The gradient is 55/1000 on almost 80 % of the line, i.e. a gradient of one in eighteen. The twisting tunnel that spiral in and out of the mountain are manifestation of the most daring and skilful engineering in Norwegian railway history. The Bergen Railway from Oslo to Bergen was inaugurated in 1909, work on the Flåm branch line started in 1923 to ensure the transport route down to the Sognefjord. It was a major challenge for railway engineer to build this railway. The journey on the Flåm Railway takes one hour, through 20 tunnels totaling a distance of six kilometers. Eighteen of these tunnels where excavated by hand, each metre claiming a month’s hard labour for the railway workers. To avoid risk of avalanches, the Flåm Railway crosses the river and the bottom of the valley three times in the course of its journey.
It took nearly 20 years to complete the Flåm Railway, and it was opened for steam trains 1st August 1940, and got electric trains in 1944. The Flåm Railway has an interesting history which you can learn more about by visiting the Flåm Railway Museum. Open all year, free entrance.
The journey from Flåm at the innermost part of the Aurlandsfjord, takes you through the Flåmsdalen valley to the high mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway, is a railway experience unparalleled in Europe; 20 km long with a height difference of 865 metres. The journey provides some of Norway’s wildest and most magnificent scenery. You can see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascade down the side of steep, snow-capped mountains and mountain farms cling dizzily to sheer slopes. The train travels slowly and even stops at the most scenic spots, photo stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall. The Society of International Railway Travelers has listed the Flåm Railway as one of the world`s top 25 train journeys.