Trondheim to Andalsnes
After walking to the station from the docks we boarded the 08:23 express to Oslo. Once again we saw some of the weaker aspects of Norwegian public transport. There was no indication where passengers needed to stand for their reserved carriage and it was frankly a bit of a dangerous scrum when the train was backed into the platform, with people having to move up and down the platform by this 9 coach train. Also in this rebuilt station there was no canopy over the platform - this seems unbelievable and must be appalling in a snowstorm with icy platforms.
As the train left I was delighted to see the northbound Hurtigruten arriving, this morning it was the Nordnorge. This meant that we'd now seen 10 of the 11 ships of the Hurtigruten fleet. The only one we didn't see was the Trollfjord which was at Ålesund that morning heading north and had passed through Tromsø in the early hours of the morning when we were asleep in our hotel - I should really have got up to see it!!!
Leaving Trondheim the journey is initially through relatively pastoral landscapes...
...but soon the line and the parallel E6 road begins the long climb through Oppdal that will eventually cross the high moorland over the Dovrefjell.
Engan, the final settlement before.....
...heading up the valley of the Svåne river....
....before reaching the open moorland of the Dovrefjell....
....where the railway needs the protection of snow fences in winter. The highest point of the line is reached about here with an altitude of 1024m above sea level. The Dovre line wasn't opened until 1921 replacing the older line via Røros to Trondheim.
We left the Oslo train at the junction station of Dombås as we were going to take the spectacular branch line down to the coast at Åndalsnes. We alked into the town to buy rolls and cheese....
.....and then boarded the local train to Åndalsnes.
The Rauma line is 114 km long and drops 655m down to the coast. Initially the line runs through relatively gentle countryside before reaching Bjorli, where the line starts to drop into the Romsdal valley...
....which can be seen far below. The course of the railway in the valley can be seen on the left of the photo.
The line uses a series of tunnels and horseshoe curves to drop down into the valley, with the train stopping several times to allow photographs to be taken, such as this view from the Kylling bridge viewed upstream and..
The valley sides become increasingly rocky with waterfall cascades in many places.
Trollveggen (Troll Wall) is the highest vertical face in Europe (1100m)
Another view of the Trollveggen looking back up the valley.
Another view looking back up the valley with the 1550m high Romdalshorn to the right
Finally, the line reaches sea level as it heads towards Åndalsnes.
As expected Åndalsnes had a cruise ship in - this time the Marco Polo - which had left Newcastle a few days before so the town seemed to be full of people from North East England.
A railwayman told me that they often have two or three cruise ships in on one day so I guess we were lucky! Stabled in the station was a train that the Norwegian railways use to take passengers up the Rauma line as far as Bjorli.
We walked out of the town for a short distance and had this view down the Romdalsfjorden. The fjord does a ninety degree turn to the right on it way to the sea. On our journey north on the MS Lofoten we had only been 20km away at Molde.
This is looking back up the fjord towards the mountains and the Romsdal.
The lighting conditions made photography easier on the way back to Dombås with this photo showing the view down the valley from halfway up the horsehoe curve.
The railway tunnel mouths in Norway are often protected by wooden extensions as seen here at the entrance to the 1396m long Stavem Tunnel
We stayed at the Dombås Hotel where arrangements seemed to be chaotic. I'd contacted them about having a meal and agreed a time. Despite this they had no record of our room being booked but had reserved a table for dinner! Luckily they had a room to spare! It was a buffet meal and we found it strangely unsatisfying though there was plenty of food. It wasn't very hot and the vegetables were soggy.
Whilst we were in the restaurant I noticed a railwayman wearing the uniform of Cargolink, one of the Norwegian railway freight companies. I spoke to him and asked if he was the driver of the Class 66 diesel locomotive that was at the station. He told me that he was and would be driving the overnight freight train down to Åndalsnes. I mentioned that I'd recently travelled in the cab of a Class 66 diesel on a coal train in England and we briefly discussed some technical railway matters. He invited me to come with him!!
Needless to say I had to decline the offer.