Cooperation creates a better transport offering

The transport offering involving trains in Norway is the result of a partnership involving many stakeholders. Various private and state train operators run the trains, and the Norwegian Railway Authority monitors the transport offering to ensure that it is safe and secure for passengers and the surrounding areas.

Bane NOR SF managers and improves railway infrastructure on behalf of the state and is responsible for traffic management (train management). Traffic management involves deciding which trains are to be allowed to run, where and when. 

The railway infrastructure consists of:

  • the track
  • the power supply to the trains 
  • signalling systems
  • radio communication for traffic management
  • the stations
  • freight terminals.
  • technical facilities for rail traffic

Freight traffic on the railway

Many stakeholders are involved in freight transport on the railway. The actual customers are the people who want a product to be transported from one location to another. Forwarding agents and senders of groupage traffic gather together freight that will be heading in the same direction in containers or other load carriers and ensure that transportation by road, rail or sea takes place.

Freight train operators provide trains that can transport the freight and drive the trains between various terminals. In Norway, freight transport by rail is a commercial enterprise, i.e. it takes place with no public funding. At present, the following freight train operators have licences to operate freight trains in Norway: 

Passenger traffic on the railway

Passenger transport on the railway is an efficient form of transport when many people have to travel medium and long distances. At the same time, it is an expensive form of transport; particularly into and out of the large towns, where the number of passengers varies extensively throughout the day. Therefore, many trains are used for just a few hours throughout the course of the day and have very high capital costs per passenger. As with other public transport, train operators are unable to operate such passenger services under commercial conditions. Nevertheless, the state considers it so important to transport passengers by train (instead of them using their cars) that it pays subsidies to train operators for most of the passenger transport by train. Passenger services purchased by the public sector in this way are regulated by service agreements concluded between the Norwegian Railway Directorate and the relevant operators.

Some of the passenger services on the railway can be run with no public subsidies. This is currently applicable to the Flytoget feeder service to Oslo Airport and the long-distance trains between Oslo and Stockholm. 

The following passenger transport operators have licences to operate passenger trains in Norway: 

Long-term development and control

The Norwegian Railway Directorate is responsible for proposing long-term development of the rail transport offering in Norway. This includes development of infrastructure, passenger rolling stock, expertise and other input factors necessary to produce a train offering.

The Norwegian Railway Directorate is also responsible for the Norwegian Railway Museum and the Norwegian Railway Academy. In addition, the Norwegian Railway Directorate must coordinate the sector, conclude agreements with Bane NOR SF on the management and improvement of the rail network and service agreements with passenger service operators.

Monitoring of safety and competition

The Norwegian Railway Authority manages regulations for the rail sector and carries out inspections to ensure that railway activities are implemented safely and in compliance with applicable regulations. The Norwegian Railway Authority grants operators licences to operate railway activities in Norway. The authority also monitors the railway market in order to ensure that the market is efficient, with healthy competition and non-discriminatory terms.

Learning from unwanted incidents

The Accident Investigation Board Norway is a public investigation board with a mandate to investigate situations that may be of significance to the prevention of future transport accidents.