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"They call us the queens of the railway."
You aren't seeing double …
… meet Gudrun …
… and her twin sister, Halldis.
"I originally planned to be a teacher, but one day I was sitting outside my grandmother's house, where the railway passes by, reading the newspaper. I saw an ad where it said they were looking for a train drive. Just then, a train passed by and I heard its whistle blow,” says Gudrun Folkedal.
"I thought: This is a sign from the railway Gods," says Gudrun.
Now, almost ten years later, she still doesn’t regret her choice. Gudrun found her dream job.
"All the happy people … and the nature, especially the nature in the western part of the country, is very beautiful. I love my job," says Gudrun.
The Bergen Railway is one of Gudrun’s regular routes. Today, she’s seated in one of the passenger seats, while Halldis Folkedal, her twin sister, drives the train from Oslo in Eastern Norway to Bergen on the west coast.
The journey takes between six and a half and seven and a half hours.
Join the twins on the ride and get insider tips on must-see places and activities along the way.
Halldis has been a train driver for almost five years. Although she has a master's degree in dance, she also wanted to try something new, just like her twin sister.
"The train driver profession was tempting. Besides, you get up close to nature," Halldis explains.
With stations located high up in the mountains, valleys with vegetation that changes colour with the seasons, and shimmering fjords dotting the route, being a train driver gives you a front row seat to the best Norwegian nature.
If you're lucky, you can even spot reindeer, moose, or fox.
It's easy to see why the Bergen Railway is frequently named one of the top scenic train journeys in the world.
Being able to transport passengers and cargo in a greener way is also meaningful to Halldis.
"Taking the train is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel," she says.
"It feels powerful to steer such a massive vehicle."
In Norway the twins are known as lokfører-tvillingene, ‘the train driver twins'.
The staff at the stations and the other train drivers even have a special way of greeting the famous twins: with a bow that's fit for the queens of the railway.
The "Locomotwins" have both Twitter and Instagram accounts, where everyone can follow them on their journeys through Norway:
"We like to say we have the best office view in the world."
The Bergen Railway: a line full of history
The Bergen Railway has provided a link between Western and Eastern Norway for more than a century. Although the railway opened in 1909, its planning dates all the way back to 1871.
It’s estimated that as many as 2,400 railway workers (called rallare, or navvies in English) worked on building the line. Mountainous terrain along the route complicated the building process, especially at the 100-kilometre-long high-altitude stretch between Mjølfjell and Geilo.
"It was engineering art at it’s finest when they built it. We are proud of the railway," Halldis says.
A long construction road was built along the route to transport equipment and food during the building of the Bergen Railway. The road is called Rallarvegen, the Navvy Road, and is now one of Norway’s most popular cycling routes in the summer.
The 82-kilometre route runs from Haugastøl via Finse, and takes you through scenic mountain landscapes down to the small village of Flåm by the Sognefjord. Or you can cycle to Voss.
"If you wave at the train while biking along Rallarvegen, the train driver will greet you by sounding the whistle," says Gudrun.
The journey from Oslo to Bergen with the Bergen Railway takes about seven hours. It's a trip that’s been voted one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys.
With almost 500 kilometres of railway, you have a unique opportunity to experience the great variation in the dramatic Norwegian landscape.
The journey goes from an urban environment in Oslo through a highlight reel of Norwegian nature: forested valleys, stunning fjords, and Northern Europe’s largest mountain plateau, Hardangervidda.
Since the weather in Norway varies a lot throughout the year, a ride with the Bergen Railway provides completely different experiences depending on the season in which you travel.
"The railway connected Norway. Made it whole."
Today, the Bergen Railway is a part of one of Norway’s most popular round trips: Norway in a nutshell.
Most people start their trip in Bergen or Oslo, and switch trains to take the world famous Flåmsbana Railway at Myrdal station, where an old-fashioned train takes you through as many as 20 tunnels, all the way down to the fjord village of Flåm, where you can take a cruise on the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord and other fjord branches nearby.
It's also possible to start your trip in Voss, Geilo or Flåm, and customise the route, length and activities as you like. The round trip is a comfortable and environmentally friendly way to experience Norway.
Read more and get ready for a unique journey through Norway:
Many of the train stations along the Bergen Railway are situated at epic locations, with lots of activities and things to see nearby. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, disembark and take a break from your journey at one (or several) of the stations, to get the full experience.
Here are the main tourist stops along the Bergen Railway:
Everything you need to know about taking the railway between Oslo and Bergen:
Find tickets, timetables and more information about the Bergen Railway at VY.
If you don't need your own compartment while travelling, you can book lie-flat seats with the PlusNight ticket.
Ride the Bergen Railway with one of Norway’s most popular round trips: Norway in a nutshell.
Long-distance trains take you to almost every corner of Norway.
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