Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Week in Review

The past week has been pretty hectic. It started Sunday night when I pulled an “all-nighter” to finish my Independent Study Project (ISP) report on Scandinavian Public Transport and the presentation that would follow later on Monday afternoon. Once I had finished the Oslo section, the most detailed, I switched gears to the systems of Copenhagen and Stockholm and was able to find some good information but not to the degree of detail that I was able to get from studying the Oslo Public Transport atmosphere through my work at the Norwegian Conservation Society and the researchers I had contacted during my time here. Suffice to say, I was able to finish the report and had a total of 17 pages single-spaced due to images and figures used in the report and created a 22-slide presentation from that report.

From Blog Photos

The X60 Commuter train, manufactured by Alstom
photo taken by User:Udo Schröter
date: August 2005
first upload: 16:11, Aug. 13, 2005 -­ sv:Wikipedia by the photographer

The presentation went well, even though I was incredibly nervous and kind of loopy for not having sleep the night before. Tim quickly noticed that my skin color had turned to a very pale white and after our field seminar that morning suggested I go back to Sogn and get some rest. However, had I done that I wouldn’t have woken up for my presentation. So during our time between the seminar and my presentation I tweaked some things in the PowerPoint and added some extra pictures. After class, I went straight home to Sogn and crashed hard. I slept straight until about 10:30 or 11:00 PM, and then woke up for a snack. Afterwards I slept from midnight till about 10:00 Am I think, and then I had to hoof it to our seminar at the ISS classroom discussing Growth Fetishism in the world economy. Very interesting topic.
Later on Tuesday, our SUST group met with the Norwegian Progress Party at Stortinget that was very revealing. For the entire semester the Progress Party has been labeled as very Xenophobic in regards to its stand on immigration and integration issues and on the amount of foreign aid that they support. The man we spoke with, new where we were coming from politically and answered our questions very well. However, when I launched into him about High-Speed Rail and their opinions regarding Public Transport he told me straight that they supported cars over rails, however, he did not go into greater detail.
Wednesday involved the last meeting with my volunteer placement with the Norwegian Conservation Society. My advisor, Holger Schlaupitz, and I attended a High-Speed Rail conference hosted by Jernbaneverket (the Norwegian National Rail Authority) from 10:00 Am to 3:30 PM. The conference started with a presentation from a German Consortium VWI from Stuttgart, who showed the phase 1 of their analysis on the feasibility of High-Speed Rail in Norway. They concluded that the most feasible alignment for High-Speed service would be single track from Oslo to Trondheim based on market aspects. The travel time between Oslo and Trondheim would be reduced from 6 hours to 2 and half hours and serve 5,000 passengers a day. Their was a strong negative reaction from many of the attendants who were surprised that the Oslo-Bergen line was not selected, environmental effects were left out, etc. Personally I was surprised that a single track system was proposed when double track can allow for faster speeds and reduced dwell times for passenger trains at stations. Followed by the presentation from the Germans were two presentations by Norwegian proposals, the first being Den Sørnorske Høyhastighetsringen which basically means High Speed Ring route, a very ambitious project, however, is supported by the Conservative Party I think; and the second presentation was from a company called Norsk Bane AS whose website I have linked in a previous post.
The Oslo-Gardermoen Flytoget Express Train
From Blog Photos

Origionally uploaded by Mr. Kjetil Ree, on wikipedia, origional image can be found here. Currently this is the closest thing to High-Speed Rail in Norway.

Thursday involved our final field seminar as our SUST group, when we all visited the Henie Onstad Art Center, where Maria has been working this semester and will continue to work for after the program is done. Thursday also consisted of the level 2 Norwegian students Mark, Jennifer, and Heather taking their Oral exams and then having their final Norwegian exam on Friday.
For me, Friday I spent the whole day walking around Oslo and taking care of some holiday shopping. In the evening I hung out with Tobias, Henrike, Marc, and Friederike. Marc and Friederike had visited the Freia chocolate factory earlier in the day, and told us all about it.
Now it is Saturday, and the weather sure hasn’t been cooperating this week at all. It has been raining for almost this entire week; I personally wish it had snowed but oh well. Have one more academic thing to do and that is the Final Praxis that is due on Monday before we leave for our SUST retreat where we will be staying in a hytte until Tuesday and coming back to Oslo.
Not sure what will happen this evening, but as the last partying night in Oslo, it should be a blast.

Be back in the Twin Cities soon.

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