Explore Norway on wheels

Explore Norway on wheels

Train travel

Explore Norway on wheels

Having gone on several scenic train journeys in Switzerland, I did not believe my friend when he told me that the most dramatic and scenic train journey in Europe is to be experienced in Norway.

To prove him wrong, I decided to go on a seven-hour-long journey between Oslo, the capital of Norway located in the eastern part of the country, and Bergen, the gateway to scenic fjords located in the western most part.

When my wife and I boarded the early morning train at Oslo Central Station, it was still dark and cold. At the stroke of six, the bright red-coloured train chugged off from the platform and within 15 minutes, we were in the outskirts of Oslo town where the train stopped at two stations. At about 7 am, the train crossed Drammen station, and we were moving along the beautiful countryside, leaving behind the industrial area of Oslo.

At the beginning of our journey, the landscape comprised scarce forests and some fields. But as the train moved along, snow-capped hillocks and pristine valleys came to view. As we climbed higher, we reached a station called Finse. We were told that it was 1,200 metres above sea level and was the highest point on the train route. At this station, it was amusing to watch a quaint bicycle trolley, which moved on the rail track!

As the train travelled towards Bergen, the landscape changed dramatically, with lakes, fast moving streams, green majestic forests, magnificent glaciers and small villages appearing. The highest mountain plateau called Hardangavidda, through which the train passed, is lovely.

Between Bergen station and Oslo Central, there are 18 stations, and the train stops in all the stations to allow crossing. Whenever the train stopped, we would get down and breathe the chilly salubrious air and enjoy a serene moment.

The train passed through 182 tunnels, with a total length of 28 km. The tunnel called Grave Holson was more than half a kilometre long. We were informed that the construction of this railway line began in 1883 in a small way. In 1901, a new line was laid and it took eight years to complete. One cannot but marvel at the engineering skills of Norwegians, especially their tunnel-boring skills.

Myrdal station is an important junction on this route. Travellers get off here to make a side journey on the famous Flam railway. Flam rail route is 20 km long. This journey is said to be a spectacular one, where 80% of the travel has a gradient of 5.5% and runs through the famous fjords of Norway. For lack of time, we could not experience this.

After passing Myrdal, our train took a downward route, and we reached Bergen around 2 pm. After completing this scenic journey, I was forced to give in to my friend’s claim that the journey was indeed worth it!