This is stated by both the Danish government’s Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht and the Danish train company DSB to Dagsavisen.
Open for discussion
– Several cross-border routes between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe are completely in line with my own wishes for an expansion of international train traffic, both in terms of day and night trains, says Engelbrecht.
– I have no doubt that the railway will play an important role in the transition to more climate-friendly transport, and night trains are also a very interesting alternative to medium-term flights, he continues.
– From the Danish side, we have supported several plans for night trains, and I am open to new discussions if there are inquiries about more night train routes.
At the same time, the Danish Minister of Transport points out that in principle this is something that can prevent us from establishing directly between Oslo and Copenhagen on commercial terms.
– It can happen completely without political interference, says Engelbrecht, who represents the Social Democratic Party.
– As soon as possible
Night train connections to other countries have been called for by many challenges here in Norway. Just before the Storting election, outgoing Minister of Transport Knut Arild Hareide (KrF) also signed up. Then he announced that he wanted a night train offer between Oslo and Copenhagen.
– Preliminary feedback from the Norwegian Railway Directorate indicates that it is very possible to establish a night train service between Oslo and Copenhagen. The directorate must achieve priority work with the necessary clarifications to get such an offer in place as soon as possible, says Hareide in a press release.
Already before 1 November, it must be available and finally recommend from the Norwegian Railway Directorate to the Ministry of Transport about this.
– It is quite clear that the night train offers have had its renaissance on several routes in Europe. The reason is that more and more people want to travel more climate-friendly, stated Hareide.
Dispute over directive
Now politicians and the railway employees’ organizations are arguing about what will be best for Norway with a view to a future railway offer, both domestically and abroad. At the heart of the dispute is the EU Railways Directive and the fourth railway package.
As Dagsavisen has previously written, the outgoing government has been an exception to the directive and this railway package in EEA agreements, while the parties that have so far been in opposition have been against. The same goes for the railway workers’ organizations.
They have all demanded that the matter be postponed in view of the new parliamentary majority, something that has taken place. Therefore, this case has not been removed from listening to things as it was notified to the EEA Committee to be considered on 24 September.
A unanimous decision in the EEA Committee, which includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the EU, must become part of EEA agreements before EU directives.
“The EU is ready to adopt the two drafts of joint committee decisions that contain the railway packages,” Ambassador Wolfgang Behrendt at the EU delegation in Norway was able to inform Dagsavisen ahead of the EEA committee meeting.
Lack of infrastructure
Several of the parties that are against the EU Railways Directive and the fourth railway package have at the same time stated very clearly that they want more foreign trains. Some believe that this is a contradiction, others are of another contradiction.
– Passenger trains have crossed the border for over a hundred years, points out union secretary Grethe Thorsen in the Norwegian Locomotivemen’s Association in a post in Dagsavisen.
She believes that it is not a lack of EU rules, but a lack of modern railway infrastructure such as more difficult international train connections from Norway, as well as prioritization of road over railway.
Business manager Sverre Sletten in the Swedish train company SJ, who would like to run several together between Norway and Sweden, is in the same in a recent interview with Dagsavisen.
– It is important that Norwegian communications facilitate that there is room for us on the track so that we arrive. Today, there is no place where it is driven as slowly as in Norway, Sletten says in this interview.
– Travel to our neighboring country
The Danish train company DSB also believes that the demand for you will develop many opportunities, and a bid for Oslo is open.
– Before the corona, we saw increasing demand from customers who wanted to come together to release buyers on the roads and contribute to more sustainable transport. I think it will focus on returning as everyday life in Denmark returns, says sustainability manager Aske Wieth-Knudsen to Dagsavisen.
He says that DSB is now continuously investigating opportunities for the train company’s customers to be able to travel together «on trips to our neighboring country and further out into the world».
-So we are not able to cooperate about us to Oslo if it is possible, says Wieth-Knudsen.
– In the high season we currently drive together to Hamburg, also at night. In the same way, we would like to collaborate with the upcoming Swedish night trains, which will be run through Denmark.
Offer from 1892
From the Danish Ministry of Transport, Dagsavisen is informed that as of 21 June this year, Snälltåget started running night trains between Stockholm, Malmö and Berlin, via Høje-Taastrup near Copenhagen.
From August next year, SJ, with DSB as a subcontractor, will run night trains between Stockholm and Hamburg. Sweden has been working on this connection since the Swedish government decided on such a train offer in July last year.
A train route between Oslo and Copenhagen will by no means be something completely new.
Of the book «Trains at all times», as Dagsavisen mentioned this summer, it appears that already in 1892 there was set up between the two towns.
From 1909 the trains went on to Germany. In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, there were periods of train services from Norway to Prague, Paris, Genoa, Milan and Moscow. Between 1985 and 1993, night passed between Oslo and Hamburg.
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