Is it sign of times.

..or are the railroads at the ropes?. .

Early evening southbound Signature run at Otta

Siganture run with Bm73

Bm 93 at regional service at Otta

Bm 70 at Hamar.

GargoNet el 16.2212 at Dombås
It is quite clear that the railroads in Scandinavia or Europe are in trouble. The service is less dence and fewer and fewer travels by trains.

The railroads have done a lot of investments but the railroads have seen some organisational changes aswell. Some ten years ago the, railroads were run as govermental authorities. Dealing from everything from constructions of the lines to every aspects of operations, from Ic-runs to locals and all kinds of freights. Today conducting to EU norms the traffic have been deregulated, at least as it appears to be so, the MoW is run by an govermental agencies and the fright and passenger operations has been devided in two or even more corporations, state or privately owned. Trouble is that this has not been able to offewr much improvement to their customers, only confusions.

This has not been able to able to improve services. The result of this has been fewer runs that has not been attractive to the passangers, which has resulted something that is close to a evil circle, less trains, which becomes to a nonalternative to customers. This is while the bus travel booms and the roads are filled with trucks.

I guess that the answer to this is quite simple, more frequent trains with reduced ticket fares. Many of the excuses for the hight ticket prices are compared to a total price of travel by car, like taxes, service and gas, but most of the costs are paid wheter the traveler choose the drive his car or not. Not to forget the fact the car driver has a possibility to add three more passangers without affecting the price of the travel. But traveling by train, boat, airplane or bus for four persons usually means four times higher price. This is pretty much unacceptable in many respects, if railroad services will have a future.

This was quite clear as I visited Norway in early September 2004. Between the mainline between Oslo and Trondheim there was only 4 daytime pairs of passanger trains and a nighttrain. The daytime runs orignally called as Inter City service, now changed in to Signatures, offers a far cry from the former German slogan when they introduced the IC services, "Jede klasse, Jede Stunde", which means all classes, all hours.

The freight seemed to serve only a few customers but the performance was sleek and allmost totally dominated by container loads. The only exception was a few pulpwood and woodchip runs on the Röros line, which is now more or less a branch line.

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