NORWAY’s Railway Directorate has delayed the competitive tender for operation of Traffic Package 5, which comprises regional and regional express trains from Oslo and Bratsberg Line services, by a year.

The directorate now plans to award the contract in early 2024 for operation to commence in December 2025. It says the delay to the award of Traffic Package 4 by a year due to the overall uncertainty in the market caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a corresponding shift in schedule for Traffic Package 5.

The directorate says the additional time will prevent bidders from working on two packages at any one time with the Traffic Package 4 contract due to be awarded in early 2022. It also wants to avoid changing operator while work to complete track-doubling between Drammen and Kobbervikdalen remains underway. This work is due to be completed in 2025.

Traffic Package 5 will comprise regional and regional express services from Oslo on the Dovre Line to Lillehammer, and Eidsvoll - Kongsberg trains on the Kongsvinger Line.

Tendering for Traffic Package 4 commenced earlier this month. The deadline for bids is August 31.