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TRAVELOGUE: The End and the Beginning of the Norwegian Railway Is in Bodø

TRAVELOGUE: The End and the Beginning of the Norwegian Railway Is in Bodø
foto: RAILTARGET/TRAVELOGUE: The End and the Beginning of the Norwegian Railway Is in Bodo
24 / 08 / 2023

RAILTARGET presents an exclusive travelogue series about rail travel in the North. It is the first in a series of articles describing rail travel in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark using fresh personal experiences. Norway's northbound railway ends, but it also begins. Specifically in the town of Bodø, a city of 50,000. The only railway line leading southwards from here. This line would usually take you to Trondheim, 700 kilometers to the south, but it won't be that easy.

Our first stop was the town of Bodø

In Bodø, in addition to tourist attractions such as the midnight sun, which can be seen between mid-June and July, and cruise ships, you can also see one of the northernmost railway stations in Norway. Even though the line starting from Bodø is located above the Arctic Circle, it is equipped with ETCS level 2, as evidenced by the unmissable balises, as the line is heavily used for freight traffic. In contrast, there are minimal passenger trains. Apart from the regional service, there is one day and one night train to Trondheim, in which, ironically, only two of the eight carriages are sleeper cars, and the rest are 'seats' and a dining car. It is worth noting that both long-distance and regional trains are permanently equipped with a plow. For the record, Bodø is not the northernmost railway station in Norway. The line also goes to the more northerly Narvik but runs to Sweden. From Narvik, there are night trains to Stockholm.

Track starting from Bodø

Trip to Trondheim

After a day in Bodø, we headed south on the daily train to Trondheim. Well, we were supposed to take the train, but due to a closure, a bus was running between Bodø and Mosjoeen stations. The reason for this was that this line is operated by SJ Nord, which is a subsidiary of the rail carrier SJ owned by the Swedish state, and so, of course, doesn't have spare trains in Bodø when, as in this case, one of its trains breaks down. Replacing the train with buses was quite staff intensive as three buses were running in total, and each bus had to have two drivers so they could take turns and not have to hold a safety break.

Regional transport in Bodø

We left Bodø at 12.17 p.m. The bus had power sockets, a toilet, and a working air conditioner, which was not strictly necessary given the temperature outside, which was barely above 14 degrees. The views from the bus were truly breathtaking. More than once one felt like they were in no man's land, interspersed here and there by a solitude or a small village. Despite the direction we were traveling, the mobile phone was happily showing a full signal for almost the entire journey. Through this desolate but beautiful landscape, we gradually approached Mosjoeen, where it was time to change trains.

Night train to Trondheim

However, there was also a spare train from Mosjoeen. Inside the train, there were vending machines where you could buy cold and hot drinks and small snacks. In the vending machines, you could only pay by card. Unfortunately, the replacement train did not have a first-class or a dining car, which the train was originally supposed to offer. Despite this, it had power sockets and a Wi-Fi connection, and the conductor distributed free sweet rolls and water.

Bus between Bodø and Mosjoeen

This unit was manufactured by Stadler, based on the Stadler Flirt unit, which is also used by Leo Express in the Czech Republic. The unit we rode was modified for the specific conditions in the Nordic countries. Since this line is not electrified, the set was diesel, or rather it was a DMU unit or a diesel unit with electric power transmission.

Breathtaking views from the bus on the way to Mosjoeen

The Bodø - Trondheim line is compulsory seating, but as there was a spare train, everyone sat where they saw fit. According to the timetable, the train was scheduled to arrive in Trondheim at 22.13 hrs, and it eventually arrived about ten minutes late.


Travel tip: If you are going to the Arctic Circle in summer, pack your sunglasses as the sunlight is unusually low.