The big railway-debate

Snorre Erichsen Skjevrak Juniorkonsulent

Norway is on the verge of a railway revolution. A packed Symposium restaurant got to witness high temperatures as Alstom invited to a railway duel during the annual “Arendalsweek”.

Norway has historically been among the least developed railway nations in Europe, but thanks to Hitler, we have railways to Bodø. That time is soon over. New technology, improved infrastructure and competition could make the train a true competitor to air planes. There are however, still many challenges ahead.. The question is, what needs to be done to make people and cargo shift towards the railway in the future?

Invited to discuss this issue was Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Minister of transportation, Sverre Myrli, spokesperson on transportation affairs in the Labour party, Geir Isaksen, head of the NSB Group and Carl Åge Bjørgan, head of Alstom in Norway. The vice presidents of the two largest youth parties, Norwegian Labour Youth and Young Conservatives also participated in the debate.

Geir Isaksen opened the debate by telling the audience about NSBs transformation from a train monopolist to a freely competitive mobility company. Bjørgan, underlined the importance of exploiting new technology and infrastructure to create better mobility. The message was clear: Future societies must plan for the entire chain of transportation, both walking, bicycles, trains and air planes.

The duel between Solvik-Olsen and Myrli sparked up some high temperatures. Still, they both agreed that much is yet to be done before Norway has a railway system that matches our common ambitions.