The budget includes NKr 16.1bn for investment in new infrastructure and NKr 1.2bn for investment planning. Ongoing projects set to benefit include:

  • Dovre Line track doubling: Construction work on the 13km Venjar - Eidsvoll - Langset section is continuing while work will start on the 1.8km Kleverud - Sørli section in 2021. Planning is also underway on the 14km Sørli - Åkersvika section of the Oslo - Lillehammer line.
  • Vestfold Line track doubling: Construction will continue on the 10km Drammen - Kobbervikdalen and 14km Nykirke - Barkåker sections of the Oslo - Tønsberg line.
  • Østfold Line: work will continue on the 22.5km Oslo - Ski Follo Line project, which is Norway’s largest transport infrastructure project and includes a new 19km tunnel and will support speeds of up to 250km/h. Work is also underway on 10km of track doubling on the existing line between Sandbukta, Moss and Såstad.
  • Bergen: Following the opening of the Ulriken tunnel in December, work will commence to renew the existing tunnel, which when completed will provide a double-track line between Bergen and Arna.

The budget allocation means that planning of the Ringeriks line E16 joint road and rail project between Høgkastet and Hønefoss will conclude in 2021. The budget also supports continuing electrification of infrastructure in Trøndelag, specifically the Meråker line between Hell and the Norway-Sweden border at Storlien, the Leangen - Stavne line, and the Trønder line between Trondheim and Værnes which will commence next year. The rollout of ERTMS will also continue, with ETCS set to be activated on the Nordlands line and Gjøvik line in 2022.

“We are very satisfied that the government continues the large-scale investment in railways,” says Mr Gorm Frimannslund, CEO of infrastructure manager Bane NOR. “It is important for train passengers and for freight transport that we can keep up the pressure in all our ongoing construction projects, including Intercity on the Vestfold line, the Østfold line and the Dovre line towards Hamar.”

The government has set aside NKr 4.6bn to purchase passenger transport services from operators in 2021. However, with operators continuing to suffer from lower than expected revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, an additional NKr 650m is available to make up for the shortfall. The government has also allocated NKr 90m towards a three-year scheme, which commenced in 2020, to encourage road freight to switch to rail.


Bane Nor will receive NKr 9.18bn for operation and maintenance of the railway network in 2021, an increase of NKr 500m, with NKr 400m less allocated to planning.

However, the NKr 2.7bn allocated towards infrastructure renewal was criticised. The infrastructure manager says that in order to maintain the status quo, NKr 3.5bn is required annually. Under the current proposal the current maintenance backlog will increase to NKr 23bn by the end of 2021.

“Renewal is absolutely necessary to deliver a train offer in line with the expectations of passengers, train companies and the authorities,” Frimannslund says. “The infrastructure has a very high traffic load, especially in central eastern Norway, and errors here have a major negative impact on the punctuality of the rest of the railway network.”

Bane Nor introduced a new company structure on October 1 in order to better tackle the infrastructure maintenance backlog. The company is now split into four divisions: Development, Operations and Technology, Customer and Market, and Property.

The infrastructure manager estimates that it can save NKr 500m annually by streamlining administrative office activities. It has also reduced the number of train control centres from eight to four, which will later be reduced to three. In addition, the ownership of Spordrift, which Bane Nor previously assigned to execute infrastructure operation and maintenance contracts, will transfer to the Ministry of Transport from January 1 2021, and the company will compete for these contracts, potentially reducing costs.

A major reorganisation of the company, affecting 3400 employees, and combining operation of the railway into a single body is also expected to offer savings along with the benefits offered by digitisation of processes.