A safe, secure railway
Railways are one of the safest forms of transport we have, and Norwegian railways are some of the safest in Europe. The Norwegian Railway Directorate monitors the overall efforts of the sector in respect of safety and emergency response so that the safety level is maintained and reinforced.
Each individual stakeholder is responsibility for safety as part of their own activities. At the same time, there are what are known as shared risks, and this is why interaction among stakeholders is fundamental in order to maintain control over all risks.
Railways is a system can be grouped as follows:
- Train operation, i.e. the running of passenger trains, freight trains or machinery. There are currently some ten rail companies that have licences to operate trains on the national rail network. There are also their suppliers:
- an enterprise offering rolling stock
- an enterprise offering maintenance of the rolling stock
- Administration of the railway infrastructure (tracks, rails, signalling systems, power supply, etc.) and properties (stations, terminals, etc.).
- Traffic management
Bane NOR holds ownership responsibility for administration of the state railway infrastructure and traffic management on it. This is achieved through extensive use of suppliers.
In Norway, only Bane NOR holds a safety certificate as a railway infrastructure administrator. There is also railway infrastructure which is not state-owned (significantly sidings), as well as museum and hobby-related activities which include railway infrastructure.
Coordination and interaction
The Norwegian Railway Directorate holds overall responsibility for ensuring that interaction works within the sector. The Norwegian Railway Directorate has delegated primary responsibility for coordinating safety and emergency response work to Bane NOR. Coordination requires active interaction and information exchange among stakeholders, including cooperation on systematic learning and improvement. Typically, this may include involvement in analyses of risks and emergency response, contingency plans and exercises, and following up unwanted incidents.
This interaction is rooted in the agreement on track access between Bane NOR and the train companies.
Mutually agreed risk profile
Coordination and interaction assume that there is a mutually agreed risk profile for which Bane NOR is responsible.
This risk profile must reflect the type of hazard and location and be based on risk assessment and incidents. It must be up to date, mutually agreed and accessible for railway sector stakeholders for their work with safety and emergency response.
Norwegian Railway Authority, SJT
SJT administers laws and regulations in respect of railways and follows up compliance with these through licences, certificates and inspections.
In addition, the sector is subject to inspections from a number of other supervisory authorities such as the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) with subordinate supervisory authorities (local fire services, electrical safety inspection), as well as authorities working with information security and protection.
The Norwegian Railway Directorate’s responsibilities must not overlap the roles and responsibilities of the supervisory authorities. Clarifications and specifications will be issued if necessary.
Accident Investigation Board Norway (SHT)
Following unforeseen incidents, all stakeholders themselves are responsible for investigating what has happened and learning from it, including joint learning in relation to shared risks.
The Accident Investigation Board Norway (SHT) is an investigative commission for transport accidents, which works fully independently with a view to preventing transport accidents by reviewing causes and other conditions that may be of significance.
The Norwegian Railway Directorate’s responsibilities
The Norwegian Railway Directorate holds overall responsibility for the overall safety level of the sector.
General coordination of safety and emergency response is followed up through the Directorate’s work with
- General long-term development of train services and competitive situation for rail traffic
- Agreements on the purchase of rail transport services
- Agreements on the purchase of infrastructure services for operation and maintenance and investment in the rail network
If necessary, the Ministry of Transport and Communications is assisted in relation to its corporate governance of railway companies.