Flåm Railway

Flåm in Norway is known for its surreal beauty that astounds the travellers who come here. The amazing Flåm Railway takes you from high mountains in Myrdal station and down to very bottom of the Aurlandsfjord and Flåm station.

The Flåm Railway is a masterpiece in engineering which is one of the most exciting railway journeys in the world. This journey from Flåm to Myrdal is twelve miles long (19 km), a descent of 866 metres (2,841 ft).

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 Line (Norwegian: Flåmsbana) is a 20.2-kilometer (12.6 mi) long railway line between Myrland and Flåm in Aurland, Norway. A branch line of the Bergen Railway, it runs through the valley of Flåmsdalen and connects the mainline with Sognefjord. The line's elevation difference is 863 meters (2,831 ft); it has ten stations, twenty tunnels and one bridge. The maximum gradientis 5.5 percent (1:18). Because of its steep gradient and picturesque nature, the Flåm Railway is now almost exclusively a tourist service and has become the third-most visited tourist attraction in Norway.


Constructing the railway took more than fifteen years and it took nearly seventy years from planning to completing the work. In 1940, the railway was ready to operate traffic.

It allowed the district of Sogn access to Bergen and Oslo via the Bergen Railway. Electric traction was taken into use in 1944; at first El 9 locomotives were used, and from 1982 El 11. Until 1991, the train connected with a ferry service from Flåm to Gudvangen. In 1992, freight services were terminated, and due to low ticket prices and high operating costs, the line was nearly closed. In 1998, Flåm Utvikling took over marketing and ticket sale for the line, prices were heavily increased and El 17 locomotives were introduced.


The trains remain operated by the Norwegian State Railways (NSB), while the line itself is owned and operated by the Norwegian National Rail Administration.

One of the steepest standard-gauge railway lines in the world.

The Flåm Railway runs from Flåm to Myrdal. Myrdal is also a station on the Bergen Line, meaning the Flåm Railway connects with trains running between Bergen and Oslo. Myrdal Station is located in a mountain pass at 863.6 meters (2,833 ft) above mean sea level (AMSL), while Flåm is located at 2.0 meters (6 ft 7 in) AMSL. The railway's maximum gradient is 5.5 percent, and 16.1 kilometers (10.0 mi) of the line's 20.20 kilometers (12.55 mi) have at least 2.8 percent gradient. The line has standard gauge and a minimum curve radius of 130 meters (430 ft), and is the steepest standard-gauge railway in Europe. Maximum permitted speed upwards is 40 km/h (25 mph), while it is 30 km/h (19 mph) downhill. The line has eight stops, twenty tunnels and one bridge.

At Myrdal Station, the Flåm Line runs in the same direction as the trains towards Oslo, but immediately starts running downwards into the Flåmsdalen valley. The first part of the line runs through snow shelters and several short tunnels.Vatnahalsen Station is located 1.13 kilometers (0.70 mi) from Myrdal, at 811 meters (2,661 ft) AMSL.[7] The line then runs through a horseshoe curve and the 880-meter-long (2,890 ft) Vatnahalsen Tunnel. It exits the tunnel onto an artificial shelf on a cliff which falls several hundred meters down. Reinunga Station is located 2.20 kilometers (1.37 mi) from Myrdal and at 767 meters (2,516 ft) elevation. It is followed by Kjosfossen Station, 4.40 kilometers (2.73 mi) from Myrdal and 670 meters (2,200 ft) AMSL, which serves no other purpose than allowing tourists to look at the waterfall Kjosfossen.

MAP: Flåm - Myrdal - Flåm

Over the course of one hour, the train takes you from sea level at the Sognefjord in Flåm to the Myrdal mountain station, situated at 867 metres above sea level. Myrdal is also a station on the Bergen Line, meaning the Flåm Railway connects with trains running between Bergen and Oslo.


Map and stations on the Flåm Railway

The train between Myrdal and Flåm stops at the following stations:

Myrdal station – Corresponding with the Bergen Railway (Bergen-Oslo)
Vatnahalsen station
Reinunga station
Kjosfossen station
Blomheller station
Berekvam station
Håreina Station
Lunden station
Flåm station

The best train journey in the world

National Geographic Traveler Magazine calls the Flåm Railway one of the top 10 train journeys in Europe while in 2014, Lonely Planet Traveller went even further and named it the best train journey in the world.



Watch This Beautiful Video Explainer of the Flåm Railway. Produced by BBC:


Visit The Flåm Railway Museum

When you arrive in Flåm the Flåm Railway Museum is definitely worth a visit. This little museum is right beside Flåm station.

Get to know the exciting stories behind building the Flåm Railway, the world's steepest railway. The Flåm Railway Museum gives you insights into the hardworking people who built this masterpiece, as well as the many technical and legal challenges of building its exiting history, and its technological development.  Various exhibitions give you the opportunity to learn more about the Flåm Railway through pictures, text, orginal objects and video presentations.

Located in the old train station in Flåm. The Flåm Railway Museum has a souvenir shop that oferes Flåm Railway logo articles and items as well as other Norwegian handicrafts and souvenirs.


Opening Hours: 1 May-20 May: 9AM-7PM, 21 May-30 Sep: 9AM-8PM, 1 Oct-30 Apr: 1.30PM-3PM.

Image above: 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.



Timetables 2019
The Flåm Railway

The Flåm Railway runs all year, but has more frequent departures in summer.

Below you can find timetables for the stretch Myrdal -Flåm:





Sources:

Wikipedia, NSB, Visit Flåm

BBC


References:


Hofseth, Arne (22 October 2000). "NSB sel Flåmsbane-aksjar". Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). p. 5.


Number of travellers" (in Norwegian). Flåm Utvikling. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.


Flere reiser med halvprivat Flåmsbane" (in Norwegian).Norwegian News Agency. 13 August 1998.


Flåm bur seg til jernbanefest".Bergens Tidende(in Norwegian). 14 May 1992. p. 6.


Fem ombygde togsett settes ut i trafikk".Aftenposten Aften(in Norwegian). 10 June 1992. p. 3.


Gubberud & Sunde (1992): 125





Bibliography


Aspenberg, Nils Carl (2001). Elektrolok i Norge (in Norwegian). Oslo: Baneforlaget. ISBN 82-91448-42-6.


Gubberud, Ivar J.; Sunde, Helge (1992). Flåmsbana: historien om en av verdens bratteste jernbaner (in Norwegian). John Grieg

Forlag. ISBN 82-533-0261-4.


Norwegian National Rail Administration (2009). "Railway Statistics 2008". Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2011.


Thue, Johs. B. (2002). Flåmsbana (in Norwegian). Skald. ISBN 82-7959-028-5.


Fem ombygde togsett settes ut i trafikk".Aftenposten Aften(in Norwegian). 10 June 1992. p. 3.



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