Due to increasing demand and a lack of investment in previous years, Norway’s railway infrastructure is reaching its limits. The National Transport Plan approved by the Norwegian parliament for the period 2018-2029 therefore provides for historically high levels of investment in the railway network, with a total of NOK 319 billion or nearly CHF 37 billion earmarked.
Major expansion of the offering for rail passengers
The focus here is mainly on the more densely inhabited areas of Norway, hence the offering for rail passengers in and between the major cities is being expanded significantly, most importantly in the so-called inner-city areas of eastern Norway, but also in Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger. Bane NOR, a state-run company that is responsible for the national railway infrastructure, is placing particular emphasis on international cooperation and technological progress, namely the expansion of modern information technologies and digitization. Great emphasis is being placed on these areas in order to secure instruments for the intelligent and optimized operation and the maintenance of infrastructures in all transport sectors.
Standardization and modernization of railway systems
One important building block in this regard is the introduction of the ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System), with the aim of renewing and standardizing Norway’s old and disparate systems and thus simplifying connections to the railway network in the rest of Europe. Nordlandsbahn and Ofotbahn are among the first stretches that are set to undergo such modernization, with the launch of the new systems scheduled for 2022/2023. NOK 1.7 billion per year are earmarked specifically for the expansion of the ERTMS which, according to Bane NOR, will not only help with the transportation of passengers and goods, but also represents a significant step in development towards ATO (Automatic Train Operation) and UTO (Unmanned Train Operation).
Promising market opportunities for foreign companies
Aside from the plans for investment, the Norwegian market offers promising opportunities for foreign companies thanks to fair market conditions and transparent competition. Small and medium-sized companies in particular can benefit from this secure market environment. Solid, practically oriented expertise will be in ever greater demand in future, and that also applies in Norway, which is characterized by large providers of engineering services, since the country is now focusing more on the implementation of innovative rail applications.
Projects and current procurements are published on the Bane NOR website. Here you can find a project overview.