THREE BIDDERS have submitted tenders for a 10-year contract to operate inter-city services on the Oslo - Gjøvik route from June 2006. Final bids were presented to the Ministry of Transport & Communications on February 7.

The 123 km Gjøvikbanen is one of three pilot projects for the introduction of competition to Norwegian rails. The other two are the Sørlandsbanen between Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger and the Oslo - Bergen main line. The Gjøvikbanen is currently served by 10 trains per day; in 2003 NSB operated 1·4 million train-km and carried 1·3 million passengers.

Six groups expressed interest when the competition began in April 2004. However, only NSB Anbud AS, DSB Gjøvikbanen AS and Connex Tog AS submitted formal bids; the other three were Arriva, Keolis and a joint venture of Narvik-based Ofotbanen with FirstGroup.

Transport Minister Torild Skogsholm hopes to select a preferred bidder before the end of this year, so that the concessionaire can take over with effect from the June 2006 timetable change. In parallel, the government will introduce a bill into Stortinget to amend the existing railway legislation.

  • On February 1 the Director General of Norwegian infrastructure authority Steinar Killi unveiled Jernbaneverket’s 10-year investment programme which envisages spending NKr26·4bn in 2005-15.

    Priority projects include completing the four-tracking of Lysaker - Asker (RG 10.03 p650), further double-tracking on the Østfold, Vestfold and Dovre main lines, completion of the new Stavanger freight terminal at Ganddal, resignalling between Mosjøen and Bødo, and completion of the national GSM-R installation programme. JBV Nett commissioned the second phase of its GSM-R roll-out in December, bringing the operational coverage to 1500 km or 40% of the network.