Today in Transportation History – 1872: A New Railway Line in South Norway Debuts

A new railway line made its official debut in south Norway. The Krøderen Line, spanning 16 miles (26 kilometers) from the Krøderen lake to the town of Vikersund, was built as a narrow-gauge branch line of the Radsfjorden Line. The formal opening of the Krøderen Line took place without any fanfare; the actual celebration for the new line had been held more than a week earlier when King Oscar II visited the area. (The United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway in existence at that time shared the same monarch, so Oscar II was the king of both countries.) The festivities held during his visit included giving him a guided tour of the Randsfjord railway station, located along the Randsfjorden lake and specially decorated for the occasion.

For much of the 19th century, the main means of transportation for this part of Norway had been ships and horse-drawn carriages. Starting in the early 1850s, however, serious consideration was given to creating a railway line in the region. This led to the construction of the Radsfjorden Line, which was completed in 1868 and connected the city of Drammen with the Randsfjorden lake. Carl Abraham Pihl, a civil engineer, and Norway’s first railway director-general, subsequently initiated efforts to build a branch line.

Construction on the Krøderen Line began during the spring of 1870 and it proved to be a lot easier said than done. The challenges faced by those building the line included the 16 sharp curves and generally tough terrain along the planned route.

The Krøderen Line served as a means of transportation for the general public, but its main traffic was freight. Timber, in particular, was the line’s principal source of revenue. Passenger trains remained in regular service on the Krøderen Line until 1958. Steam-powered freight trains continued to travel on the Krøderen Line until 1967, with their diesel-powered counterparts ceasing operations on the line in 1985. The Krøderen Line has since found a new life as a heritage railway line jointly operated by the Krøderen Line Foundation and the Norwegian Railway Club. Steam-powered passenger trains now run on the line each year between May and October.

For more information on the Krøderen Line, please check out

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