The Norwegian Parliament approved the building of Rauma Railway between Dombås and Åndalsnes on July 9th, 1908.
Featured Photo: Rauma Railway, scaffolding construction on Kylling Bridge. Photo: Edvard Sæterbø
The construction work started on January 24th 1912 at Jora Bridge and Kylling Bridge. Four work teams took part. In October same year, another work team started at Åndalsnes, which now was decided to be the end station on Rauma Railway.
Text: Leif Johnny Olestad
References: NSB. Raumabaneboka (Normannsamlinga). Østvedt, Norske Jernb. historie bind III.
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The planning of Rauma Railway
In august 1909, the preliminary work in the north part had started. The line was marked out in the ground, levelled and cross profiled.
Then sub-surface surveys were done. It was performed detailed mass calculation of cut sections and fillings. Also plans for bridges, subdrains, road adjustments, stations and prevention against snow, avalanche and flood control.
On June 17th 1912, a detailed plan and an estimate for the complete section of the line was presented by the railway administration.
In 1915, the government presented a plan and estimate for Rauma Railway. On July 29th same year, this plan was approved by the Norwegian parliament. The construction work had then been ongoing for 3.5 years, in a moderate scale.
The construction of Rauma Railway
On October 7th 1912 the work started on a big earth cut close to Åndalsnes. Due to minor grant during the first years, there was no great progress in the construction work. From a modest amount of 30.000 NoK in 1909-1910, the grant increased slowly to 887 200 NoK in 1914-1915. The maximum, 8 150 000 NoK was reached in 1920-1921. In the inauguration year 1924 (-25) it was only 153 000 NoK.
Due to the long construction time at Rauma Railway, a contionous replacement of workers took place. The line was divided in four sections, and no less than 13 sectional engineers had their work at Rauma Railway.
Until march 1913, the ordinary working hours was 10 hours (in winter 9 hours) each day. It was spent a total of 14 462 247 working hours to build the railway. I 1918, machine drilling started in the tunnels. From the start, there were working 615 men at the construction. This was later reduced to 550 men in 1917 and increased to 580 men after 1918. The reduction was caused by high cost of living and increasing economic trends. Other difficulties was shortage of dynamite and forge coal, this due to the World War I (1914-1918). The war also caused delay of the importation of metal. To the construction of Rauma Railway, charcoal was used as a substitute instead of forge coal. A coal stack was built at Lesjaskog.
Tunnels and bridges that were built
The work at Jora Bridge started january 22nd 1912. Stone quarry was built up at the north side of Jora, approximately 2 km from the bridge. Trial blasting was done at Holaker, 9 km from the bridge. Abutment wall was commenced at fall 1913. This was finished summer 1914. The arch scaffolding was finished early may 1916.
Construction of the first layer on the main arch could start. June 3rd 1916, the construction of the second layer could start. The construction was completed in 1919. Facts, Jora Bridge: Length 85.4m. Main arch span 54m. North end arch span 6.0m. South end arch span 9.0m. Construction time main arch 1913-1916. Construction time brickwork 1913-1917. Construction time Jora Bridge 1912-1919. Total expence 250 343,66 NoK.
Bridge over troubled water (Rauma River) at Bøvermoen
Bøver Bridge is located 570m north of Bjorli Railway Station. Preparation for the construction of the bridge started in 1916. The construction was completed in 1922.
Facts, Bøver Bridge: Construction time 1918-1922. Length 46.7m. Span 42m theoretical span. Total expence 278 998,59 NoK.
The stonebridge across Rauma River at Stuguflåten, also called Stuguflåtbrua, lies north of Stuguflåten. After careful consideration, it was decided to build the main arch with a span of 30m and a secondary arch with a 10.6m span at the south end of the bridge. Free height from top of main arch to max flood water is approximately 9.5m. The construction of the abutment wall was commenced in may and finished at the end of july 1921. There was a work stoppage from may 26th to june 10th 1021.
The scaffolding work could not start before march 1921 due to the amount of snow. A crew of 12 men was working with the scaffolding. This work was finished september 10th 1921. Construction of the first layer on the main arch was done september 12th to september 16th 1921, the slot ramming was done september 16th. Lowering of the support arch was done august 22nd 1922, this was done in three hours. The scaffolding was demolished august to november 1922, the material was used to construct permanent snow prevention etc. Construction time of the bridge was from 1919 to 1923. Length 54.1m. Total expence 407 997,57 NoK.
Stavem Reversal Tunnel and Kylling Tunnel
Stavem Reversal Tunnel at Verma has a length of 1340m. The lower opening lies 2.3 km north of Verma Railway Station. The position of the centre line of the tunnel was decided from polygon traverses of 67,073m long coordinates. Every single was gradually sticked out with the use of theodolite. The final result after the break-through was measured at chainage 4227+1 january 29th at 16:15 hrs. It had a lateral drift of 28mm and altitude drift of 45mm.
The tunnel was drilled from both ends. From the north end, the tunnel was drilled by hand drilling in a length of 571m. From the south end by hand drilling in a length of 86.5m. The remainder was drilled by machine drill in a length of 622.5m. The rock type was gneissic granite. The cutting work started in february 1913. It consisted of large boulders together with soil and stones in all sizes. Probably falling down from the steep mountainsides. Also problems with water and ice occured in the outer part of the tunnel. When reaching 350m inside the tunnel, it became necessary to use artificial ventilation. A ventilator driven by a 10 EHP electrical motor with electrical power from Grytten Power Station. The rock bed at the south end of the tunnel was of bad quality, problems with water in the outer part, 12m from the opening.
