Raumabanen Railway in Norway
Now over 80 years old, the Raumabanen Railway has always unashamedly been a tourist track. Aside from a brief period when it was used to ferry around the country’s gold reserves, it has operated to cater for the cruise ship trade arriving into Romsdalfjord and Andalsnes. Whereas other railway journeys take you past wonderful sights as if by coincidence, the Raumabanen has a single purpose – to show off Norway at its finest.
This 114-km (182-mi) long marvel of 1920s engineering starts at Andalsnes, the northern gateway to the fjords. Right from the start the views are spectacular and as the train climbs steadily, hugging the mountainside, you are treated to breathtaking views of the valley below. The imposing peaks of Romsdalhorn and Trollveggen soon dominate the skyline. You are torn between looking up or looking down as the train crosses Kyllingbrua, a startlingly high stone arched bridge which hangs high above the Rauma River.
It seems scarcely possible to climb any higher, but this is exactly what happens just after you pass Verma, as the train takes you through a corkscrew tunnel under the mountains. This really is a giant fairground ride for grown-ups. As you approach Dombs, the scenery opens up offering panoramic views of this most remarkable of lands. Here you can either continue to Oslo or Trondheim or, better still, go back and do it all again.
WHEN TO GO:
Year round – special steam trains serve the line in summer (June to August).
TIME IT TAKES:
Around three hours one-way, although a shorter journey between Andalsnes and Bjorli Is available for those wanting
to make a quick round trip.
The Brudesloret (the bridal veil) – a spectacular waterfall.
The Kylling turning tunnel – quite a ride.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The railway can get crowded and Is more expensive In the high season (June to August), if you can be flexible,
September or early October are good times to go and the evenings are still light.