ScanRail Tour 2004 - 14: Bergen - Flam Line (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
ScanRail Tour 2004 - 13: Oslo - Bergen Line (50 p.)

ScanRail-map featuring the former and current itinerary:

July 20 2004

Next morning at 8:00 a.m. our destination was not the station but the harbor...

It was bustling with activity.

We left port by high-speed craft, past MS Europa, one of the most exclusive cruise ships worldwide.

Bergen rapidly shrank in the distance, fast ferries are an important mode of transport in this region crisscrossed by fjords.

However, some islands have been made accessible by massive suspension bridges, like Nordhordlandsbrua here.

We turned north into narrow Radfjord.

The dog was not real. ;-)

Our captain steered the ship calmly sometimes so closely past shores, almost within one's reach.

About 60 miles north of Bergen we turned eastwards into Sognesjoen, the strait at the entrance of Sognefjord.

Sognefjord is Europe's longest and deepest fjord at 127 miles length and 4291 ft depth.

Now and again fjords were branching off to the side, like Fjaerlandsfjord near Balestrand about half way up Sognefjord. On the mountain a tip of Jostedalsbreen can be spotted, the largest mainland glacier in Europe.

At Balestrand a proper shellback was boarding, complete with "Spar"-bag. ;-)

The further inland you reach, the more the scenery resembles Alpine lakes but with far greater dimensions.

In the middle of the fjord an interesting maneuver took place: ship to ship exchange between fast ferry and car ferry. The troll watched over it all.

Sognefjord ends in several branches, one of which was our destination, Aurlandsfjord - here a view into Naeroyfjord, a side arm of the former.

After 5 1/2 hours and 125 miles on the high-speed craft we reached Flam at the end of Aurlandsfjord.
Old cruise ship MS Arion once more had Adriatic roots and had been launched as "Istra" in 1964 Yugoslavia.

Right next to the docks we came across the terminal of the Flam Line, which joins the Bergen Line at Myrdal. We did not get tickets for the immediate connection, only for the following train. So, I conveniently captured the train hauled by El 17 2231.

Each consist is formed of two locomotives - here El 17 2227 as helper - and five brake systems to cope with one of the steepest adhesion railroads in the world.
More about the line where operations have been switched to class 18 a short while ago:åm_Line

El 9 2063 - former standard engine of the Flam Line - as a monument ten years ago. Nowadays a small museum has been built housing it.

We took our lunch picnic at the seaside and witnessed the take-off of a seaplane.

At 2:50 p.m. we boarded our train. We individual travelers had been led to the rearmost car in the composition, the cruise- and Europe-in-a-nutshell-hordes were herded to the front of the train.

During departure I managed to capture this treat: El 17 2222 in original livery in front of Flam loco shed.

We commenced our ride through lovely Flamsdal. The departure one hour later had positive sides as well, for example the sun shone now.

We passed by historic Flam village.

Flamsdal is another waterfall paradise, view back.

The only interchange station of the line is Berekvam where we met the train into the opposite direction.

El 17 2227 headed the train Myrdal - Flam.

Past the lovely alpine pasture of Kardal we got a glance of our destination on top of the mountain, Myrdal.

The grade is clearly visible here.

We looked across the valley to Myrdal. Flamsdalsvegen road winds its way down along Myrdola falls to Flamselvi river.

At the spectacular Kjosfossen falls - flowing from Reinungavatnet lake into Flamselvi - the railroad takes an extra photo halt between two tunnels.

For tourists, for whom Kjosfossen might not be spectacular enough, an extra show is performed...

At Vatnahalsen halt, half a mile before reaching Myrdal, we got off the train. It returned soon afterwards heading downhill with El 17 2230 emerging from lower Toppentunnel. Myrdola falls can be spotted to the right.

The same train - El 17 2229 as helper - at Vatnahalsen which is already located at 2660 ft above sea level. The "third hand" took both pictures with the compact digicam.
How does this line gain altitude that fast? For example, it features a loop tunnel. Here a link to a useful map (very detailed for all of Norway down to building groundplans, track layouts, etc.) where the routing can be closely followed:

DSLR view from Vatnahalsen towards Reinungavatnet.

The train on the lowest level - it's anyone's guess what people were thinking when they painted these vehicles green...

View into Flamsdalen with well-camouflaged railroad...

We walked along the line towards Myrdal until we reached this spot above Myrdola falls. Quarter to five the next uphill train was approaching in beautiful spotlight.

Next time we will explore Bergen... :) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.