Posted by: travelrat | July 19, 2013

Narvik and the Otofen Railway.

Otofen 1

Narvik: 21st March 2013

The port of Narvik owes its existence to the discovery of iron ore in Kiruna, in nearby Sweden. It was founded in 1902, as a convenient port from which to ship the ore, rather than convey it all the way to one of the Baltic ports. These ports were often ice-bound in winter, anyway, in contrast to Narvik which, because of the Gulf Stream, remains relatively ice-free.

To convey the ore to Narvik, the Swedes built the Otofen Railway. It’s operated by Swedish Railways, which may be why it doesn’t seem to receive as much publicity as other scenic routes in Norway. Although it’s a scenic route, climbing the steep sides of a fjord, revealing a vista of snow-covered peaks and frozen waterfalls, it’s still a regular train, rather than a tourist line.

The train was rather crowded, but a nice young student offered to share his sleeper compartment with us; it’ll sleep two, but seat eight.

He was bound for Stockholm, but we didn’t intrude on his space for long; we got off at Riksgransen … in Sweden, which enabled us to cross another country off the list.

Riksgransen 1

 

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