencies’ proposal in their essential document for the next National Transport Plan.

The areas and line units at the Infrastructure division were involved extensively in work on the long-term plan to ensure that overall priorities are correct for the railway. The objective has been to unite professional bodies at Jernbaneverket behind a nationwide plan for the organisation of maintenance over the next few years. The increase in budget funding for maintenance has made it possible to plan more systematically. Large proportions of the maintenance budgets to date have been spent on “firefighting work” in order to keep the railway running. More systematic maintenance will reduce the need for emergency maintenance measures as the standard of the rail network improves.

The measures

2015 heralded the start of the initiative. The introduction of the new European signaling system ERTMS, necessary renewal of the catenary systems which, for a number of main routes, are approaching their anticipated service life, and cleaning of the ballast are the biggest renewal and maintenence tasks to be carried out with regard to the existing rail network. Ballast is contaminated over time, and there is a major need to replace it while also improving line drainage systems.

Here is the list of major measures that commenced in 2015:

  • Replacement of the signalling systems (ERTMS)
  • Renewal of catenary systems
  • Cleaning of ballast and preparations for this
  • Point switches, replacement
  • Substructure measures
  • Bridge renewals and replacements
  • Machine renewals
  • Rails, laying of new ones
  • Sleepers, replacement
  • Road barrier systems, renewals

The introduction of the new collective European signalling system ERTMS will eliminate the signalling fault types which currently affect the railway. More cleaning of ballast and better drainage will result in tracks that are considerably more robust, withstanding wear and tear and climate impact.

Work carried out in 2015 included the following:

  • ERTMS was implemented on the practice section of the Østfold Line, Eastern Line.
  • A range of point switches, rails and sleepers were replaced, and extensive adjustment of track and point switches was carried out.
  • The catenaries on the Egersund–Sandnes section of the Sørland Line were renewed.
  • Ballast has been cleaned on sections of the Gjøvik, Dovre and Østfold Lines.
  • Further ballast cleaning has been prepared. This work includes drainage, maintenance of culverts, protection of adjacent terrain and construction of new cable conduits along the track.
  • Reinforcement of the ballast bed, extension of embankments, rock protection, larger culverts and landslide prevention were carried out a number of places, most extensively on the Bergen and Dovre Lines.
  • Renewal and repair measures of a greater and lesser extent took place on 83 bridges.

 A new bridge is put in place on the Røros Line. Photo: Øystein Grue/Jernbaneverket