Norwegian State Railways (1883–1996)

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For the current company, see Norwegian State Railways.
Norwegian State Railways
Government agency
Industry Rail transport
Fate Demerger
Successor Norwegian National Rail Administration
Norwegian State Railways
Norwegian Railway Inspectorate
Founded 1883
Defunct December 1, 1996 (1996-12-01)
Headquarters Oslo, Norway
Area served
Norway
Number of employees
12,000 (1996)
Parent Ministry of Transport and Communications

The Norwegian State Railways (Norwegian: Norges Statsbaner or NSB) was a state-owned railway company that operated most of the railway network in Norway. The government agency/directorate[1] was created in 1883[2] to oversee the construction and operation of all state-owned railways in Norway. On 1 December 1996, it was demerged to create the infrastructure operator Norwegian National Rail Administration, the train operator Norwegian State Railways and the Norwegian Railway Inspectorate. The name was taken by the train operator, although the infrastructure operator remained a government agency and is the legal successor.

History[edit]

Norway's first railway, the Trunk Line, was opened in 1854. It was built and run as a private company, although with some government ownership.[2] This was followed by two wholly state-owned railways, the narrow-gauge Hamar–Grundset Line in 1861 and the standard-gauge Kongsvinger Line in 1862, with the latter branching from the Trunk Line at Lillestrøm. Several more where built over the next two decades.[2] In 1871 the national railway was connected to the Swedish rail infrastructure.[3]

By the 1880s, the pace of railway construction ground to a halt due to economic and political problems.[2] In 1883, the Norwegian State Railways was established and railway construction started up again. The Norwegian State Railways also bought up many private railways to integrate them into the national railway network. In 1920 the Bratsberg Line was acquired[4] by the government. The Trunk Line was first formally acquired in 1926, despite having formed a central part of the network for half a century.[5]

World War Two[edit]

In January 1942 NSB gave "green light for putting POWs into construction work of the Nordland Line. The POWs had to perform slave labor under conditions that were inhuman, and [Bjørn] Westlie [author or 2015 book, Fangene som forsvant ("the prisoners that disappeared")] shows that NSB was fully informed about the prisoners situation", according to a 2015 Klassekampen article.[6]

Of the 100 000 Soviet POWs that came to Norway, 13 000 were put to work on the Nordland Line.[7] Over 1000 died as a result of [the] cold,[7] starvation and exhaustion (out of a total of 13 700 dead "foreign POWs, political prisoners and forced laborers" in Norway between 1941 and 1945).[8]

"NSB transported Jews to the outward shipping from the Oslo harbor (...) the NSB employees did not know what fate awaited the Jews. Naturally they understood that the Jews would be shipped out of the country by force, because the train went to Oslo harbor".[9] Furthermore Westlie points to "dilemmas [that] NSB's employees found themselves in when the NSB leadership cooperated with the Germans".[9]

"[Bjarne] Vik was to be made the scapegoat for the cooperation with the Germans, writes Westlie, even though many of the darkest chapters are from the period before Vik" became the chief, according to Halvor Hegtun.[10]

There was no investigation of the agencies [or NSB] after the war.[11] However, the former chief Vik was not to be prosecuted if he "did not again work for NSB".[10]

After World War Two[edit]

In 1952 a plan of electrifying operations was adopted.[12] In 1970 the Dovre Line was electried.[12] In 2002 the freight operations were split to the subsidiary CargoNet, and the maintenance department became[citation needed] Mantena.

Reactions to World War Two activities[edit]

"The transportation of Jews that were to be deported and the use of POWs on the Nordland Line is a dark chapter of NSB's history ", according to kommunikasjonssjef Åge-Christoffer Lundeby in NSB in 2015.[13] Later Bjørn Westlie said about the extermination of Norwegian Jews: "what else than co-responsible was NSB ? For me, NSB's use of POWs and this deportation of Jews must be viewed as one: namely, that NSB thereby became an agency that participated in Hitler's violence against these two groups, who were the nazism's main enemies. The fact that the pertinent NSB leaders received awards after the war, confirms NSB's and others' desire to conceal this".[9]

Director-generals[edit]

The title was changed from director-general to chief executive officer in the late 1980s.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ PolSys, Norwegian State Railways
  2. ^ a b c d Historisk oversikt, Norwegian National Rail Administration (Norwegian)
  3. ^ Kongsvingerbanen
  4. ^ Bratsbergbanen
  5. ^ Hovedbanen
  6. ^ NSBs skammelige historie
  7. ^ a b Halvor Hegtun (2015-02-27). NSB sa ja til slavedrift - Disse russerfangene ble tvunget til å bygge Nordlandsbanen. Så skulle de glemmes. Aftenposten A-magasinet. p. 26. 
  8. ^ "Fleire bøker viser korleis offentlege etatar og private selskap tente på den tyske okkupasjonen av Noreg: Slavane som bygde Noreg". Klassekampen. 2015-02-27. p. 20. 
  9. ^ a b c Bjørn Westlie (2015–0306). "Å fortie historien". Klassekampen. p. 19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ a b Halvor Hegtun (2015-02-27). NSB sa ja til slavedrift - Disse russerfangene ble tvunget til å bygge Nordlandsbanen. Så skulle de glemmes. Aftenposten A-magasinet. p. 31. 
  11. ^ Guri Kulås (2015-02-27). "Fleire bøker viser korleis offentlege etatar og private selskap tente på den tyske okkupasjonen av Noreg: Slavane som bygde Noreg". Klassekampen. p. 21. 
  12. ^ a b jernbane
  13. ^ Halvor Hegtun (2015-02-27). NSB sa ja til slavedrift - Disse russerfangene ble tvunget til å bygge Nordlandsbanen. Så skulle de glemmes. Aftenposten A-magasinet. p. 32.