Norway Oslo-Bergen rugged Railway
77 images Created 12 Apr 2011
The Bergensbanen, the railway between Oslo and Bergen, is the highest mainline railway line in Europe and one of the most spectacular in the world. The Bergen Railway takes a total of 6-7 hours to travel the entire length of the line, crossing 300 bridges, running every day, and demanding great effort and technical expertise. Today this railway is a summer tourist attraction, but in winter is much more important as a busy intercity route connecting every day the two most important cities of the country. This railway crosses the harsh and inhospitable Hardangervidda plateau at over 1200 meters above sea level, which stands between the western fjords and eastern Norway. The construction of the line was exceptionally challenging in a region without roads and with a climate that saw many feet of snow in the winter and temperatures far below freezing. Tunnels and cuttings had to be excavated through solid gneiss, primarily by hand, with the Gravhals tunnel alone taking six years to build. The full line opened for passenger traffic on 27 November 1909. The Bergensbanen runs for 493 km with 182 tunnels, totaling approximately 73 km, and the longest single tunnel on the line, over 13 km long, is near Finse, the highest mainline station in Europe), 1222.2 meters above sea level. Just In front, it is the rugged skyline of the Hardangerjøkulen, the sixth-largest glacier in mainland Norway chosen as the location for the battle in the snow in the movie The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars). From Myrdal mountain station also starts another incredible train journey down to Flåm station in the Aurlandfjord. It is the Flåm Railway (Flambana), one of Norway's most spectacular tourist attractions that each year attracts people from all over the world. This 20 km-long train ride is one of the world's steepest railway lines on standard gauge, with a gradient of 55/1000 on almost 80% of the line.