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Creative brainstorming at Norske tog’s information- and input meeting

A long list of wants and desires for the long-distance trains of the future were shared at Norske tog’s information- and input meeting about new long-distance trains.


-Thank you! I have been writing intensely, Øystein Risan, CEO of Norske tog AS said in his closing speech after a three-hour long speed-date session with 11 different stakeholders and user groups. The participants provided concrete input on which features to include when acquiring new long-distance trains.

Norske tog is planning to acquire up to 100 new long-distance trains to operate the Dovre Railway, the Sørland Railway, the Bergen Railway and the Nordland Railway. Some of the trains that currently service these lines are more than 40 years old. A renewal of the of the night train service is included in the procurement. It takes about five years to acquire new trains, and it is a demanding process. Norske tog are currently preparing a tender to acquire new long-distance trains. The information- and input meeting is a part of the preparations.

-We are smarter together. I like to think that I know what is best, but today I have learned how smart it is to ask others for help, said Risan.

"More à la carte!"

John-Ragnar Aarset, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and the Railway Director Kirsti Slotsvik drew up some minimum requirements for the new long-distance trains. Slotsvik also highlighted the importance of taking the estimated train traffic growth into account in the procurement process.

-The railway infrastructure is already well developed. Better services will contribute to a more efficient utilization, she said.

The train blogger, Sigrid Elsrud, emphasized train travel from a passenger’s perspective. The joy of travel - what is it like in Russia, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary – and Norway? she asked. Elsrud encouraged Norske tog to gather inspiration from train travel in other countries, and to look for variation in train experiences in the procurement process of new long-distances trains.

-Don’t always serve the cheap sandwich, serve more à la carte, Elsrud encouraged Norske tog.

A part of the climate cure

The climate perspective in train travel was brought up by several stakeholders.

-For each passenger choosing train travel over car or air travel, there is a significant climate benefit. Train travel is a part of the “climate cure”, Cathrine Elgin, CEO of Go-Ahead said.

Representatives from the other two train operators, Sverre Høven from SJ Norge and Arne Fosen from Vy Tog, also spoke at the meeting. All three operators commented on the urgency to acquire new long-distance trains. Today, the train operators are often dependent on relocating the passengers to a bus instead of using the train, as the train fleet is old and in frequent need of repair.

The three operators also agreed on another subject: Wifi! Having a good and stable Wi-Fi connection onboard is necessary to ensure a pleasant trip.

Promises a second seminar about long-distance trains

The tourism industry represented by Fjord Tours Group and Friends of the Earth Norway were also providing concrete input to Norske tog at the seminar. Magnhild Sørbotten from The Norwegian Association of Disabled, asked Norske tog to focus on universal design, when acquiring new long-distance trains, to ensure that anyone can have a good experience when travelling by train.

Ronald Lerøen from the Norwegian Railway Association and Rolf Ringdal from Norwegian Locomotive Driver's Association had one clear message; the train is also a workplace. It is important to make sure the train provides good working conditions.

-I am happy to see the enthusiasm and creativity you have shared today. I will keep in mind your ideas as we now begin the procurement process of new long-distance trains, Risan said.

He promises to invite stakeholders to second long-distance train seminar.

-We need to keep a frequent dialog with the stakeholders, both formally and informally, Risan concluded.

We all benefit from better services in train travel. As Sigrid said: we don’t all want the cheap sandwich.

The presentations from the meeting is available here.


Below you will find recordings of the presentations from the meeting. Please press cc at the bottom right in the recording to turn on english subtitles.

The Road ahead towards new long-distance trains, by Øystein Risan, CEO of Norske tog

Kick-off for long-distance trains, by John-Ragnar Aarset, Secretary of State, Ministry of Transport

    What does the future hold for long-distance trains? By Kirsti Slotsvik, Railway Director

    An experienced train passenger’s perspective, by Sigrid Elsrud,

    Need and desires for new long-distance trains – the train operator’s perspectives
    SJ by Sverre Høven, CEO

    Go-Ahead by Cathrine Elgin, CEO

    Vy Tog by Arne Fosen, Executive Vice President - To be uploaded

    Questions/Comments - train operators

    Train throughout the country and opportunities for tourism
    Fjord Tours Group by Vibeke Tvedt Raddum, Commercial Director

    The Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature by Holger Schlaupitz, Head of Department

    Need and desires for new long-distance trains - input from some user groups
    Handikapforbundet by Magnhild Sørbotten, Deputy Chair

    Norwegian Railway Association by Ronald Lerøen

    Norwegian Locomotive Driver's Association by Rolf Ringdal, Leader

    Q & As

    Summary by Øystein Risan

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