Passenger train w/250 pax stops in burning snow shed
Hi Guys --

Just woke up (way too early - it is 5:30am local time here - I am still jet lagged) in Minnesota on the first day of my summer vacation, and checked the web editions of the newspapers at home.

Seems like the Norwegian state railroads had a pretty scary experience yesterday.A passenger train from Oslo to Bergen, carrying about 250 passengers, lost overhead catenary power as it was a couple of hundred yards from entering a long snow shed on the Bergen line across the mountains yesterday morning.

As the power was lost, and the train started slowing down, the engineer also spotted that the far end of the snow shed was on fire. He put the train into emergency, managed to stop just short of the flames (instead of having the train roll to a halt inside the area that was on fire, and they immediately started evacuating people off the rear end of the train.

Took a while to get firefighters into the area, which is in a fairly remote area - only vacation cabins nearby, no one living there normally. But it looks like they got everybody off (minus their luggage) before the rest of the shed and the train (consisting of an 8 car passenger EMU set) was consumed by the flames.

There is a video of the burning shed on this web page, which also shows the train inside the shed:

Burned out train set:
[Image: _SCC-AIPub_A-l_pet_1499162g.jpg]

[Image: _SCC-AIPub_A-l_pet_1499673x.jpg]

Now that was a lucky escape.

Just a few twists in the fabric of time and the whole world could have been reading all about a train disaster in Norway with up to 250 people killed or injured.

A close call thats for sure. Brother Grim took a swipe and missed.


Doesnt everybody get up at 5.30 everyday?? 35
Fake It till you Make It, then Fake It some More
Oups.... that was lucky, and it looks like that a modern electrical train can also burn very well, this one is a write off for sure... What type of train was it?


PS: Did I understand that passengers are critisizing the NSB for some reason, what is it that they're moaning about, even though their lives were just saved by an alert train driver?
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torikoos Wrote:PS: Did I understand that passengers are critisizing the NSB for some reason, what is it that they're moaning about, even though their lives were just saved by an alert train driver?

The train driver did everything correct and by the book, according to several news articles, and he has been referred to as a geuine hero. The complaints mostly have to do with the lack of information from NSB to the passengers, and the fact that they were stranded high up in the mountains (Hallingsskeid station is located 1110 meters above sea level) for three hours before they were transported out. We Norwegians are a strange people, we like to bitch about almost everything, kinda sad really. Not like the older lady at the end of the video, she was cool: -Everbody is alive, we were up there for only a couple of hours, and we were served chocolate bisquits and coffee by a nice tourist hostess, so things couldn't have been better concidering what just happened. Now that's a positive attitude! Big Grin

torikoos Wrote:Oups.... that was lucky, and it looks like that a modern electrical train can also burn very well, this one is a write off for sure... What type of train was it?

A double set (two four car sets) of Type 73 electric motor units (

torikoos Wrote:PS: Did I understand that passengers are critisizing the NSB for some reason, what is it that they're moaning about, even though their lives were just saved by an alert train driver?

Lack of information. Some people seemingly doesn't understand the difference between waiting at a station platform for a late train, and having just evacuated a train way up in the mountains, with the crew too busy with other things (like getting a lady in a wheel chair off the train and to safety) to run around and offer probably outdated information to passengers one by one.

Sadly as a species we have a capacity to bitch and moan about being incovenienced even though we have just escaped with our lives.

The lady you mentioned appears to be the only one interviewed who is taking the glass half full approach. She knows she has just had a brush with death and that things are abnormal, but she appreciates that some people are doing their best and offering care and compassion.

On the subject of doing one's best I would just like to offer the following example of bad leadership and self interest.
During the Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires here in Victoria two years ago, on February 7, 2009, which killed 173 people, injured 5000 with about 25,000 made homeless, it emerged that the female Police Commisioner Christine Nixon had visited the emergency command centre without making any real command contibution, left the centre for an appointment with her biographer, and her hair dresser and then gone out to dinner with her husband and friends, and then gone home.

Now as the Chief she knew full well just how dangerous the weather was going to be that day, the Premier had even helped issue a special warning on the TV news, yet she maintained her 'hands off approach' and kept to her planned day.

Needless to say, she quit as the Chief and later she had to resign from the re-building commission in disgrace.

Bloody silly cow. Talk about a screwed up set of priorities.

That day was an absolute bitch of the first order, scorchingly hot 45 degrees celcius with a blast furnace like North wind which was howling and moaning.
Fake It till you Make It, then Fake It some More
The ability to bitch and moan about anything and everything is definitely NOT limited to Norwegians. Heck, in the US, we call 911 when we get an order messed up at the fast food drive-thru. Icon_lol

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Just an update on this one.

