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Embarking on a train journey might seem ordinary. Yet, when that journey unravels the pristine landscapes of Norway, culminating beyond the Arctic Circle, it transforms into an otherworldly experience. The Nordland Railway, often celebrated for its scenic brilliance, promises more than just vistas in winter. It’s a voyage where every chug of the engine and every mile crossed weaves a tapestry of ethereal moments and Arctic wonders.
Amidst the blanket of white snow and the lingering cold of a Norwegian winter, imagine embarking on a mystical journey — aboard the Nordland Railway. Renowned as one of the most scenic train routes globally, this rail trip promises not just a destination but an ethereal experience that lingers in the soul long after the journey concludes.
From Fjords to Arctic Peaks: Nordland Railway’s Natural Tapestry
Setting out from the historic town of Trondheim, this train journey brings the Norwegian winter wonderland right to your window. Even before you’ve had your morning coffee, the breathtaking views of the Trondheim Fjord envelop you. Stretching 130km, this is Norway’s third-longest fjord, and its azure waters contrast beautifully with the snow-laden landscape. The journey is a continuous reel of nature’s grandeur, from the deep forests that seem to whisper tales of Vikings to the snow-capped mountains that stand tall, narrating legends of the ages.
As the Nordland Railway snakes its way across the country, the landscapes morph, presenting a delightful contrast at every twist and turn. From valleys that seem to cradle ancient secrets to charming villages that seem to have sprung from storybooks, there’s a promise of discovery at every mile. And the pièce de résistance? Crossing the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees north, a moment where one feels on top of the world, quite literally.
Arctic Adventures: From Reindeer Sightings to Coastal Bodø on Train
But perhaps, what truly sets this journey apart in winter is the dance of the ethereal Northern Lights. The canvas of the sky turns into a mesmerizing display of colours, painting memories that last a lifetime. As the train chugs into the night, don’t be surprised to spot reindeer prancing in the snow or a sea eagle soaring above, silhouetted against the soft glow of the moon.
The Børgefjell National Park offers a rugged allure with its high summits and deep valleys, while the majestic Saltfjellet range serves as nature’s grand curtain as you make your way to the Arctic town of Bodø. And as the train halts here, the European capital of culture for 2024, the wide Vestfjord, with the Lofoten Islands on its other side, beckons travellers with its raw beauty.
Trondheim to Bodø: A Majestic Rail Trip Through Norway’s Heartland
Spanning an impressive 729 kilometres, the Nordland Railway offers an unparalleled experience from the historic town of Trondheim, winding its way northward to the Arctic coastal jewel of Bodø. This ambitious feat of engineering and design traverses through the distinct counties of Trøndelag and Nordland. Over the course of approximately 10 hours, passengers are treated to a cascade of man-made marvels, whisking past 44 stations, seamlessly flowing over 293 bridges, and piercing through 154 tunnels. It’s not just a winter spectacle; come summer, this very railway gleams under the midnight sun, earning its poetic moniker, ‘the train of the midnight sun’. The essence of this journey is truly about witnessing the harmony of nature and human endeavour.
But the scenic beauty of Norway isn’t the only aspect that makes this rail trip unique. The Nordland Railway ensures that the journey is as comfortable as the destinations are beautiful. Choose a standard seat or indulge a bit more with a Premium Plus reclining seat. Either way, the visuals outside promise to captivate you. And with fares ranging from 809 Kr to 1089 Kr, this Arctic train experience remains accessible to many.
For those keen on embarking on this winter escapade, the Nordland Railway departs twice daily from Trondheim. Whether you’re an early riser, wanting to soak in every bit of the winter sun, or a night owl hoping to catch the Northern Lights, there’s a schedule that fits. The 7:40 am departure lets you experience a day’s journey across diverse terrains, while the 11:05 pm journey promises the enchantment of Norway’s nights.
Often, we travel to destinations, but sometimes, the journey becomes the destination. The Nordland Railway in winter is one such experience. Here, amidst the serene snowscapes of Norway, as you glide aboard this scenic train, time seems to stand still. For those seeking solace, adventure, and a dash of magic, this Arctic rail trip is your ticket to a winter wonderland like no other. ◼
© This article was first published online in Oct 2023 – World Travel Magazine.