Depots add appeal to magnificent Bergen Railway
ON THE BERGEN RAILWAY, NORWAY — One of the most popular adventures for tourists in Norway is The Bergen Railway, a seven-hour, 300-mile trip that takes riders from the forests of Oslo to the tops of snow-capped mountains and back down to the fjords around Bergen.
The scenery is undeniably gorgeous — pastoral farms on hillsides, glistening lakes cutting into mountains, rustic cabins sitting atop rocky plateaus. Cameras were in constant motion on this trip, including mine.
But for my money, one of the most distinctive features of this train ride is the array of depots that mark the many stops — quaint way stations that both fit nicely into the landscape and reflect Norwegian simplicity.
On May 31, nearing the end of a Scandinavian trip with my mother, brother and two sisters, we boarded the train in Oslo at 8:05 a.m. and arrived in Bergen, considered “the gateway to the fjords,” at 2:52 p.m. The train stopped at or passed about two dozen stations between Oslo and Bergen as it gradually rose, hitting a high-elevation of 1,237 meters above sea level near the Finse stop, before gradually declining to the western coast.
The electric train is run by the National State Railway, which operates most passenger rail service in Norway.
On an earlier trip to Norway, six years ago, all of the pictures I had taken along The Bergen Railway were ruined at the photo shop. I was determined to get some lasting shots this time around, though it wouldn’t be easy as most of the stops were 90 seconds — just enough time to find a good spot, frame a few pictures, press the button and get back on the train.
I took several photos with the fear of being left behind. But only once — with one foot on the train and the other on the platform — did the door briefly close on my leg.
Photos and text by Gregg Aamot