Monday, September 17, 2012

A few Setesdal railway stations

Vennesla station as it was when the train was running, 1916

This old postcard photograph above is part of the collection of the Vennesla postcard club and shows the train station, as it was when it was in operation.  The station name has been written on the side of the building.  The photographer’s name and the date are handwritten on the train. 

Vennesla Railway Station as it is today, 2012
[photo:  courtesy of Rune Jensen]

I love these old train stations in Norway.  There are a number of them all along the route of the narrow gauge steam train than used to run in southern Norway.  The railway operated from 1895 until 1962 but has since been decommissioned, the tracks removed from part of the line and only a short section still exists with a train that runs in the summer as a heritage and tourist attraction.  Rune Jensen was kind enough to send me photos of several of the stations and I did notice that they seem to have been built from the same or similar plans.  Some are fairly large like the station at Vennesla, shown above, while others appear to be much smaller like the one at Røyknes seen further below.

Vennesla Station Pizzeria

The old stations have not been torn down but have been put to use in different ways.  Here we see another view of the Vennesla station that houses a Pizzeria today.  One of the other stations is being used as a library.

Røyknes station
[photo:  courtesy of Rune Jensen]

In the very early years there was only a shed at Røyknes then a station such as this one.  It is an example of one of the smaller stations.  The original structure was removed when the line closed in 1962 but an identical building was later moved here as part of the heritage project.

Today the station at Hægeland, seen below, is used as a souvenir and mineral shop.  The area around Hægeland, Hornnes, Iveland, and Evje had much mining.  Although no longer active at one time the area was known as the largest nickel producing area in northern Europe and had over 600 mines.*  The mining industry was one of the primary reasons the railroad was built.  But, of course, the train moved passengers and lumber as well as raw mineral ore.  Several of our ancestors worked either full or part time in the mining industry or for the railway.

Hægeland station
[photo:  courtesy of Rune Jensen]

Evje station, 1901
[photo:  courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Hornnes station 

Grovane station

When the train runs during the summer it goes between Grovane and  Røyknes.

The reason the stations look so similar is because they are all built from plans made by the same man, Paul Due.  Paul Due (1835-1919) was an architect who was born in Kristiansand and who had a long and varied career working in Norway and the United States.  Between 1890 and 1912, he worked for the Norwegian State Railways and designed more than 150 stations.  Most of the stations were wooden but a few like the one at Kristiansand were built of brick.

Kristiansand station

As befitting the size of the community, the station at Kristiansand is much larger than the others along the route.  The design of the two toned coloration on this much larger and more elaborate structure is carried through on the smaller wooden buildings.  While this brick building is red and white the wooden stations are red and yellow.  Usually passenger waiting areas and services were located on the lower floor while offices and storage rooms occupied the upper floor or floors.

Many thanks to Rune for sending the photos, information and links to information about the stations.

For more about Paul Due, see:
Additional links:



I have mentioned this before--a few years ago Alf Georg Kjetså and Kåre Hodne put together a documentary DVD about the railroad titled:  Jubileumsfilm Setesdalsbanen 100 År with  Olav Arne Kleveland as the commentator.  At one time it could be viewed on the Internet but I could not find it currently listed and don’t know if it is still available online.  The film is about 50 minutes in length, recalls the history, shows the stations, has many clips of the steam train, and all the beautiful scenery along the route.  An approximately 12 minute film by Hans Peters lets us experience a shorter ride complete with whistle, steam and accompanied by the clicks and clacks as the cars go along the tracks. 

To see the 12 min video and vicariously experience the train ride see:

*  The Flaat Nickelmine was once the largest nickelmine in northern Europe employing 350 men at one time in the mine and/or refinery.  The mine was more than 440m deep and reached below sea-level.  Today parts of the mine have been restored and it is open for public tours.  

No comments:

Post a Comment