Timetoget Bratsbergbanen AS, trading as Timetoget ("the Hourly Train"), is a defunct railway company that tried to start operating passenger trains on the Bratsberg Line in Norway. The concept was launched in 1998, and in 1999 an agreement was made with the incumbent, Norwegian State Railways (NSB), to start operation in 2000. The founders were Gjermund Jamtveit and Halvor Grene, while NSB owned a third of the company. The company bought three used Y1 railcars from Sweden.
NSB soon bought all the shares of the company, and also made an agreement that operations on the Arendal Line would be taken over by Timetoget. However, the new company tried to take a short-cut in giving engineers only a six-week training program, instead of the usual 18 months. This made NSB want to discontinue operations. They bought out the rest of the shareholders, and liquidated the company. Timetoget never ran anything but trials on the Bratsberg Line.
The company was owned by NSB (34%), two individuals from Notodden, Gjermund Jamtveit and Halvor Grene (51%), Telemark County Municipality and some municipalities (15%). The trains would operate with a one-hour headway, twenty-four hours a day. It was the first private company allowed to operate passenger trains since the amalgamation of operations into the Norwegian State Railways. The concept was based on TIMEkspressen, an hourly coach service between Notodden and Oslo, that was operated by the Jamtveit and Grene-owned Øst-Telemark Automobilselskap. The company bought three used Y1 diesel railcars from SJ of Sweden, despite that the Bratsberg Line is electrified. The trains cost NOK 6 million each, and have a capacity of 70 passengers.〔 〕
Initial plans called for operations to commence on 1 January 2000,〔 but this soon proved difficult. In November, NSB paid out the other major shareholders, and were left with an 89% ownership of the company. The company needed dispensation from the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority to allow temporary employments of engineers. When the company had announced the positions, only one engineer had applied for the twelve jobs.〔 〕 Instead an agreement was made with NSB to rent personnel, thus delaying the start until 3 September. But because the engineers needed to be recertified, the start was delayed again, to 5 November. In the end, Timetoget was forced to recruit and train new drivers. It received criticism for not having as extensive training as NSB, but the company stated that this would not affect safety. The labor union recommended its members not to apply for jobs with Timetoget, since they did not provide a pension agreement, collective bargaining or guarantees to return to NSB, should the concept fail.
In August, twelve engineers were hired on contract with Baneservice, at the time a subsidiary of the Norwegian National Rail Administration. The engineers were subsequently re-certified for the Y1 class, as well as being given a service course.〔 〕 While other engineers in the country are required to take an 18-month course, Timetoget felt it could meet sufficient safety standards with a six-week course. Arne Wam, chief executive officer of NSB, stated that he could not permit that a subsidiary ignore safety in such a way, and announced he would stop operations.
In August 2000, Timetoget offered Telemark County Municipality to take over the transport of school children between Drangedal Station and Nordagutu Station.〔 〕 In September, the company also started negotiations with NSB to take over services on the Arendal Line, but it was stated that this was not excepted by NSB.〔
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