The traffic safety board investigation has now published the preliminary accident report, and have concluded that the likely cause of the fire in the snow shed was track work that was finished about an hour and a half before the passenger train arrived at the snow shed.

Some welding and grinding was done on the track. The grinding was done without without a spark arrester (I think that would be the translation), and this likely caused hot metal embers to get lodged in the woodwork of the snow shed, causing it to start burning after the track crew left the area, a little before the passenger train arrived. The fire cause the overhead catenary through the snow shed to fail just as the train was entering the far end of snow shed.

The railroad track authority is criticized for lacking safety routines for track work inside wooden snow sheds. The traffic safety board also level criticism against the railroad infrastructure authority and NSB (Norwegian State Railroads) for not having enough crews, engines and pumps available to get water tank cars and pumps into the area fast, and for poor communication with the on site fire and rescue personell.

The timeline of the outside fire and rescue efforts, as described by the preliminary report:

10:06 am - passenger train 62 (the Bergen-Oslo morning express) enters Hallingskeid station (where the train is not scheduled to stop), loses overhead catenary power and the engineer spots that the far (eastern) end of the snow shed is on fire. He puts the train into emergency braking, and stops a little short of the fire. Emergency evactuation of passengers commences, traffic control is notified of fire.

10:10 am - traffic control notifies 110 (fire emergency number in Norway - like 911 in the US).

10:15 am - Fire brigade and police at Voss (cloest town) notified.

10:30 am - Fire brigade commender from Voss airborne in helicopter, en route to site to get an overview.

10:30 am - Fire brigade personell arrives at locomotive shed at Voss with equipment, to be transported by rail to the fire shed. No duty train engineer or locomotive available at Voss to take the west end fire train to the incident site.

10:45 am - a small MOW locomotive arrives at the west end of the fire site, couples to rear train set to try to pull the train free of fire. Switcher has insufficient air pressure to release brakes on passenger train, too much smoke in snow shed to safely send in personell to unset brakes manually.

10:45 am - fire brigade commender arrives at site in helicopter, takes over as incident commander. Helicopter is dispatched back to Voss to get a water bucket to water bomb fire.

11:40 am - helicopter returns with water bucket, problem deploying bucket

12:30 pm - bucket fixed, fire fighting by water bombing commences

12:45 pm - passenger evacuation train with two passenger cars from the scenic Flaamsbanen line pulled by a diesel switcher arrives, passengers are embarked and sent to Voss (towards the west), arriving at Voss about 1:10pm, approximately 3 hours after the train stopped due to the fire.

12:50 pm - fire personell from Voss and police arrive by Sea King helicopter from 330 Squadron, RNoAF. The railroad authority still had not been able to get an engineer and an engine on duty at Voss locomotive shed to transport in water waggons and pumps on the rescue train. Police commander on site takes over as incident commander.

12:50 pm - fire fighting train at Aal (to the east of the fire) alerted, train arrives at area at 3 pm, is stopped with just the front of the train sticking out of the tunnel to the east of the fire site. Fire brigade commander on site is not notified that this train has a water car until at 7 pm, and at that time it is shown that the water tank car has a defect pump ....

Beween 1 pm and 4 pm further helicopter with fire buckets arrive, fire fighting continues by water bombing.

4:00 pm - police returns incident control of site to fire brigade commander, since all that remains is putting out the rest of the flames

4:10 pm - fire fighting train from Voss carrying fire truck from Voss and water car from Voss finally arrive at west end of incident site, and is added to the fire suppression effort

From the report is also clear that the onboard personell of the passenger train and the evacuation train behaved in a way that deserves praise. All passengers were evacuated from the train to the ground quickly. Two handicapped passenger were moved to the end of the snow shed furthest from the fire while the rest of the passenger were led down a steep hillside past the flaming snow shed to a gravel road, before the conductor assisted by a passenger went back, got onto the train, and retried blankets and two portable wheel chair from the train, which were used to move the two handicapped passengers to a safe area well away from the burning snow shed, and to keep them warm. Passengers who wanted to try to retrieve luggage were refused to re-enter the train, but train personell swept the train several times to ensure that all passengers were out of the train. They also kept evacuated passengers collected in one spot.

When passengers were about to embark on the evacuation train, fires started spreading along the cable duct along the ditch towards the evacuation train. On board personell from the evacuation train put out the fire in the cable duct, embarked the passengers and took them to Myrdal, where they were transferred to another train and taken to Voss.


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