This rural Norwegian train proves it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
There are very few reasons that any traveler would need to visit the remote Norwegian villages of Åndalsnes and Dombas, except for one: the Rauma Railway, which connects them. Operated by the Norwegian Railway, this branch off the Oslo-Trondheim line was originally part of a plan to connect Oslo and Ålesund that never fully came to fruition. Although the Rauma Line has languished as a commuter train, it has become one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions for the sole reason that it serves as a front-row seat to the Norwegian Alps’ most stunning vistas and natural landmarks.
Instead of the usual, barely-comprehensible conductor’s voice on a microphone announcing the train’s stops, the Rauma Line plays a pleasant track gently explaining the various sights along the way, alerting riders when to get their cameras ready.
At only 80-miles long, it’s a short line that takes just a little over an hour to traverse. But that doesn't mean there's any shortage of things to see.
First up are picturesque green meadows, verdant trees and trickling brooks. The train snakes its way through two horseshoe curves down into a valley so it can cross the iconic Kylling Bridge over the ice-blue Rauma River, then soon enough finds its way through craggy mountains and precipitous cliffs. It runs right along the base of Trollveggen (“Troll Wall”), which at a staggering 3,600 feet is the tallest sheer rock face in Europe and is one of the world’s top destinations for expert rock climbers and BASE jumpers alike.
Because of the Rauma Line’s history as a nationally-owned commuter train that became a surprise tourist attraction, it is less of a luxury experience than some train aficionados might be used to — it is certainly no Eastern & Oriental, Indian-Pacific, or Rocky Mountaineer — but the cars are perfectly comfortable. They feature reliable WiFi, charging outlets and vending machines with delicious hot chocolate and local Norwegian candy. For an hour-long ride through some of Scandinavia’s most scenic country, even the pickiest traveler requires little else. You won’t even notice that the train hardly brings you anywhere you need to be.
Tickets can be purchased and seats reserved online.