|An incredible train journey from the mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway, down to Flåm Station nestled in the innermost corner of the Aurlandfjord. Each year, this exciting stretch of railway attracts people from all corners of the world, making the Flåm Railway one of Norway´s major and most spectacular tourist attractions.
The train journey provides some of Norway´s wildest and most magnificent scenery. On the 20 km-long train ride you can see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascade down the side of steep, snow-capped mountains and mountain farms cling dizzily to sheer slopes.
The Flåm Railway is one of the worlds steepest railway lines on normal gauge. The gradient is 55/1000 on almost 80% of the line, i.e. a gradient of one in eighteen. The twisting tunnels that spiral in and out of the mountain are manifestations of the most daring and skilful engineering in Norwegian railway history.
At the foot of the mountains you can enjoy the natural beauty of the Flåm Valley and admire the majestic Aurlandfjord, a branch of the world´s longest fjord, the Sognefjord.
The Flåm Railway at the foot of the mountains.
The Flåm Railway, which passes through the beautiful, narrow Flåm valley, is regarded as a masterpiece of Norwegian engineering. The only thing lacking when the railway line between Oslo and Bergen was opened in 1909, was a branch line to the Sognefjord. In order to assure a transport route to the fjord, work was begun on the Flåm Railway in 1920. It was to take 20 years to complete.
The most time-consuming work was on the tunnels. These were excavated manually. Only two of the twenty tunnels, which have a total length of 6 km, were excavated using machines. Every metre of tunnel cost the labour force, the navvies a month´s hard work. The labour force, 120 strong at the outset, rapidly increased to 220.
The steep mountainsides were a major challenge, the solution being to build hairpin tunnels in order to equalise the big differences in altitude on the steep mountain. The danger of avalanches and rock falls also constituted a problem. To avoid these hazardous stretches, the line crosses the river and valley three times during the journey, but it does not cross the river on bridges. Instead, the river is led through the mountain in tunnels underneath the railway line.
The Flåm Railway was opened temporarily for steam engines on 1 August 1940. The newspapers reported that the first train "honoured" the navvies by carrying freight in the cars. The railway was opened for passenger traffic not long afterwards, with two trains in each direction that connected at Myrdal with the day trains on the Bergen Railway. Electrification of the Flåm Railway was completed in 1944 making it one of the first Norwegian railway lines to be electrified. The journey took an hour and a quarter as against one hour today.
The Flåm Railway is operating by NSB.
Nowadays, the Flåm Railway presents a new face to the world - with engines and carriages in natural green, new interiors, and a unique guide-and-loudspeaker service, with information in several languages. The train journey has been given a new dimension by extending the platforms and improving the viewing points. Our completely new fleet of trains comprises of 5 engines and 12 new carriages, thus guaranteeing an unforgettable train ride passing through the best scenery in Norway.
The amazing rail journey between the high mountains and the fjord. The Flåm Railway has much to offer: wild and beautiful mountain scenery with snow-clad peaks, fertile pastures and historical traditions reaching back to pre-Christian times.
THE NAVY ROAD
A ride on Rallarvegen is the most fascinating and dramatic cycling experience in Norway and perhaps Europe. The gravel road was built by hand in the late 19th century as part of the construction of the Bergenline Railway.
The Flåm Railway at the majestic Aurlandfjord.
Surrounded by mountain up to 1400 metres high, the Flåm Railway starts its journey up to the mountains. The train leaves the blue fjord arm of the Aurlandsfjord and the mild and fertile coastal climate. After a climb of three kilometres you see the small, brown, wooden Flåm church, dating from 1667, nestling beautifully in the landscape.
On the farm beside the church you can see the tall monumental stone erected in memory of the poet Per Sivle, who was born there. The splendid top of Vidmesnosi mountain towers skywards in the background, with the Rjoandefossen waterfall adorning it like a ceremonial ribbon. The impressive Rjoandefossen cascades 140 metres in a sheer drop down the mountainside.
The train leaves the green fields and orchards of the valley floor before continuing alongside the river and through tunnels. The Flåm Railway crosses the valley and river three times, but there are no bridges over the river. Instead of bridges, the river is led through the mountain in tunnels underneath the railway line.
At Berekvam station there is a twin-track section enabling trains to meet and pass each other. There are beautiful views of wild, rugged mountains and a series of rushing streams coursing down the valley slopes, with the foaming river far below in the deep and narrow ravines.
At Blomheller, travellers become aware that there is another side to the Flåm Valley besides idyllic and beautiful scenery. The mountainside is full of marks and traces of avalanches, a reminder that natural forces have many a time put fear and awe into the hearts of travellers.
The modern mountain goat-farm at Kårdal is set up by the farmers of the Flåm Valley on the mountain pastures, it is a new and interesting feature. The 300 goats have been highly popular with photographers. The landscape surrounding the mountain farm has an abundance of beautiful scenery - scenery the likes of which is seldom seen, with green pastures beside the river, slopes covered in lovely birch woods and snow-clad peaks in the background.
As the train exits Nåli, the Flåm Railway´s longest tunnel (1320 metres), you will catch a glimpse of the most spectacular and interesting view on the railway´s ascent to Myrdal - the railwaytrack on four different leavels in the mountain side and and a part of Myrdal station. At the same time, you will see the old road winding its way via 21 hairpin bends up the steep Myrdalsberget mountain.
The train stops at Kjosfossen. There is no other place on earth where rail travellers have the chance to see such an impressive waterfall as from the platform at Kjosfossen. High up on the horizon you see the white water cascading off the steep mountain side. The rushing river of water dissolves into foam with a thunderous roar as it hits the mountain on its way down.
The train passes through a hairpin tunnel that turns 180 degrees, an opening in the tunnel affording a panoramic view of the wild landscape. Several hundred metres straight down from the carriage window the river resembles a silver ribbon lying on the valley floor, while you see the steep mountainside with the rail track cut into a narrow ledge.
The beautiful mountain lake Reinungvatnet.
The train passes Reinungvatnet, a truly beautiful mountain lake before you get your last magnificent view of the mountains and moorland at Vatnahalsen. Vatnahalsen Hotel, also known as the Nordic "St. Moritz", is situated here. It is a popular mountain hotel, open all year, where you can find inner peace on several mountain tracks, on the Navvies Road cycling track or in great skiing terrain in winter.
The journey continues through snow-shelter tunnels. An opening in the landscape affords a last glimpse of the Flåm Valley before you arrive at the final stop on the Flåm Railway - Myrdal station. Travellers continuing on the Bergen Railway, have to change trains at Myrdal.
Welcome to an unforgettable journey on the Flåm Railway, one of the world´s most beautiful and spectacular railway lines!