THE Norwegian Railway Directorate has announced that infrastructure manager Bane Nor will reopen the main line between Oslo and Trondheim, also known as the Dovre Line, on May 20.

This follows completion of major repairs to the 172m-long Randklev bridge at Ringebu, where two spans collapsed into the Gudbrandsdalslågen river on August 14 2023 after a bridge pier was washed out by flood water.

Bane Nor has used a crane capable of lifting 1350 tonnes to move the spans to dry land where they have been repaired. At the same time, a major programme has been undertaken to rebuild the bridge pier and improve flood protection measures.

The bridge spans are due to be lifted back into place at the end of this month. Following work to replace track, signalling and overhead electrification equipment, the Dovre Line will reopen to traffic on May 20.

The closure of the Dovre Line has had a major impact on north-south rail traffic in Norway, with particularly severe consequences for the rail freight sector.

Trains have been diverted over the non-electrified Røros Line between Hamar and Trondheim, with freight given priority. Despite this, the closure of the Dovre Line has seen rail freight traffic between the Eastern Norway and Trøndelag regions fall by around 50%.

The damaged bridge spans have been repaired on site. Photo Credit: Bane Nor

The Railway Directorate says that it is now important to win back freight traffic lost to road, given that one train can replace up to 30 lorries.

Allocating paths to freight as a priority has reduced capacity for passenger services on the Røros Line to only two trains in each direction per day, with the remainder replaced by buses.

Passenger trains on the Dovre Line have also been replaced by buses, first running from Lillehammer to Dombås and then from Fåvang to Ringebu.

SJ Norway will operate thorough passenger trains from Oslo to Trondheim from May 21, when the normal timetable will also be restored on the Røros Line. Overnight services will resume operating in both directions on the Dovre Line on May 22.

“Reopening the connection over the Gudbrandsdalslågen river has been our top priority,” says Bane Nor CEO, Mr Thor Gjermund Eriksen.

“The Dovre Line is a very important section of the network, and it has been a demanding time for both passengers and operators.”