|Termini||Oslo Central Station
|Opening||2 January 1879|
|Owner||Norwegian National Rail Administration|
|Operator(s)||Norwegian State Railways
|Character||Freight and passenger|
|Rolling stock||Class 73 B-series (regional)
Class 69, Class 72 (local)
|Line length||171 km (106 mi)|
|Track length||241 km (150 mi)|
|No. of tracks||Single or double|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||15 kV 16⅔ Hz AC|
The Østfold Line (Norwegian: Østfoldbanen) is a standard gauge railway line that runs between Oslo, Norway, and the Swedish border at Kornsjø. Running through Follo and Østfold, it has both a Western and Eastern Line between Ski and Sarpsborg. The line opened in 1879 as the Smaalenene Line (Smaalenenebanen).
The line is 171 km (106 mi), while the Eastern Line is 54 km (34 mi). There is double track from Oslo S to Moss, and the whole line is electrified. The line has both freight and passenger trains, the latter operated by Norwegian State Railways. The Oslo Commuter Rail runs stopping trains to Ski, as well as services to Moss and Mysen. In addition, there are regional trains to Halden and to Gothenburg in Sweden. At Kornsjø, the line continues as the Norway/Vänern Line in Sweden.
Up to 222 trains traffic use the Østfold Line from Oslo S to Ski each day, with 98 continuing to Moss and 36 to Mysen. The line has double track between Oslo S and Moss, and single track southwards and on the Eastern Line. The line is served by both passenger and freight trains, though there is no regular traffic south of Rakkestad on the Eastern Line, since all through trains use the Western Line.
All passenger trains services are provided by Norges Statsbaner (NSB). As part of the Oslo Commuter Rail, NSB operates line 500 half-hour service, with additional trains during rush hour, from Oslo S to Ski, stopping at all stations. It continues west of Oslo S to Skøyen. In addition, line 550 is an hourly or bi-hourly service making limited stops until Ski, and continuing to Moss. It operates to Spikkestad west of Oslo. Line 560 operates hourly on the Eastern Line until Mysen, except during rush hour when services are extended to Rakkestad. Commuter trains are Class 69 and Class 72 electric multiple units.
Regional trains operate to Halden on an hourly basis. These trains only call at Ski before Moss, but stop on all station south of that. Three daily services continue to Gothenburg in Sweden. NSB used Class 73b units for the regional trains.
Passenger train services on the Østfold Line consist of regional trains and local trains. The regional trains run along the western branch between Oslo and Halden with three daily trains continuing to Gothenburg. There are three local train routes. Line 500 is the slowest of these and runs between Ski and Oslo stopping at every station. Line 550 runs from Moss and travels through Oslo before continuing to Spikkestad. Line 560 serves the Eastern branch of the line to Mysen, with peak services to Rakkestad. Both line 550 and 560 have only limited stops on the Ski-Oslo part of the journey.
As of year 2009 the railway is in a bad competition situation between Oslo-Gothenburg since it has only 3 departures per day, takes longer time and has higher fare than the buses. A lot of money has been spent on the road, but not much on the railway. The regional stretches Oslo-Fredrikstad and Trollhättan-Gothenburg has relatively many passengers, but few travel all the way.
On 2 January 1879, the first part of Østfoldbanen opened, from Kristiania to Halden. The section from Halden to the border of Sweden at Kornsjø was opened on 25 July. There it is connected to the Dalsland Line and the railway goes all the way to Gothenburg. The Eastern Branch was opened on 24 November 1882.
The Østfold Line from Oslo to Ski was upgraded to double track during the 1920s and 1930. It opened in four sections: Bekkelaget–Ljan on 1 June 1924, Oslo Ø–Bekkelaget on 15 May 1929, Ljan–Kolbotn on 15 December 1936, and Kolbotn–Ski on 14 May 1939. The railway was subsequently electrified; the first section, from Oslo Ø to Ljan, was finished in 1936, while the last section was opened in 1940.
Double track to Moss
NSB launched the first plans for double track from Ski to Moss during the 1950s, but this was rejected by parliament. In the 1980s, the plans were revitalized due to problems with regularity and old technical standards along the line. Especially at Vestby were the problems severe, and the initial plans called for new passing loops at Tveter and Kjenn, as well as making other station capable of simultaneous entry. However, this would not be sufficient to meet future needs, and in 1985 parliament passed the construction of a double track from Tveter to Kjenn, with completion in 1989.
Considerations by NSB were quickly made regarding a full double track from Ski to Moss, and in 1988 a prioritized building order was launched and passed by parliament. It called for the construction of Kambo Station and Ski–Tveter by 1993, and the section Kjenn–Moss in 1996. The first part of the double track, from Tveter to Vestby, was opened on 30 November 1989. By 1991, plans were changed so initial section would only be from Tveter to Rustad, to allow parallel construction of both the railway and the European Route E6. Due to disagreements with the Moss City Council on the route through the city, the double track would be cut off at Sandbukta, 1.5 km (0.93 mi) north of Moss.
