Pedal your way along Flekkefjordsbanen

Once a bustling railway, this abandoned line now offers a unique rail biking experience

Photo: Flekkefjordbanens Venner
Railbiking is a great way to take in the scenery at a more relaxed pace—and get a little exercise!

Molly Jones
The Norwegian American

The Flekkefjord Line, a branch of the Sørlandet Line located in southern Norway’s Vest-Agder County, first opened in 1904 and connected Flekkefjord with Sira for most of the century. Until December 31, 1990, that is, when the final train journey along the railway line was made.

Although the Flekkefjord Line has been shut down for almost 30 years now, the organization Flekkefjordbanens Venner has been working tirelessly to preserve the railway with the hope of developing it into a living museum.

To share their love for the abandoned line, the organization rents out railbikes—large bicycles that attach to the rails—also known as draisines. Each summer, tourists and locals alike pedal their way along the 17-kilometer railway.

The return trip, starting at the Flekke­fjord bus station and ending at Bakkekleivi, takes between three to five hours and is an ideal summertime activity for the entire family. Both tandem and single railbikes provide a seat for a passenger—or two small ones—so that adults can pedal and get some exercise while their children can simply enjoy the nature along the way.

In addition to the stunning sights of lakes and mountains along the way, the route takes you through no less than 17 pitch-black tunnels, the longest one over a kilometer long! Flekkefjordbanens Venner suggests taking a break at Flikkeid, where there are picnic tables and a restroom, to eat and rest after the climb. In addition to packing food, you should bring along beverages, a camera, and a coat for the tunnels, which can get quite chilly; you can either borrow a helmet and flashlight or bring your own.

If you want to enjoy an active day in southern Norway while admiring beautiful nature and architectural wonders, a trip on the Flekkefjord Line may be just the activity for you!

Daily tours are offered from May through October. To learn more, visit www.flekke­

This article originally appeared in the June 16, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.