Nesbyen to Flam, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

brothers meeting
Compositions of the Flam Railway are in opposite directions.
River of ice
Watercourse fed by thaw flows along PN Hallingskarvet.
Panorama on board
Passengers from the Flam Railway coexist in one of the carriages.
where winter endures
Snowy scenery of PN Hallingskarvet, in a plateau domain that precedes Myrdal.
mirror green
Landscape mirrored in one of the many lakes between Nesbyen and Myrdal.
Myrdal - Ti Flam/Rallarvegen
Sign identifies the Myrdal station and its altitude: 866.8 meters.
Malvin Midje at your disposal
Malvin Midje, employee of the Flam Railway.
The Mighty Kjosfossen
Kjosfossen, the most intimate waterfall on the Flam Railway.
huldra dance
Dancer embodies the role of a huldra at the edge of the Kjosfossen waterfall. A huldra is a creature from Norwegian mythology that attracts men to the forest.
Norway of the little ones
Eastern passengers admire Myrdal's miniature houses.
into fjord
Composition of the Flam Railway enters one of the several tunnels in the railway.
Norwegian Bridal Veil
Waterfall flows from the top of a verdant ravine, one of the common sights of the Flam Railway.
Flam on sight
Panoramic view of Old Flam, before Flam's final station.
huldra dance
Showgirl of a huldra dances over the soaked forest by the Kjosfossen waterfall.
meeting of tugas
Sara Wong and Marco C. Pereira with João Carvalho, the "dispatched" Portuguese employee of the Flam Railway who gets the passengers moving.
Flam Sea Rail Junction
Flam Railway Line finds the dock where cruise ships up the Sognefjord dock.
By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.

It is only in Nesbyen, already more awake on the platform of the local Flam Railway station, that the journey arouses our first emotions.

It's June. It rained all the way from the capital. As we hoped would happen, towards mid-morning, the clouds gave way and allowed for a dry and orderly boarding, bearing in mind that, in this initial section of the trip, in a conventional, modern train without opening windows, the passengers would follow with marked seats.

Even so, entry is fought to the centimeter. In the end, the always determined and unbeatable Chinese win.

We made ourselves as comfortable as possible, but, restless, we left for one or another photo in a hurry and went back to our places, always controlling the moment of departure. After ten minutes, the composition sets in motion with us inside, without a hitch.

The Surprising Scenario that precedes the Flam Railway

We were convinced that the route that precedes the most notorious Flam Railway would prove banal. It was not so. We traveled mostly along the meandering stream of the Hallingdalselva River and neighboring lakes nestled in verdant valleys, strewn with country homes.

PN Hallingskarvet, Norway

Snowy scenery of PN Hallingskarvet, in a plateau domain that precedes Myrdal.

Further on, we enter the highlands of PN Hallingskarvet, well above 1000 meters of altitude. Everything changes the picture. Even in June, this plateau carved by successive ice ages continued its winter apart. The green starts to appear only in spaces and, at a certain point, gives way once and for all to a brown and white panorama of the snow patches that resist the summer's intentions.

Cascades fed by melting snow from these snow-capped and sovereign glaciers flow down cliffs and feed various rivers, streams and lakes: the Tungevatnet, the Hestebotnvatnet, the Finsevatnet and others – that flow there. The most serious are fast and full of rapids, some run in the region of Buskerud, others in the border of Hordaland.

In each case, like human mushrooms, large, dark wooden shelter-huts adorn the plateau. Our imagination is filled with delightful retreats divided between the riverside and the fireplace.

Soon, we leave the domain of Hallingskarvet. We proceeded northwest and below a thousand meters. At 866, after more than two hours of zigzags, the train enters Myrdal, a village around the train station of the same name, present there as a junction for the Bergen and Flam lines.

Station board of the Flam Railway of Myrdal, Norway.

Sign identifies the Myrdal station and its altitude: 866.8 meters.

João Carvalho at Myrdal Transshipment Leadership

We're supposed to take the last one. We all disembarked onto an unobstructed central platform. Confronted with two lines, somewhat distant from the small central building, passengers surrender to a momentary disorientation.

Some move to one side, others to the opposite, in search of the best place to be in the dispute for seats in the train that followed, this one, known for traveling through the most impressive scenery in Norway and the world.

The bewilderment does not last. Eventually, one of the station employees, identified with a fluorescent-green vest, appears and loud but in a paternal tone shouts: “Follow me my children, follow me!”. In this way, he summons and arranges all passengers in his circle in order to hear the briefing he had to communicate.

We found out where the composition of the Flam Railway would come from, in which direction it would go and where we should position ourselves in the face of the imminent composition. New lines form, with the expected commotion. A Chinese passenger, more excited about evasion and competition, runs over another American passenger, who is already of some age. It raises an incident in international relations that the good mood of others quickly helps to remedy.

Meanwhile, the composition of the Flam Railway pulls up against the platform, led by a gray electric locomotive pulling several carriages much older than those in which we had arrived at Myrdal.

Finally, aboard the Reputable Flam Railway

This second and final train was already making the first of its 20 km journey when the official who had guided us all at the departure station approached us: “Wait a minute, you are Portuguese, right?”, he asks us, imbued with a fort. suspected of having heard us speak Portuguese.

Sara Wong, Marco C. Pereira & João Carvalho, Flam Railway, Norway

Sara Wong and Marco C. Pereira with João Carvalho, the “dispatched” Portuguese employee of the Flam Railway who gets the passengers moving.

We confirm it. We continue an unexpected conversation between compatriots. João Carvalho tells us he is from Margem Sul, where we also have family. Fulfilled the most recent of several summer seasons working on the Flam Railway.

