New Derailment on the Iron Ore Line Between Northern Sweden and Norway

By Hilde-Gunn Bye, High North News - December 20, 2023
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Malmtog i Narvik
The photo shows iron ore trains in Narvik and is not connected to the derailment. (Photo: Harald Groven / Flickr).

An iron ore train has derailed on the Iron Ore Line between Kiruna and Narvik. There are significant damages to the tracks and the overhead line. Therefore, all traffic on the train line north of Kiruna has stopped.

An iron ore train derailed on the Iron Ore Line between Kiruna and Narvik on Sunday. All traffic on the Iron Ore Line north of Kiruna has therefore stopped, reports the Swedish Transport Administration.

The train, fully loaded with iron ore, derailed with several wagons by Vassijaure.

“During the evening and night, we have had personnel in place in the area to inspect the facility. We can confirm that we have major damage to rails, ties [substrate for railway tracks, ed. note], switches, and overhead lines in Vassijaure,” says Simon Sunna, acting railway manager for the north in the Swedish Transport Administration.

“In addition, there is extensive damage to the northern snow gallery (a kind of tunnel that protects the track). We have also seen that there is damage to the rails on the entire section between Kopparåsen and Vassijaure,” adds Sunna.

According to the Swedish Transport Administration, there is a lot of weather at the site now, and it will continue to snow for several days. A very temporary forecast is that traffic can resume at the beginning of January at the earliest. The case has been handed over to the Accident Investigation Authority, which will investigate the scene.

An important railway line

The Iron Ore Line stretches from Kiruna in Northern Sweden and westwards towards Narvik in Norway. On the Swedish side, it also stretches from Kiruna towards Luleå in the east. On the Norwegian side, the railway line is called the Ofot Line.

The railway is largely used by the Swedish mining company LKAB, which operates iron ore mining in Norrbotten. Usually, 10-12 of LKAB’s ore trains run in each direction daily between Narvik and Kiruna. In addition, other freight traffic and passenger trains also use the railway.

From the ports in Narvik and Luleå, iron ore that LKAB extracts in Northern Sweden is transported to European customers.

There have been several train derailments on the route, and in March this year, one of LKAB’s ore trains derailed at Narvik station. LKAB has long reported deficiencies on the Iron Ore Line and has, among other things, expressed a desire for double tracks on the railway line.

No one was injured in the accident in question.

High North News is an independent newspaper published by the High North Center at Nord University in Bodø, Norway.