Route No. 29: “Night train to Narvik”


As a continuing feature we will be highlighting a selected route from our guidebook ‘Europe by Rail’ written by Nicky Gardner & Susanne Kries, every week.  Below is two small extracts from the book. To find out more, the guidebook can be purchased through our website for £15.99.

This week we are looking at: Route No. 29: “Night train to Narvik” which begins in Stockholm, passing through Boden and ending in Narvik with an optional bus onwards to the Lofoten Islands.

Whoever thought of building a railway over the mountains to Norway? It is an extraordinary route. The train takes over six hours from Boden to Narvik (ERT 765) – and with every mile that passes, the scenery gets better and better. Six hours of some of the most beguilingly beautiful landscape in Europe. Placid to begin with, to be sure, with more rocks and forest, but by now the birch trees have thinned out.

There is a lyrical quality to these northern landscapes, ever more so as the railway skirts the shoulders of mountains and creeps up narrow valleys where the hillsides tilt ever sharper. For over 50 kilometres the train runs along the south shore of Torneträsk, a magnificent glacial lake which is frozen for more than half the year. Black dots on the ice mark the spots where fishermen have carved holes in the ice and cast their rods in the hope of catching tonight’s supper.