The Vestfold line between Larvik and Porsgrunn is closed until further notice. The Norwegian Railway Inspectorate says Bane Nor has operated illegally there for several days.
Bane Nor has no comment on the accusations of illegal operation. Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB
Published: 04.12.2023 21:05 | Updated: 04/12/2023 22:55
– They have not documented that they drive safely. They have been operating illegally in recent days, Eirik Reiersøl-Johnsen, director of the Norwegian Railway Authority, told NTB on Monday evening.
The Vestfold line between Larvik and Porsgrunn was closed around 5pm on Monday. Then Bane Nor wrote that it was for security reasons. In an update at 8 p.m., they wrote that the section will be closed until Tuesday at 12 p.m.
On Monday evening, the director of the Norwegian Railway Inspectorate says that Bane Nor has lacked documentation on parts of the section for a long time.
– They received a temporary permit which they have been driving for quite some time. They have an obligation to document that safety has been taken care of, they have not done that, says Reiersøl-Johnsen.
Daily fines of over half a million
He further says that Bane Nor has received daily fines for two months and that the amount has reached NOK 610,000.
The director says that he is surprised that Bane Nor has not been able to document safe operation.
– It’s a shame that this is the only way to get them to listen, adds Reiersøl-Johnsen.
The section of the Vestfold Line opened for traffic in 2018, and Bane Nor was then given a temporary permit to run trains pending final documentation.
– Simply embarrassing
The renewal has been extended several times, most recently in September, when the permit was extended on 30 November. Then the Norwegian Railway Inspectorate chose to put its foot down, which is fully understood by Bane Nor’s executive vice president for development, Bettina Sandvin.
– We fully understand that the Norwegian Railway Authority is now putting its foot down. We are now working to get the necessary documentation in place as quickly as possible, says Sandvin in one press release.
Bane Nor has no comment on the accusations of illegal operation, but says the situation is regrettable.
– This is a very regrettable situation that we must get cleaned up as quickly as possible. We apologize to the travelers and to Vy that we had to close. This is simply embarrassing, says Sandvin to NTB.
Vy has implemented alternative transport, and there is now a bus between Larvik and Skien.
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