For the first time, the agreement covers a four-year period, allocating a budget of around NKr 30bn ($US 3.7bn) for the operation and maintenance of the network in 2018-2022, including NKr 7.26bn for 2018.

“This is a positive and important outcome of the rail reform programme,” Enger says. “Now we expect Bane Nor to get more railway for the money.”

“We will no longer have to wait for the state budget to be approved by parliament to find out what we can spend on operations and maintenance in the year ahead,” Frimannslund says. “This will enable us to plan more effectively and enter into long-term deals with contractors. More predictability means lower prices.”