The Krøderen Railway (Krøderbanen) is a 26 km long standard-gauge railway, and is the longest preserved railway in Norway.

It runs from Vikersund along the valley of the Snarum River to Krøderen. At Krøderen there were transfer facilities to steamboats which operated on Lake Krøderen to the township of Gulsvik, a 2-1/2 hour trip. The steamboat service ended in 1925.

There are no major bridges, and no tunnels, but there are sharp curves (188 metres or 9 chains radius). The steepest grade is 1 in 45 (2.22%), but in the direction of most traffic, (Krøderen to Vikersund) the steepest grade is 1 in 71 (1.4%).

Like many Norwegian railways the railway was originally built to 3 ft 6 in gauge, and most of the traffic was timber. It was opened in 1872, and during its 3 ft 6 in gauge days motive power was provided by Beyer Peacock 2-4-0T locomotives.

Perhaps the railway's greatest claim to fame happened in an eighteen-month period in 1908 to 1909 when it formed part of the main route between Oslo (then known as Kristiania) and Bergen.

Passengers travelled by 3 ft 6 in gauge train from Kristiania to Krøderen, then by steam boat to Gulsvik, from where they joined a standard gauge train on the new railway to Bergen. This interesting operation ceased late in 1909 when the standard-gauge Bergen railway via Roa was completed, and the Krøderen railway reverted to being a quiet branchline.

Late in 1909 the railway was converted to standard gauge. This was not necessitated by the level of traffic, but because other railways in the area were being converted.

Due to falling timber traffic the railway closed in 1985. However before this plans were made to preserve the line, and veteran trains began running in 1977. Today the line is operated by the Norwegian Railway Club (Norsk Jernbaneklubb - NJK).

 

The management of the Krøderen railway is very heritage conscious. This extends to restoration of the telephone and telegraph line and equipment, the restoration of goods rolling stock, and the presentation of the stations — both inside and outside.

On my first tripin 2008 the train consisted of five wooden bodied teak coaches hauled by a 2-8-0 loco. On my second, in 2010, the loco was the same, but the train now had seven teak coaches. The pace was slow — the track is light — and the scenery attractive — stoney creeks, wide river, general views of valleys with houses and farms, and lots of trees and forests.

I saw three intermediate stations, all restored to original condition.

Frank Stamford

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The loco at Vikersund, the junction station with the mainline. It is a light-weight 2-8-0 of the NSB 24b class (NSB = Norges Statsbaner — Norwegian State Railways). The rails are only 25 kg/m (50 lb/yd) and the maximum axle load of the locomotive is only 11 tons. This compares to 13-1/2 tons for a Victorian Railways K class, and 15-1/2 tons for an NSWGR 50 class - so it is a quite small 2-8-0.

Vikersund station, shown above, is the junction station for the Krøderen railway. It is now used almost exclusively by the Krøderen railway. It dates from 1866 being one of the original stations on the Drammen—Randsfjord railway, which was Norway's third 3ft 6in gauge railway and the first to use the famous Norwegian chopper coupling. It was also the first to use the classic Beyer, Peacock 2-4-0T locomotives of the type later adopted on the Isle of Man. Like most Norwegian nineteenth-century railway stations, Vikersund is very well built. Today it is on the route of mainline trains between Oslo and Bergen.

Sysle is one of the intermediate stations between Vikersund and Krøderen. Each is maintained in the way they would have appeared when the railway operated normally, even down to luggage waiting to be picked up.

The train at Krøderen station.

Like many small Norwegian stations, the architecture of Krøderen station is interesting. The building dates from the line's opening in 1872, when it was 3 ft 6 in gauge.

A number of traditional enamel signs are displayed on the station and goods shed.

Inside the station in the ticket-office area. Note the timber-lined ceiling and the light fitting.


Great care has been taken with the interior of the station, which is open to the public, to retain the period atmosphere.


Telegraph equipment in the station office.

Leading to bridge

All brass and wood — a beautiful piece of Morse telegraphy equipment.

bridge pier

More brass and wood — the telegraph key.


This is where the work is done. The poystyrene coffee cup is about the only item out of period.

Krøderen station yard, the closest building is the goods shed, dating from when the line opened in 1872. A museum has been set up in this.

This Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST loco of 1892, was on display in the goods shed when I visited in 2008. The loco is an ex-NSB shunting loco, and still operates occasionally on the Krøderen railway.

On my visit in 2010 a 2-6-0 locomotive occupied this location. Due to cramped conditions and low light, photography was difficult. (For the technically minded, this photograph was taken at f4, 1/15 second, 6400 ISO, using a Pentax K20D with a 16 to 45mm zoom lens set at 16mm. PT-Lens software was subsequently used to correct barrel distortion which is unavoidable in a zoom lens at such wide angle).

The builder's plate of the 2-6-0 loco.

The 2-8-0 loco.

At Krøderen station.

One of the passenger cars.

Opposite the station is Lake Krøderen. Until 1925 steamboats left from here for a 2-1/2 hour journey to Gulsvik.

The loco water tank.

The engine shed.

A beautifully restored goods van, with brakeman's hut.

And a restored goods wagon.

Links:

Krøder Line - Wikipedia entry - in English

Krøderbanen - in Norwegian

Krøderbanen Museum - in Norwegian and English


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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford, 2010, who may be contacted by email at: frank.stamford@bigpond.com

Last updated: 28 October 2012