The machine drilling started in june 1918, and ended at the break-through in january 1922. The construction of Kylling Tunnel started fall 1914. This work took place only during wintertimeuntil the break-through in 1922. Due to the mass balance, the tunnel was in drift only from the opening towards Kylling Bridge. A team of 7 men worked in one shift. Construction time 1914 to 1922. Length 440m. Average cost per meter tunnel 592,47 NoK. Average hours per meter 219,9. Explosives: 38,9 kg per meter tunnel.
It was used 10 years to build Kylling Bridge. The preparation for the construction started in september 1913. The transport of the sand started in january 1915. At fall 1916, a provisional footbridge was build across Rauma River. This was a suspension bridge designed so two men with tools could pass each other. Stone to the main arch was taken from the lower opening of Stavem Reversal Tunnel. From here hauling track down to the bridge. The length of the track was 3.2 km. The straddle with stone was decelerated down to the bridge, and the empty straddle was pulled back up with horse.
In the spring of 1919, the stone for the main arch was finished. With a working force of 26 men, they started to lay out the stones in june 1919. The stones was in place august 23rd. The slot ramming was done the 25th of august. This was done in 10 hours with a working force of 59 men. From 1919 to 1920, the stones for the upper arch was layed out. August 10th to 17th 1921, the east end arch was completed. August 18th 1921, the slot ramming was done by 18 men. West end arch was completed deptember 2nd to 7th 1921. On September 8th, the slot ramming was done by 17 men.
The length of Kylling Bridge is 76m. The main arch is 42m long. The end arches has 10m and 8m span. The altitude above Rauma River is 59.3m. The cost of the construction of Kylling Bridge was 676 000 NoK. It was completed in 1923 after 10 years construction period. The bridge is beautifully located at Verma and is visible from the country road. There is a walkway down to a great viewpoint where you can see up to Kylling Bridge and down to the gorge and Rauma River. The walkway starts next to the grocery store at Verma where there are also parking options. Kylling Bridge is floodlit when it is dark.
The construction of the bridge across Vermafossen Waterfall started winter 1918. Blasting and tickling of boulders in the river course and blasting of foundation for the wing wall at the southern left end of the bridge was the primary work. Then the stones was layed out by a 3 ton derrick crane placed at the upper side of the bridge. The construction of the scaffolding started august 1922. At spring 1923, the bridge was finished. Construction time from 1918 to 1923. Length 25.9m. Total expence 85 830 NoK.
A total of 109 648 working hours. Construction time 1915-1919 and 1922-23. Installation of the iron construction started may 11th 1923 and was completed august 9th same year. At may 28th 1924 the bridge was crossed by a train for the first time. The bridge has two span of 40m each, and total length is 92.2m. Total expence 506 377 NoK.
The construction of Sælsbrua Bridge at Marstein started in 1920 and was completed in 1924. The installation of the iron construction started mid october 1923, and was finished mid december same year. Sælsbrua was crossed for the first time with a train at july 2nd 1924. It was locomotive no. 366 with full tender and 3 tons of coal together with a wagon loaded with 15 tons of ground beams. Sælsbrua has a length of 64.6m. Total expence was 268 062 NoK.
The building of Skjerve Bridge at Trollveggen (Troll Wall) started in 1918. In the middle of january 1924, the installation of the iron construction started. The bridge was completed in june same year. The bridge was crossed for the first time with a train at july 7th 1924. Construction time 1918-1924. Length 69.7m. It has two spans of 30m and 36m. Total expence was 208 672 NoK.
Åk tunnel between Mjelva and Åkershagen: Construction period 1913-1916. Length 32.7m. Cost per meter 336,39 NoK.
Other main constructions
Other main engineering constructions: The earth cut at Hølgenes and the two earth cuts at Åndalsnes. At the last two earth cuts, respectively 64 600 and 42 300 cubic metres of sand was removed. At the earth cut at Hølgenes, 144 000 cubic metres was removed, this was used to level out the station area at Åndalsnes. At october 26th 1924, the railway was nearly finished and the press has a site inspection of the construction that day. Cermonious inauquration at november 29th 1924.
References: NSB. Raumabaneboka (Normannsamlinga). Østvedt, Norske Jernb. historie bind III.
The Rauma Railway between Dombås and Åndalsnes is voted as Europe´s most scenic Rail Journey by Lonely Planet. Take the train to the end-station Åndalsnes at one of Norways most spectacular railways.
From snowy mountains to beautiful coastline of islands and reefs. Experience all this in one day due to the short distance from mountains to coast. Ona Island and Lighthouse, The Atlantic Road and Midsundtrappene are attractions facing the Atlantic Ocean. Trollstigen, The Troll Wall, Romsdalseggen, Rampestreken and Litlefjellet are great places to visit in the inner part of the Romsdalsfjord, where the fjord meets the spectacular and alpine Romsdal mountains. Travel green to Åndalsnes with Rauma Railway, a wild, beautiful and unique experience regardless of season. From Åndalsnes Railway Station, you can walk straight from the train and over to the Romsdal Gondola that takes you up to the city-mountain Mt Nesaksla and Eggen Restaurant. From there you have a fantastic view towards Isfjorden, down to the Romsdalsfjord and up towards the Romsdalen Valley which you have just experienced from the train ride along the Rauma Railway. The Romsdalsfjord is located in the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Western Norway.
Accommodation at Åndalsnes and in Romsdal
Grand Hotel Bellevue at Åndalsnes
Aak Hotel at Sogge outside Åndalsnes
Hotel Geist at Øran at Åndalsnes
Åndalsnes Vandrerhjem på Setnes
Åndalsnes Camping by Rauma River
Mjelva Camping at Mjelva outside Åndalsnes
Trollveggen Camping by the Troll Wall
Accommodation in Isfjorden