Role and social mission

The Norwegian Railway Directorate must develop railways as part of the overall transport system both now and in the future. The Directorate must ensure that the railway sector is operated in as sufficient, safe and eco-friendly manner as possible for the benefit of passengers, freight transport and society. We must also define and purchase services in respect of infrastructure, passenger services and rolling stock.

Rail transport offering of the future

The Norwegian Railway Directorate presents investigations of future train services as a basis for political decisions. One of our most important deliverables is the proposal for a National Transport Plan (NTP), which is presented for political discussion every four years.

When the Parliament of Norway has discussed the NTP, we prepare the specific action programme for the railway sector for the coming period, relating to both train services and infrastructure. This action programme forms a basis for the agreements concluded with Bane NOR SF and passenger service operators.

Rail services for passengers

The Norwegian Railway Directorate concludes service agreements with passenger service operators relating to the provision of passenger services within defined service packages for periods of 8 to 10 years. These service agreements are concluded in accordance with the rules on public procurement on the basis of competitive tendering. Train operators lease rolling stock (train sets) from the state owned rolling stock company.

The first competitive service agreements will be effective from December 2018. Up until then, and during a transitional period, the trains for a number of the service packages will be operated by NSB AS in accordance with a direct purchase agreement with the Directorate.

The Norwegian Railway Directorate does not hold direct responsibility for freight services or passenger services operated on commercial basis, i.e. without public procurement (operating subsidies).

Administration and improvement of infrastructure

The Norwegian Railway Directorate concludes agreements with Bane NOR SF within a number of fields, and all state allocations to infrastructure are distributed via two agreements:

  • The agreement on availability of current infrastructure (operation and maintenance), in order to guarantee daily services.
  • The agreements on planning, project design and development of new railway infrastructure, in order to guarantee the railway transport offering in the future.

Coordination of the railway sector

The Norwegian Railway Directorate has particular responsibility for ensuring appropriate interaction among stakeholders in the railway sector. We help to ensure that infrastructure, train services and rolling stock are developed and used in a manner which makes the transport offering as good as possible. We also hold overall responsibility for safety and emergency response in the railway sector.

The Norwegian Railway Directorate assists the Ministry of Transport and Communications with statements and specialist advice, and we hold independent responsibility for taking up cases on our own initiative.

Expertise and historical heritage

We hold particular responsibility for ensuring that there is sufficient expertise in the sector in the future to ensure that the transport offering is as good as possible, along with responsibility for operation of the Norwegian Railway Academy as a competence centre for the railway sector in Norway.

The Railway Directive also manages and runs the Norwegian Railway Museum, which continues the historical heritage of the railway in Norway.