The Ofoten Line

From Mountains to Fjords

A tale of nordic dreams and iron ores.

In the 19th century, tapping into northern Sweden's vast iron ore riches was no easy feat. The terrain posed difficulties, the weather was unforgiving, and the nearest port lay hundreds of kilometers away.

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During the construction phase, a team of laborers, known as navvies, toiled alongside horses and cooks.

Museum Nord

The Construction

This led to the birth of the Ofoten Line, a crucial railway connecting Kiruna's iron mines to the ice-free port of Narvik. Itinerant workers, so-called "navvies" sought their fortune in what was referred to as Europe's "Klondyke", and at most over 5,000 people were involved in the construction of the track. Building the railway was a colossal feat, ascending over 500 meters in just four miles and carved into a mountainside ledge above the fjord. Completed in 1902, the 168-kilometer engineering marvel finally unlocked Kiruna's iron reserves.

A Swedish electric locomotive of the Dm3 type pulls a train loaded with ore.

Museum Nord

Electrification & War

Initially, steam locomotives hauled iron-laden trains, managing the haul through winter's chill without a hitch. By 1923, the line switched to electric power for increased efficiency.

Beyond its engineering marvels, the Ofoten Line has a rich history. It was a critical strategic route during World War II, witnessing the Battle of Narvik's fierce combat, lending a dramatic narrative to the scenic railway.

An aerial view captures vast iron trains navigating rugged Nordic terrain.

Hilde Lillejord

Heavy Haul

Today, this railway remains vital, transporting 10-12 iron trains daily, each carrying 68 wagons laden with 100 tons of ore—enough for 68,000 cars! No wonder LKAB must use the strongest locomotives on the market. It's shipped over 1 billion tons of iron ore in its 120-year history. And it's not just ore; 90% of groceries from Southern to Northern Norway travel this route.

As you ride the Ofoten Line, you're journeying through history—from miners' dreams to wartime tales—amidst aweinspiring Nordic landscapes.

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