The contract begins on December 13 2020 and encompasses the operation of inter-city and overnight services between Oslo and Bergen, as well as regional services from Bergen to Arna, Voss and Myrdal.

The contract will run for nine years with an optional two-year extension. Bids will be scored up to 60% for quality and 40% for cost and bidders will be expected to continue using existing rolling stock. The deadline for submission of offers is August 1.

Traffic Package 3 encompasses 40 stations and 2.9 million passengers were carried on these services in 2017. The current timetable comprises 91 trains on weekdays, 70 on Saturdays and 43 on Sundays.

The Railway Directorate says it expects the winning bidder to attract more passengers without increased public funding and improve customer satisfaction. It also wants to see an efficient and market-orientated commercial approach, good cooperation with regional authorities and improved integration with other modes.

Oslo - Bergen inter-city services are currently operated by Norwegian State Railways (NSB) on a commercial basis, while overnight and regional services at the western end of the route receive a public subsidy.

In October Go-Ahead was selected for Traffic Package 1, which includes long-distance and regional services on the Oslo - Kristiansand - Stavanger Sørlandet Line, together with the branch to Arendal.

The concession for Traffic Package 2, which encompasses the Trondheim - Bodø Nordland line, the Meråker Line and regional services in the Trondheim area, is due to be awarded later this year.