We praised the ease and efficiency with which he handled the passengers and asked if the Norwegian staff also treat them for that task. “Nice treat… they treat but they don't do it like me.” it tells us to confirm what, in any case, we no longer had great doubts: João's Mediterranean ease was unique and precious.

We search the mind. We have the impression that we have already seen it featured in a French or German documentary about that railway. “It's quite possible, João confirms. We exchange contacts. João, go back to your duties, carriages outside.

Flam Railway: a Providential Railway Conquered to the Fjords

We surrendered to the windows we had conquered. We are dedicated to contemplating and recording the landscapes on both sides of the line, a branch of the Bergen Line, completed in 1941, after 20 years of construction, in the Flamsdalen valley to open a crucial access to the Sognefjord, known as the King of the Fjords and the widest and deepest in Norway.

The Flam Line has 20km, 10 tunnels and a bridge. It snakes 863 meters down to the 59m elevation of Flam. With a gradient of 5,5%, it is one of the steepest slopes on the face of the Earth. Accordingly, the various carriages are equipped with different brakes capable of stopping the entire composition.

Waterfall, Flam Railway, Norway

Waterfall flows from the top of a verdant ravine, one of the common sights of the Flam Railway.

On this route, the carriage windows arrest us with incredible views: some snow-capped peaks and cliffs but, above all, deep green ravines and gorges with the backs decorated with red wooden houses, some yellow. Water falls from the top of these ravines, much longer and more capricious than those of PN Hallingskarvet.

The Mythological Encounter with the Kjosfossen waterfall

One of them, the Kjosfossen, drops 90 meters between the hidden summit of the great lake Reinungavatnet and the flow of the Flamselvi river, which we would follow until the last station.

It falls so massive, furious and close to the train that it seems to flood it at any moment. Instead, it passes under the platform installed there for the train to stop and give passengers a quick and much-sprinkled contemplation. From the waterfall. But not only.

Kjosfossen, Flam Railway Line, Norway

Kjosfossen, the most intimate waterfall on the Flam Railway.

Without warning, from the top of the ruins of an old house, a mysterious blonde woman in a red dress appears. Dance. It moves and continues to dance around the house and then through the adjoining soaked forest to the sound of music folk Norwegian.

As the Flam Railway was, at one point, dedicated to foreign tourists, paid for at reasonable prices, it was complemented with an act by students from the Norwegian Ballet School. There they have incarnated, for a long time, the Huldra, a creature (but also a whole race or species) spiritual and evasive of Norwegian mythology.

The Scandinavian mythology establishes that these creatures attract men to the forest to seduce them. And that they are especially benevolent towards the charcoal burners, who are used to watching when they rest and while their glowing embers cool down.

huldra dance

Dancer embodies the role of a huldra at the edge of the Kjosfossen waterfall, A huldra is a creature from Norwegian mythology that draws men to the forest.

Rallarvegen and the Descent to Breikvam

New warning sounds for re-boarding. The composition resumes the descent. A few kilometers further on, almost halfway through, we were faced with another impressive scene: Rallarvegen. The stretch of a narrow, unpaved road zigzags twenty times from the base of a new waterfall to its summit.

Originally, this road was built there to facilitate the Herculean works of the Flam Railway, led by the grating (Navigation engineers). It completes a road with more than 120 km that, as we found out later, comes from the heights of Hol, in the county of Buskerud.

Today, it is mainly used by mountain bikers. Every year, in the short period in which it is not cold – between July and September – more than 20.000 cyclists pass through it, eager to renew their adrenaline.

We pass through successive riverside villages, harmoniously installed on one or the other bank of the Flamselvi River. Their wooden houses seem fragile to us, insignificant, in that scenario made of rock walls partly covered with trees that overcome gravity.

The villages are blessed with small Lutheran churches. They have houses of the people with proud Norwegian flags. From there to Flam, they diverge little from the red-white-yellow normative pattern.

Around Breikvam, the Flam Railway line splits in two, so that trains traveling in opposite directions do not have to stop. We head almost from the outside and watch one of those meetings where the two trains look like mirrors of each other.

Old Flam, Flam Railway, Norway

Panoramic view of Old Flam, before Flam's final station.

Flamm. And the Sognefjord in sight

Before long, the gradient of the line smoothes out and the Flamselvi valley opens up. We get a glimpse of the old Flam, also with the expected Norwegian layout and organization, and a tiny, dark wooden church a few meters from the riverbed.

The convoy wins another meander. From there, over the mouth of the Flamselvi, we enter the modern Flam, justified by the increasingly busy confluence of the Flam Railway and the Flam wharf, on the threshold of the majestic Sognefjord.

Employee of the Flam Railway, Flam, Norway

Malvin Midje, employee of the Flam Railway.

The composition slows down from the less than 40 km/ha that it followed and stops. Passengers retrieve their luggage. Little by little, they descend to the last of the stations.

Right there, a few meters away, well-deserved stays in the town's hotels await us, or boarding the ships that travel the sognefjord.

Flam Railway Line Arrives in Flam, Norway

Flam Railway Line finds the dock where cruise ships up the Sognefjord dock.

At around three-thirty in the afternoon, we boarded one of the Fjord Cruises between Flam and Bergen, heading for the still distant second largest city in Norway. That afternoon, however, we only sailed to Balestrand, where we had the privilege of staying overnight. Balestrand and Bergen, stay for the next chapters.


More information and reservations for the Flam Railway and Tours train “Sognefjord in a Nutshell" in

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