Commuters face a long autumn and winter of chaos as Norway’s state railway NSB warns that the acute staff shortage will not be resolved until at least spring next year. For commuters, the staff shortage at Norway’s state railway NSB is already making it difficult to get to work and back home. NSB has been forced to cancel several extra rush-hour train departures in the eastern part of Norway this week, with more cancellations due in the next few days. Now NSB warns that their acute staff shortage will not be resolved until the spring of 2008, asking commuters to be prepared for more cancellations and delays in the next six months, if not longer.
NSB needs about 50 more persons qualified to operate the trains (lokførere), and to fill the gap while a new generation of train operators are being trained, the state railway has now imported qualified personnel from Sweden. NSB staff is also working extra to ensure that commuters are affected as little as possible by the state railway’s staff problem, press spokesperson Åge-Kristoffer Lundeby said.
However, Lundeby did not rule out that further cancellations are imminent and unavoidable. "But I guarantee that we are doing everything we can to ensure as few cancellations as possible," he said.
Meanwhile, commuters are complaining. Teacher Marianne Randby told newspaper Aftenposten that she has to leave home 30 minutes earlier than usual in order to get to work on time. Additionally, the trains are unusually packed, she said, asking the same question that a lot of frustrated commuters are asking themselves these days: "They must have known about these problems in advance. Why haven’t they done anything to sort it out?"
Aftenposten English Web Desk