The contracts include services on Norway’s Bergen Line following the opening of the 7.8km Ulriken tunnel; regional and overnight services in Sweden’s Värmland and Norrland regions; and the launch of light rail in the city of Lund.
Vy has begun operation of services on Norway’s Bergen Line, under a contract for Traffic Package 3 awarded in December 2019. This includes services on the Oslo S - Bergen, Bergen - Voss - Myrdal and Bergen - Arna passenger routes. The contract will run until December 2029, with the option for a two year extension.
Vy has introduced new ‘Pluss’ passenger coaches on the line and has purchased a fleet of six-berth couchette coaches for its Oslo - Bergen night train services, which are currently undergoing refurbishment in Germany.
Vy is also cooperating with Hordaland regional transport authority Skyss which will allow Skyss tickets to be used on regional rail services.
The trains will operate through the new 7.8km-long Ulriken tunnel, which also opened on December 13. The new double-track tunnel, which runs parallel to the original tunnel, which opened in 1964, will double capacity compared with its older counterpart.
The original tunnel will be renovated by Azvi, Spain, from February 2021, and will reopen in June 2023 to supplement the new tunnel. Work will include water and frost protection, a new substructure and a new drainage system, as well as a new railway bridge and tunnel portal near Fløen.
In addition, Vy will increase the frequency of services on the line from December 2021, including:
- an increase to six daily departures for long-distance services, at two-hour intervals
- a fixed hourly frequency for Bergen - Voss regional services
- more services between Bergen and Myrdal, and
- a fixed half-hourly frequency for Bergen - Arna services.
Vy has also begun operation of its overnight service in Norrland, Sweden, which rus from Stockholm to Luleå and Kiruna, and across the border to Narvik, Norway. The service is Vy’s first in Sweden under its own brand name, and two are offered per day. Under the contract, Vy will also provide daytime cross-border services between Luleå and Narvik. The contract to operate the service will run for four years, with the possibility of a two-year extension.
Vy also plans to expand its Norrtåg regional services in Norrland, including the reintroduction of regular passenger services on the 165km Haparanda Line from April 1 after 29 years, following a SKr 50m ($US 5.82m) revitalisation of the line.
Vy will initially operate two return trips per day on weekdays from Luleå to Haparanda via Boden, as well as another Umeå - Boden - Haparanda return service. Vy has operated Norrtåg services since 2010.
In addition, Vy has begun operating services in the Swedish region of Värmland under a renewed 10-year contract which covers services on the Fryksdal Railway between Torsby and Karlstad, and the Värmland Railway between Charlottenberg and Kristinehamn.
Under the new contract, Vy also plans to offer cross-border services to Norway from April 2021, providing that coronavirus-related border restrictions ease before then. The services will include a weekday service to Kongsvinger, and a weekend service to Oslo.
Lund light rail
Vy has also begun operation of light rail services on the newly opened 5.5km line in Lund, Sweden. The line runs between Lund city centre and the EES Research Centre, with a 15 minute end-to-end journey time.
Services will operate between 05.00 and 24.00 Sunday - Thursday, and between 05.00 and 02.00 on Friday and Saturdays, with a headway of seven minutes during peak periods and 20 minutes off-peak. The services will operate alongside Vy’s existing bus services in the city.
An interview Mr Arne Fosen, head of Vy’s passenger train division, was published in the August 2020 edition of IRJ and can be read here.