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Historical Information

The Flåm Railway, which runs through the narrow and beautiful Flåm Valley, is regarded as a marvel of Norwegian engineering. Read more about the history of the Flåm Railway here.


1871 The first plans for a new railway were proposed by Head Forester Hans Gløersen from Voss. He suggested building a branch line on the Bergen–Oslo line.
1893–1903 Surveyors evaluated several alternatives from Myrdal–Flåm and Voss–Stalheim–Gudvangen.
1904–1916 Various engineering alternatives were considered: cable car, road-bound trolley cars, a rack-driven railway and an adhesion railway. Engineers and decision makers evaluated narrow gauge (1,067 mm) and standard gauge (1,435 mm), steam-hauled trains and other fossil fuel-driven trains, as well as electric trains.
1908 The Norwegian Parliament included the Myrdal–Flåm route in the National Railway Plan. The estimated number of annual passengers was 22,000.
1916 Parliament approved a standard gauge, adhesion railway.
1923 Norwegian Parliament decided on an electric railway and approved funding for the entire construction project.
1924 In this landmark year for Flåmsbana, construction started on the 20.2 km railway. 20 tunnels were planned, 18 of which had to be carved out by hand. Every metre of tunnel cost one of the navvies a month of labour. The total length of the tunnels amounted to 5,692 metres. The workforce varied between 120 and 220 labourers, depending on the strength of the Norwegian economy, and that of the world at large.
1936 The navvies started laying the track. A small steam locomotive assisted them with the heaviest loads.
1940 This was the year construction was planned to be completed. Electric locomotives were delivered and a power plant built at Kjosfossen waterfall. In 1942 it was hoped that the Flåm Railway would open for traffic. When Norway was invaded in April 1940, 5 km of track still needed to be laid. The German authorities demanded that construction continue and as early as 1 August 1940 trains started running.
1940–1942 Goods trains were hauled by steam locomotives (NSB type 25 – nos. 228, 455, 424 and 425) with up to eight axles and manual brakes on every goods wagon. The descent took 65 minutes, the ascent 80 minutes. Midway, at Berekvam station, was a water tower.
1941 Passenger traffic was permitted to commence on 10 February after extra sets of engine-powered brakes were installed on three of the locomotives. The Ministry of Transport decided to call the new railway line “Flåmsbana”.
1942 Flåmsbana was formally transferred to the Norwegian State Railways (NSB) to be managed by its regional office in Bergen. Ordinary traffic formally commenced on 1 May 1942.
1944 The Flåmsbana Railway was electrified by the German occupying power, which completed its new power station at Kjosfossen waterfall. However, the transformers required to power the electric locomotives were sabotaged with explosives by a Norwegian resistance group from Oslo. Electrification had to be delayed until 24 November.
1947 The El 9 electric locomotives arrived and the first aluminium passenger carriages were put into service. On the Flåm Railway, too, the age of steam trains finally came to an end.
1940–1952 The number of passengers increased by an average rate of 11%.
1953–1969 During this period, around 115,000 passengers travelled on Flåmsbana each year. The press rarely ran positive articles about the railway, mainly focusing instead on whether or not Flåmsbana should be shut down. Gradually, however, improvements were made. Speakers were installed in all carriages and a new platform was built at Kjosfossen waterfall (1968).
1958 Sleeping cars now ran all the way to Oslo, a political victory for advocates of this new service.
1969–1979 Passenger traffic increased by an average of 10% annually, before stabilising at 175,000 passengers.
1976 After 70 years, the restaurant at Myrdal railway station closed.
1978 The morning express train from Oslo now stopped at Myrdal station.
1979–1989 There were major increases in passenger traffic, especially in the early 1980s. Critics no longer suggested closing Flåmsbana, enjoyed by 200,000 travellers every year.
1982–1983 New locomotives were commissioned, replacing the El 9 after 35 years of faithful service. A rebuilt El 11 locomotive was put into service. In 1984, the electric BM 69 multiple unit was introduced.
1992 A new road was opened between Oslo and Bergen, which could be used all year round. This meant that Flåm could also be reached by road.
1992–1994 A new railway station opened in Flåm in 1992 and in 1994 the old restaurant at Myrdal station reopened. Traffic on Flåmsbana increased dramatically. In 1994 it carried 380,000 passengers.
1997 Sleeping cars were discontinued on Flåmsbana.
1998 The company Flåm Utvikling assumed responsibility for the sales and marketing of Flåmsbana, aiming to ensure year-round operation. This made Flåmsbana the largest “privately owned” railway line in Norway. Major investments were made in new trains – six El 17 locomotives and 12 passenger carriages with traditional interiors. Guides were hired and there were now more frequent departures: ten trains daily during the summer season.
2000 At Kjosfossen waterfall, a large open terrace platform replaced the old station platform.
2005 Flåmsbana set a new record of 475,033 passengers.
2010 A new information system with LCD screens and computerised loudspeaker commentary was installed on the trains. This system gives our customers useful information about the journey along the way, with sound, text and images. Information is available in 15 different languages, though this is limited to a maximum of three different languages per carriage, per departure.
2010 The Flåm Railway has been chosen as one of the top 10 most beautiful train journeys in Europe by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
2011 The Society of International Railway Travelers proclaims the Flåm Railway to be one of the world's top 25 most beautiful train journeys.
2011 New passenger record: 618,557
2012 New passenger record: 635,368

New passenger record: 718,195


New passenger record: 781,427