Rauma Railway is one of Norway’s most beautiful and spectacular railway lines. It starts at Dombås and ends 114 kilometers further west, at Åndalsnes down by the Romsdalsfjord.
Featured image: Rauma Railway and Kylling Bridge, Photo: Leif Johnny Olestad
The area which the Rauma Line passes through are some of Norway’s most famous tourist attractions. Trollveggen, Romsdalshorn and Rauma River are some of them.
Text and photo: Leif Johnny Olestad
The journey along Rauma Railway
It is first and foremost the wild and beautiful nature in Romsdalen Valley and in the area around the Romsdalsfjord that attracts people from all over the world. The Rauma Line is one of Europe’s most beautiful railways, with a magnificent, adventurous and wild nature. Train tickets on the Rauma Line can be ordered at SJ NORD.
The Rauma Line is 114.2 kilometer long and goes from Dombås to Åndalsnes by the Romsdalsfjord. After leaving Dombås, the train run across Jora bridge. The bridge is constructed of white granite. Altitude from the bridge down to the river is 37 meters. We now leave Dovre municipality and arrive in Lesja municipality. From there, towards Dovrebygda, you can see the beautiful mountain named Storkuva, 1452 masl. The Rondane mountains can be seen from there in clear days.
Before year 1860, lake Lesjavatnet was one big lake, from Lesja and up to Lora. The lake was drained off, and the area was then used as farm land. At the bottom of the lake, there were enormous layers of clay and mud (from the ice age). On this side of the valley, the railway go through a big scree from that age.
To the left you can see Lesja church from year 1748, especially known for it´s unusual gorgeous carved altarpiece. Here you can also see parts of the lake Lesjaskogsvatnet, which forms the watershed between the East and the North-West part of the country. Lake Lesjaskogsvatnet is one of the few lakes in Norway that has two outlets. Gudbransdalslågen river runs from the east end and Rauma river runs from the other end, towards west.
Bjorli next. This place has the latest years developed to become a tourist center. This is one of Norways most snow reliable skicenters, it has several skilifts and prepared alpine courses. Also a nice area for crosscountry skiing and skiing in the forest and at the surrounding mountains. At summertime, Bjorli is a popular startingpoint for mountaineering. Also horse riding, fishing and canoeing are popular. There is also a small airport there, and Bjorli also has a great parachute milieu.
The journey continues, passing Bjorli Railway Station with water tower and a train turntable. This is where the steep, adventurous, and absolutely the most beautiful part of the Rauma Line starts.
At Bjorli, the railway is crossing Rauma river for the first time at Bøvermo railway bridge. It continues in a steep slope with Rauma river at the right side until it again crosses the river at Stuguflåten railway bridge (stone bridge). Below Stuguflåten we arrive Møre og Romsdal county, and we see a change to more dramatic and spectacular surroundings.
The turning tunnels at Verma
Because of the steep terrain, it was impossible for the Rauma Line to follow the highway (E 136 today) downwards from the county boundary. The railway was built higher up at the east side of the valley. This became a problem due to the altitude difference between the bottom of the valley and the railway. To get the railway down towards the bottom of the valley, they had to build two turning tunnels with double loop at Verma. Higher up in the valley (332 meter altitude) the railway go in to the 1340 meter long Stavem turning tunnel. With a radius of 275 meter it does a U-turn in the tunnel. The railway leaves the tunnel in opposite direction, and at the exit you have a fantastic view down towards the Romsdalen Valley.
Kylling Bridge across Rauma River
After three kilometers, close to Verma station, the railway goes into the 440 meter long Kylling turning tunnel. The Rauma Line has a loop of 275 meter radius in the tunnel and then crosses Kylling bridge. This gorgeous stone bridge is the most famous railway bridge in Norway. The bridge is now flood-lit, and can be seen in the darkness. Kylling bridge is made of solid gneissic granite. The length is 76 meters and the height down to Rauma River is 59.3 meters. The sight from the train down the Vermafossen Waterfall Canyon with Rauma River is one of the main attractions of the journey along the Rauma Line. Kylling bridge is a beautiful, gorgeous and unik stone bridge construction. In this way, the railway was created in three levels. And it became 7.4 kilometer longer to lower it by 120 meters.
Romsdalen Valley and the mighty waterfalls
Then the train is passing Vermafossen waterfall with a 850 meter drop. Further down the valley and across Rauma river, over Foss bridge to the east. This is the start of the more alpine mountains in Romsdalen, with steep mountainsides on both sides of Rauma Railway. The scenery is wild and spectacular, and several waterfalls are cascading down the mountains. Brudesløret (the bridal veil) is the name of one of them, east of Flatmark. Gravdefossen and Mongefossen waterfalls on the north side between Verma and Marstein looks even mightier. The mountains now appears in a row. First Trollveggen, then Romsdalshorn, Karlskråtind, Mongeura and Vengetindene.
The train then soon arrives Åndalsnes, and to the right you pass the city mountain Nesaksla (715 masl). From Åndalsnes Railway Station, you can walk straight from the train and over to the Romsdal Gondola that takes you up to Mt Nesaksla. From there you have a fantastic view down to the Romsdalsfjord and up towards Romsdalen Valley which you have just experienced from the train ride along the Rauma Line. A journey with Rauma Railway is both wild, beautiful and unique regardless of season. From Åndalsnes there are corresponding buses to the cities of Molde and Ålesund.
The Norwegian Parliament approved the building of Rauma Railway between Dombås and Åndalsnes on July 9th, 1908. The construction work started january on 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 at Rauma Railway.
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 attractiona facin 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