Flåm Railway

This is not the first time we have ridden the Flåm Railway.  One of my most vivid memories of traveling with the kids was standing on the platform at a station on the line, after having gotten off at a 5-minute stop, and looking back and seeing Kevin’s face pressed against the window, waiflike, taking everything in.  I snapped a picture and it still one of my favorites.

Back in 1985 we took the train from Bergen to Oslo, we got off at Myrdal and took the train down to Flåm and back.   The Norwegians built the flam line to connect the mainline with tidewater at the end of Sognefjord, one of the longest fjords in Norway.  The line travels down the Flåm Valley.  It was started in 1923 and opened in 1940 for steam engines.  It was electrified in 1944. It’s only 20 (12.4 miles) km long.    There are 20 tunnels, one does a 180o turn while it climbs, so you come out right above (or below) where you entered.  The standard gauge railroad with the steepest grade, 18:1, of any standard gauge “adhesion” railway.  The climb is from sea level to 886 meters (2841 feet.)

We did it the other way this time, we started at sea level, where the Prinsendam left us off and climbed to Vatnahalsen, one kilometer from the top at Myrdal, for lunch and a walk around to look at the scenery.  Vatnahalsen is the starting point for the Flåm valley zipline.  

As the train traveled upward we moved from late spring to early spring, with trees barely in leaf at the top, and spring flowers just coming out.  The weather, as we climbed into the clouds, got more misty and at the top, rainy.  Kjosfossen, a waterfall about three quarters of the way up, we stop at a platform to get out and admire the waterfall.  This is where I had gotten out leaving Suzi and the kids on the train.  The platform is crowded with people trying to keep their cameras dry while taking a picture.  The mist, well it’s somewhat more than a mist, makes photo taking difficult.  While we are at the station sort of a Nordic Enya is singing, or lip syncs singing (the speakers are very loud to overpower the falls) while doing kind of a dance at the falls.  It’s just weird. 

But despite the mist, rain, fog it was a worthwhile trip, especially for a train nut like me.  And we were rewarded with sunshine when we got back to Flåm with enough time to both visit the railroad’s museum (I wonder at the pedal powered work vehicles going up that slope) and a sit in the sunshine watching Norway’s first electric ferry glide away from its slip.

On this page I have pics of the railroad.  On the next post I will have pics taken from the train, at Vaunahalsen, from the falls, and of Flåm itself.

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