The Bergen Line celebrating 100

Left: Easter tourists at Finse in 1935. Photo: Neupert/Norwegian Railway Museum. Right: A rotating snowplow pushed by two steam locomotives fighting its way over Hardangervidda (the Hardanger Mountain Plateau). Photo: Wikipedia.

The Bergen Line 1909 – 2009

On November 27 1909, a railway between Norway’s two largest cities, Bergen and Oslo, was opened: the Bergen Line. At the same time, one of Europe’s most spectacular railways was opened to traffic. The Bergen Line remains one of the world’s most famous railways and as recently as spring, 2009, was voted one of the 20 best railway journeys in the world. The 100 year anniversary will be marked with several events throughout the year, starting today, June 4.

King Haakon VII characterised the Bergen Line across the high mountains as ’the great achievement of our age’ when he opened the railway in November 1909. Norway’s two largest cities and the eastern and western parts of the country were connected with a railway that many had believed would be impossible to build and operate.

Photo: Hans Morten Tamnes

Photo: Hans Morten Tamnes

The Bergen Line cost an annual state budget to build and continues to be one of the world’s most famous tourist lines with passenger traffic steadily increasing. The line is equally important to business and the great amount of goods traffic that is conveyed between eastern and western Norway.

The Norwegian postal service is celebrating the Bergen Line’s 100 year anniversary with an issue of stamps with themes from different sections of the line, plus a valuable album garnished with stamps, postcards and historical articles. 

Jernbaneverket (the Norwegian National Rail Administration) and NSB will host several arrangements and events in connection with the anniversary.

June 4 -7: A vintage steam train runs from Oslo S to Bergen via Roa. There will be extended stopovers at several stations, together with local events held by various municipalities. The general public may travel on the train along sections of the line. Tickets can be purchased on the train. The train ’sleeps over’ at Hønefoss, Ål, and Voss.

Jun 6: Official opening of a new exhibition at the Rallarmuseet (The Navvy’s museum). This will take place during the vintage steam train’s visit to Finse on 6th June. A concert at Bergen station with the vocal ensemble ‘Skrik’, a railway-inspired programme. Starts at 11pm. After the concert, ‘Bergenstoget plyndret i natt’ (‘The Bergen train was robbed last night’ – a Norwegian film from 1928), will be shown (with music). 

July: A “cultural signposting” will take place along the Rallarvegen (The Navvy’s road). Several cultural monuments have been selected and each sign will receive a short text explaining the background of the cultural monuments along the high mountain section.

August 14-16: Navvy weekend at Finse, hosted by the Rallarmuseet (The Navvy’s museum). Lecture on the history and future of the Bergen Line. There will be navvy’s music and a re-launch of Bjørn Rongen’s novel trilogy about the navvy days.

August 22: Open station in Bergen. There will be a display of rolling stock and snow-clearing equipment. “Bergenstoget plyndret i natt” (a Norwegian film from 1928), will be shown in the evening (with music). 

August 27: The Bergen Line will be the central theme at the Transport and Logistics conference in Bergen.

November 27: This is the actual anniversary day. There will be local events hosted by municipalities and the travel industry.

Click here to read more and see events calendar for the Bergen Line’s 100 year anniversary

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