The DS Skibladner operates on Lake Mjøsa, Norway's biggest lake. It was built in 1856 and rebuilt in 1888 when it was lenghthened by 6.5 metres. It has a length of 54 metres, and a width of 5.4 metres.

It was originally built to complement Norway's first railway, and for some years acted as an essential link between the standard gauge railway from Oslo which then terminated at Eidsvoll, and the 3 ft 6 in gauge railway running north from Hamar. The boat still operates on this route.

In 1888 it was fitted with a triple-expansion steam engine, which it still has. It has a crew of between 6 and 16, and the maximum number of passengers is 270. It has a dining room accommodating up to 70 people, three lounges, and a cafeteria and souvenir shop.

The DS Skibladner has been carefully and sensitively restored to reflect its nineteenth century heritage.

My journey on Skibladner lasted 7-3/4 hours, starting at Hamar and travelling to Lillehammer and return. On the way the boat called in at Gjøvik and Moelv. Passengers were picked up and dropped off at each of these places, and many passengers travelled for short distances.

Everything about this trip was an absolute delight, including dinner in the dining room. It is obvious the crew love the boat and have a great pride in it.

Frank Stamford

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The DS Skibladner approaching Hamar.

The relaxed journey gives an excellent opportunity to view the townships along the way.

Another view.

At this early stage of the journey there were not many passengers on board, at least on this part of the boat.

Leading to bridge

View from the boat.

bridge pier

There are a number of small islands in the lake, and speed boats are popular.

View of the main crank shaft of the engine. This part of the boat was decidedly warm so was avoided during the heat of the afternoon, but was a good place to be in the early evening when the outside temperature had fallen. The gentle wuff-wuff-wuff sounds from the engine was magnificent, a total contrast to the constant deep rumble and vibration of the diesel engines in the express boats on the west coast.

One of the passenger saloons on board.

Some typical farm buildings painted in the traditional red and white colours.

The dining room, which seats up to 70 people.

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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford, 2008, who may be contacted by email at:

Last updated: 27 August 2008