Nordland Line: The Trondheim to Bodø Railway

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Introducing Norway’s Nordland line. SJ Nord now run the Nordland line, which offers long-distance train travel from Trondheim past the Arctic circle to Bodø.

At 729km and taking almost ten hours, the Nordland line is Norway's longest single train journey. The railway crosses 293 bridges, ploughs through 154 tunnels and crosses the Arctic circle on its epic journey northwards from Trondheim to Bodø.

The Nordland Line. Photo: Anders Haukland / Shutterstock.com.
The Nordland Line. Photo: Anders Haukland / Shutterstock.com.

While not as visually appealing as the Oslo to Bergen route, it’s still an undoubted highlight among Norway trains.

Known in Norwegian as Nordlandsbanen, the route still provides a glimpse into rural Norwegian life as it meanders its way north through industrial towns and small villages and past an ever-changing landscape.

And of course, it crosses the Arctic Circle on the journey, adding a certain allure to the route for international travellers.

The Trondheim to Bodø schedule

Since June 2020, SJ Nord have operated trains on the Nordland line. As before, the train runs the entire length of the line between Bodø and Trondheim just twice per day.

At the time of writing, a train leaves Trondheim at 7.49am and arrives into Bodø at 5.44pm. There's also a night train leaving Trondheim at 11.05pm, which arrives into Bodø at 9.05am.

Bodø railway station
An old NSB train at Bodø station.

From Bodø there is a day departure at 12.27pm arriving into Trondheim at 10.13pm. The night train leaves Bodø at 9.10pm and arrives into Trondheim at 7.14am. Times are subject to change, of course.

SJ Nord puts advance tickets on sale 90 days before departure. Prices start from around NOK 600 and rise the closer it is to the departure date. Seat reservations are mandatory.

As with other long-distance trains in Norway, the additional investment for a “Comfort” class seat is a wise investment. For about an additional NOK 150, you get a more comfortable seat, in-seat power to charge your phone, and free hot drinks throughout the journey.

A different experience

The journey isn't as famous as some of Norway's other railway lines, but it still offers much of interest along the route. There's mountainous scenery, rivers, bridges, and small communities all along the route.

Nordland Line
Snow on the Nordland line (Photo: Wikipedia)

It's a different story in the winter, when blankets of snow can create a stunning vista – for as long as there is daylight to see it, of course!

The crossing of the Saltfjellet mountain offers the best scenery, whatever time of year. In the late winter and spring, the mountain is a true winter wonderland.

Locals use this service to travel between the towns and remote villages along the line, while many tourists are making the long overland journey to the Lofoten islands.

From Bodø, two different ferries leave for different parts of the islands, so Bodø has become a popular stopping point for those heading there.

Why visit Bodø?

While a long way from being a tourist highlight of Norway, Bodø itself is an interesting town especially if you have an interest in war history. Some of the city's museums tell the story of how Bodø suffered in the Second World War.

View from Radisson Blu Bodø
Downtown Bodø.

I recommend checking out the Norwegian Aviation Museum, which covers all aspects of civil aviation along with a military exhibit. Although a little pricey at NOK 175, the entrance fee includes a guided tour in English during July.

If you're looking to stay longer, consider the Radisson Blu Hotel complete with sky bar that offers this great view across the city and to the mountains beyond:

Bodø is also within easy reach of Saltstraumen, one of the world's strongest tidal currents. Whirlpools up to ten metres in diameter are formed when the current is at its strongest. It's a truly curious sight.

Trips by inflatable RIB boat from the city are popular throughout the year, especially with those arriving on a Hurtigruten ship. If you're driving you have the benefit of being able to move around the area and see the phenomenon from all angles.

Has this article got you interested in visiting the north? Or perhaps you want to find out more about the railways? Whatever your interest, we’ve got more articles for you! Read more on a weekend in Bodø or more on rail travel in Norway.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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