Oslo Train Spotting


Photo courtesy Oslo Sporveier

Riders used to the signature red subway cars clattering along in Norway's capital city for decades are now encountering shiny white, highly-efficient new models being swapped into service by the Oslo transit authority. The new trains, made by Siemens Transport Division in Vienna, emit around 2.6 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer traveled (for the metrically challenged think of it as 2/10ths of an ounce per mile). Over a 30-year lifetime that means 825 tons of CO2. So how good are those stats? Pretty good, it seems - the UK's Aviation Environment Federation calculates efficient cars emit about 100-130 grams of CO2 per kilometer traveled, and long-haul planes about twice that amount. Part of the Oslo subway's eco-benefit is due to Norway's heavy use of large hydro for electricity generation - all that North Sea oil and gas goes for export. But the new white subway trains also achieve 40 percent better efficiency than older cars by recouping energy through regenerative braking. With their molded aluminum shells, the new cars are far lighter than the old red ones, and are designed to be 94 percent recyclable at the end of their lifespans. Siemens' project manager Martin Salender is convinced Oslo's subway, when all the 100+ new trains get into action, will have the smallest carbon footprint of any subway system anywhere. The only way to test that hypothesis, however, is if other transport systems apply life-cycle analysis. And too bad Norway's ballooning moose population, now topping 100,000, isn't helping the country's ambitious climate goals. An adult moose can each year emit as much as 100 kilos (that's 100,000 grams) of the greenhouse gas methane through burps and, uh, flatulence.
::Oslo Sporveier (in Norwegian and English)

Tags: Life Cycle Analysis | Norway

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