The section Tveter–Kjenn was initially conceived as a pure capacity-increasing construction, and no attempts were made to create any speed possibilities above 130 km/h (81 mph). By 1992, NSB wanted the line to be built for 200 km/h (120 mph), and Tveter–Kjenn remains a bottleneck. However, the route could not be changed on the sections Ski–Tveter and Kambo–Sandbukta, so only the section Rustad–Smørbekk is capable of the higher speed limit. However, the former were built for 160 km/h (99 mph). The whole section cost NOK 1.6 billion, and was opened for service on 22 October 1996. It was the first railway line to permit such high speeds in Norway.
The final section to Moss has not been built, due to a disagreement between the National Rail Administration, and local politicians. The former feels that the tunnel represents a considerable extra cost over their preferred solution, and that local authorities should pay a major part of the investments costs. The Moss Tunnel has not been included in any current plans for future construction.
On 28 June 2000, a new 7 km (4.3 mi) section of double track was opened at Rygge Station. Including a full upgrade of the station, 21 road crossings were removed. The NOK 500 million project reduced travel time between Moss and Fredrikstad by seven minutes. Since 2007, Rygge Station has also served as an airport rail link via a shuttle bus to the nearby Moss Airport, Rygge.
The Follo Line is a planned 22.5-kilometre (14.0 mi) high-speed railway between Oslo and Ski. Running parallel to the Østfold Line, it will be designed for operation at speeds up to 200 km/h (120 mph). Terminal stations will be Oslo S and Ski, with a possible intermediate station at Kolbotn. Most of the railway will run in a tunnel. Construction is estimated to start in 2013, and may be completed by 2018. The Follo Line will increase capacity from twelve to forty trains per hour along the South Corridor, and will allow express and regional trains to decrease travel time from Ski to Oslo from twenty-two to eleven minutes.
Planning of the line started in the mid-1990s, and is similar to the Romerike Tunnel and the Asker Line that have created four tracks in the North and West Corridors from Oslo. There is no point to upgrading the Østfold Line south of Moss without building additional capacity to Ski, since it is the bottleneck of the whole Østfold Line. The line will result in up to eight commuter trains along the old line to Kolbotn, and four to Ski. In addition, freight trains will operate on the old track, while all passenger trains bound for south of Ski will use the new tracks.
The government has released plans for building double track on the single track section between Sandbukta and Såstad sometimes between 2010 and 2019. When these projects are completed, there will be continuous double track on the 75 km long section between Oslo and Haug, and four tracks between Oslo and Ski.
The 12 km section between Haug and Onsøy right north of Fredrikstad was originally planned to be built before the Sandbukta-Såstad part, as a part of Jernbaneverkets plan for double track "between" the cities, with the old single track sections inside the cities where the speed will be low due to stops. Later plans may include that the double track will not include Fredrikstad and instead run directly in direction Sarpsborg on its way to Halden. Therefore the Sandbukta-Såstad part will be built first while Jernbaneverket and the politicians decides where the future line will run.
As part of the ongoing evaluation of high-speed rail in Norway, there exist proposals for a full upgrade to the Østfold Line to allow high-speed trains to operate between Oslo and Gothenburg in Sweden. The existing track from Ski to Sandbukta would be part of the route, as would the Follo Line. However, an all-new railway would have to be built south of Moss (a part near Rygge is straight double track and could be kept). This would allow travel time to Gothenburg of 2 hours 20 minutes, as well as significant time reductions for the regional trains to Halden. The long term plan 2015-2040 reject any railway construction east of Halden.
- Norwegian National Rail Administration (2008). "Railway Statistics 2007" (pdf). Retrieved 2009-01-12.[dead link]
- Holom, Finn (1996). "Dobbeltspor Ski–Moss fullføres". På Sporet 88: 4–5.
- Warberg-Knoll, Helge (2008-04-01). "Ber Moss betale mer for jernbanetunnel" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- Norwegian National Rail Administration (2000-06-26). "Dobbeltspor åpnet forbi Rygge stasjon" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2009-01-12.[dead link]
- Norwegian National Rail Administration. "Rygge". Retrieved 2009-01-12.[dead link]
- Det Norske Veritas (2008-12-05). "Utredning nytt dobbelsport: Oslo S - Ski - Hovedrapport" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-12-11.[dead link]
- Norwegian National Rail Administration (2000-06-26). "Høyhastighetstog i Norge kan være lønnsomt" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2009-01-12.[dead link]
- Østfold Line (Østfoldbanen) NSB (English)
- Jernbaneverket's list of stations