The EU and the International Energy Agency (IEA) will have tripling of high-speed railways by 2050, some important measures including climate policy. Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia, Latvia and more and more countries around the world have light rail.
Now Norway must also get on the field.
In Sweden, high-speed railways are part of it “Climate policy action plan”, but in Norway they were overlooked in Klimakur 2030 and Klimaplan 2021–2030, which have a bit of a «base thinking». Before transport, one only looks at how to reduce emissions for each type of vehicle, but lacks an overall view.
The possibilities for transferred traffic from planes, trailers and cars to electric trains thus ended up in the «blind zone» of the Norwegian plans. But a competitive railway will make a major contribution to the electrification of transport and associated greenhouse gas cuts in Norway.
The more that needs to be electrified, the more important is energy efficiency. Pure power is not an inexhaustible source. The railway is much more energy efficient and capacity strength and other modes of transport. Transferred traffic to the railway will be able to save 3 TWh annually for current light rail routes such as Oslo – Bergen / Haugesund / Stavanger and Oslo – Trondheim / Ålesund. A national network much more.
In comparison, the wind power plant on Haramsøya produces 0.1 TWh and the Alta power plant 0.7 TWh annually. Railways also provide less area encroachment than motorways, less noise, fewer accidents and are free of emissions from asphalt and tire wear.
High-speed railways in Norway will have a large market base. We fly 10 times more domestic yet the regular European; as if we were 54 million inhabitants. Oslo – Bergen and Oslo – Trondheim are among the busiest flights in world over ground distances below 50 mil.
It was 940,000 flights Paris-Lyon and 730,000 Madrid-Seville before they opened light rail there. Air traffic over current light rail routes in Norway is several times greater. In 2019, there were just over 3 million air passengers Oslo – Trondheim / Ålesund and close to 5 million Oslo – Bergen / Haugesund / Stavanger.
To, from and internally in northern Norway there are 4.3 million domestic flights, Oslo – Stockholm 1.4 million and Oslo – Copenhagen 1.5 million. In addition, we travel second most by car per capita in Europe, much of this over long distances.
Environmentally friendly, fast and efficient freight transport by rail also has great potential.
70 percent of Norwegians prefer light rail over aircraft, cf. an interview survey Kantar did for Bane NOR this summer. So the people want it. For good reasons: Light rail in two and a half hours between Oslo and the larger cities is simply faster and more comfortable than planes. On business trips you can spend time on board for work. International chooses 80 percent to fly at train times of 2 and a half hours or better.
Many stations on the high-speed lines are possible due to heavy traffic over short distances in Norway. With lanes of just 41-50 miles, high-speed trains reach 8-10 stops with a travel time of two and a half hours.
In 2019, there were almost 80 flights daily in each direction between Western and Eastern Norway and almost 50 between Oslo and Trondheim, Ålesund, Molde. Transferred air traffic, car traffic and new travel opportunities will give a big mark with more departures in time. Then the stop pattern can be varied and around 20 stations connected to the track. In Japan, for example. the Tokyo – Osaka light rail train 17 stations on a stretch of 51.5 miles.
Light rail will help to develop the communities along the runways, while flying, on the other hand, does not stop along the way and seems difficult to centralize. If you want to fly from Sauda or Odda to Oslo, you must first drive 2-3 hours in the opposite direction to Stavanger, Haugesund or Bergen and get a total journey of 4-6 hours.
With high-speed trains you will spend less than 2 hours to Oslo, 35 minutes Odda – Bergen, 26 minutes Sauda – Haugesund and 41 minutes Sauda – Stavanger. Sel and Dovre in Gudbrandsdalen, and many other municipalities in District Norway, are currently experiencing population decline. Travel times from e.g. Eight in about 1 time and 15 minutes to Oslo, Trondheim and Ålesund, half an hour to Lillehammer, offers new opportunities.
Distance disadvantages in Norway are reduced. Shipping today takes longer and makes up a larger part of the cost of goods here than in another country. The difficult competitiveness. New railways reduce shipping time from Western Norway and Central Norway to 5-6 hours to Oslo and overnight to the continent, from Northern Norway 12-14 hours to Oslo and 24 hours a day to Central Europe. The loading capacity per train on new tracks with gentle inclines will correspond to 70 average loaded trailers. Reduced shipping time and increased cargo capacity will provide new markings such as fresh fish and reduced shipping costs.
The closest negotiating partners to the government, SV, MDG and Rødt, all have clear goals for high-speed railways in their programs. It also has V, and KrF with a somewhat rounder wording.
The Center Party is in the program to «travel fast and between parts of the country» and that «the train must be able to compete with planes and road traffic to be an attractive transport offer between large cities, parts of the country and abroad». Just like the purpose of high-speed lines in a multi-use concept for long-distance, regional and freight traffic.
The tracks will strengthen the climate and district policy, which the Labor Party had as priorities in the election campaign.
“The government will pursue an offensive railway policy for the future” says the Hurdal platforms. SV, Rødt and MDG were united behind proposals for high-speed railways for the national transport plan before the election. If they promote it as a demand after the election, it should be a good opportunity for a joint effort on an important issue, for the climate and for Norway.
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