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Panoramabilde av et landskap hvor et langt tog med jernmalm kjører
Photo: Hilde Lillejord, Bane NOR

Monument to the Ofotbanen

In March 2013 Tekna built a monument to honor the workers and engineers who in 1900 constructed what was called at the time a “technological masterpiece”.

Because Narvik had an ice-free harbor, iron ore from the mines in Kiruna needed to be transported there so it could be shipped out to other parts of the world.

The «Ofotbanen» (also known as Ofoten Line or Arctic Train) is 42 km long, has 20 tunnels and rises 515 meters (1.7%) from Narvik to Norway’s national border located at Bjørnefjell. It was opened to the public in 1902, when the Swedish and Norwegian railways were officially connected to one another. The track was inaugurated by King Oscar II on 14 July 1903.

In 1898, the Swedish and Norwegian Parliaments determined that railway construction on the Gällivare – Kiruna – Ofoten line was to be carried out with financing from both governments. This was to be the start of the largest Swedish-Norwegian construction project that has ever been completed in the area north of the Arctic Circle.

Construction on the Norwegian side was completed under the direction of Norwegian State Railways. At its busiest, the project had more than 1,500 workers on site. The tunnels were first dug out by hand through the strenuous efforts of strong railway workers. But faster progress was required, and electricity was necessary for providing power to electrical compressors that could push massive drills through the mountain rock.

So Hundalsfossen power station  was built during 1900-1901, providing these drills with power and increasing production tenfold.

This was yet another example of a masterpiece created with the help of advanced technology.

panoramabilde over et snølandskap, hvor et tog med jernmalm kjører
The Ofotbanen rises 515 meters (1.7%) from Narvik to the national border located at Bjørnefjell. Photo: Hilde Lillejord, Bane NOR

The majority of traffic on the line carries iron ore and pellets from LKAB’s mines in Kiruna. There are 15.9 million tons of goods shipped per year on the Ofotbanen. That’s more than all the other freight traffic shipped by railway in Norway combined. A freight train travels daily from Oslo to Narvik on this line. Passenger traffic is increasing as well, not least because of tourism. All in all, the Ofotbanen is Norway’s most profitable railway line ever built.

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