Modernization of the Vestfold line

The Vestfold line is being modernized in order to reduce travel times and increase rail capacity. The goal is to secure reliable train services and connect cities and towns along the Vestfold line.

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The Vestfold line was first built as a narrow gauge railway in 1881, with the horse and cart as its biggest competitor. Since then, the line has seen a gauge conversion, electrification and steady growth in passenger traffic. Today, the main competitor is the car, and the line is in need of modernization in order to expand services without incurring more delays. To attract travelers, the railway needs to shorten travel times, increase train frequency, improve punctuality, and have centrally located stations.

The Norwegian National Transport Plan for 2018-2029 states that one of the priorities for the railway system is to establish a continuous double track between Oslo and Tønsberg by the end of 2024, and a completed double track all the way to Skien in 2032.

Modernization of the Vestfold line started in 1993. Since then, approximately 39 kilometres of double-track high-speed railway has been built in several segments. The first section at Skoger was finished in 1995. A 13-kilometre section through Sande in the northern part of Vestfold was completed in 2001. The process paused for a few years, pending public funding. An 8-kilometre section between Barkåker and Tønsberg opened in 2011. A 14-kilometre section between Holm and Nykirke, including an innovative station placed inside the mountain Holmestrandfjellet in Holmestrand, opened in 2016.

When modernization of the entire Vestfold line is complete, travel time between Tønsberg and Oslo will be reduced to from 75 minutes to 60 minutes. Travel time between Skien and Oslo will be reduced from 2 hours and 45 minutes to approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Ongoing project

Farriseidet-Porsgrunn  Farriseidet-Porsgrunn. Photo by: Jarle Foss
A new section between Farriseidet and Porsgrunn, in the southern part of Vestfold and Telemark, is under construction. Construction started in September 2012. Planned opening is on the 23 of September 2018.

The project comprises a 22.5-kilometre double-track section, designed for speeds up to 250 km/h, as well as seven separate tunnels, totaling 15 kilometres, and ten bridges, totaling 1.5 kilometres. This new line alone will reduce travel time between Larvik and Porsgrunn to 12 minutes from 32 minutes.

Contact information:
Project Manager Lars André Tangerås  Phone: +47 916 75 735
Head of Contract and Stratgy Gunnar Gjellan Phone + 47 481 31 172

Upcoming projects

Drammen-Kobbervikdalen Drammen stasjon. Illustration: Norconsult
Bane NOR is planning the construction of 10 kilometres of double track from Drammen to Kobbervikdalen and between Drammen and Gulskogen, as part of the ongoing modernization of the Vestfold line.

Drammen station and Gulskogen station will be upgraded with both new platforms and tracks. The project is complex, with extensive earthworks and a multidisciplinary technical railway. The project has to be done through a number of demanding construction phases.

The project includes 10 kilometres of double track from Drammen to Kobbervikdalen, a 7-kilometre rock tunnel, a 275-metre long concrete tunnel, a branch line towards Nybyen and a new 160-metre bridge that will cross European route E18 at Kobbervikdalen.

One or more contracts on preparatory works will be announced in the spring of 2018, and the works are planned to begin in September of the same year. Pre-qualification for an EPC contract on the concrete tunnel and construction pit will be announced in April 2018.The contract on the rock tunnel will be announced in September 2018. Both EPC contracts are expected to be signed in August 2019. Pre-qualification for the implementation contract on Drammen station, Gulskogen station and the double track between them will be announced in May 2019 and signed in April 2020.

Contact information:
Project Manager Hanne Anette Stormo Phone: + 47 913 25 084
Head of Contract and Stratgy Gunnar Gjellan Phone + 47 481 31 172

Nykirke-Barkåker New station at Skoppum. Illustration: Vianova/Aas-Jakobsen
Bane NOR is planning to build 14 kilometres of double track from Nykirke to Barkåker north of Tønsberg, as part of the ongoing modernization of the Vestfold line. The new line consist of two bridges, four tunnels totaling 5.3 kilometres, and a new modern station west of Skoppum. The new station is planned with a ample parking space for both cars and bikes. There will be a good connection to the existing road network for all road user groups. Changeover to alternative transportation modes has been facilitated for with both bus and taxi stops close to the main entrance.

Preparatory works are to start in autumn 2018. Pre-qualification for civil works contracts and one railway system contract will be announced in the autumn of 2018. A tender conference is planned for the spring of 2019. The new section is planned to come into operation by the end of 2024.

Contact Information:
Project Manager Anders Dahl Johansen Phone + 47 922 94 698
Head of Contract and Stratgy Gunnar Gjellan Phone + 47 481 31 172

Bane NOR is planning to build 40 kilometers of double track from Tønsberg to Larvik, to complete the modernization of the Vestfold line. Travel time will be reduced by 40 minutes when this last section is completed in 2032.

The municipal planning process is challenging in Tønsberg, Sandefjord and Larvik. The placement of both the line and the stations in and between the cities are the subject of major discussions.

Municipal planning is ongoing, but is divided into two sub-plans, one for the route between Tønsberg and Stokke, and one for the route from Stokke to Larvik. Work on a zoning plan is planned to begin in 2019 for Stokke-Larvik, and in 2020 for Tønsberg-Stokke. Preparatory construction works are planned to begin in 2025.