Portal:Trains/Selected article/Week 13, 2009

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NSB Class 70 unit to Vestfold and the Airport Express Train at Asker.

The Asker Line (Norwegian: Askerbanen) is a 9.5-kilometre (5.9 mi) railway line between Asker and Sandvika in Norway. The line runs along the same corridor as the Drammen Line, offering increased capacity, speed and regularity on the rail network west of Oslo. The first part opened in 2005, and in 2011 an extension will open from Sandvika to Lysaker. An extension to Skøyen in Oslo will perhaps be built after 2020. Most of the railway is in tunnel and is dimensioned for 160 km/h (99 mph) running. The entire railway is electrified at 15 kV 16 23 Hz AC. The first section cost 3.7 billion kr, while the second is budgeted at NOK 2.7 billion. The purpose of the new line is to allow regional and express trains to run directly between Asker, Sandvika and Lysaker, without being slowed and delayed by commuter trains that make frequent stops at intermediate stations. The Asker Line will improve regularity, and capacity will increase from 12 to 26 trains per hour in each direction. Travel time from Asker to Skøyen will be reduced from 20 to 13 minutes. The line has received criticism for not being a true high-speed line, and for Lysaker Station not being in compliance with accessibility requirements. Similar parallel, high-speed lines have been or will be built northeast and southeast of Oslo. The line is built, owned and maintained by the Norwegian National Rail Administration. At Sandvika, the line connects to the Drammen Line, which runs to Oslo Central Station in the east. At Asker, the line connects to the Spikkestad and Drammen Lines; the latter connects to the Sørland- and Vestfold Line at Drammen. The line is served by Norges Statsbaner with regional trains to Vestfold, Buskerud and Telemark, and the express trains along the Sørland Line and the Bergen Line; in addition, the Airport Express Train operates from Asker to Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. During night, freight trains also use the line.

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