NORWEGIAN infrastructure manager Bane Nor has announced that the Oslo - Ski Follo Line, which opened at the end of last year, but then had to be closed after a series of overheating incidents in the line’s 20km tunnel, will reopen fully on March 5.

The first passenger trains ran on the new railway on December 11. However, the line was closed temporarily on December 19 after smoke and heat were detected within the twin-bore tunnel and in a technical building in Ski. The line was closed following another overheating incident on December 23, with a third incident during testing on January 11.

Following a meeting between Bane Nor, the Norwegian Railway Directorate and train operator Vy on February 24, after what Bane Nor called “10 intense weeks of correcting errors and shortcomings,” the March 5 reopening date was announced.

A view inside the Blix Tunnel, the Nordic countries' longest. Photo credit: Nicola Tourrenc/Bane Nor

Bane Nor says that on the day of the meeting, more than 400 test journeys had been run through the Blix tunnel, with testing to continue with three pairs of coupled trains running at 200km/h until the reopening date. In the meantime, work continues on analysing the measurements taken during testing. Work has also been carried out inside the tunnel to rectify deficiencies and to make its systems more durable.

“There is a lot of data that is now being reviewed manually,” says Bane Nor CEO, Mr Gorm Frimannslund. “We have prioritised analysing the test results in the most important areas first, and these show satisfactory measurements. We will continue to go through the analysis until opening, and will continue to work on it after we open. We have carried out a risk analysis and the result shows that the remaining work is minor and does not affect train traffic.”

Frimannslund says that the Follo Line will close for a few days over Easter and in the summer for remaining work to be carried out. The opportunity will also be taken to connect track at Oslo Central to the Follo Line so through services from the Follo Line can be run to other stations without passengers needing to change trains.