Raumabanen - the Golden Train

The beautiful train route that saved Norway's gold




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Raumabanen, also known as the Golden Train, is a captivating railway journey that winds through the stunning Romsdalen region in Norway. But this train ride is not only beautiful (Lonely Planet declared the Raumabanen as “the world’s most scenic train journey” in 2023), but this route is an important piece of Norway’s WWII history!

The Raumabanen covers a distance of approximately 115 kilometers between Dombås and  Åndalsnes. During this journey, the train passes through impressive mountains, sharp peaks, rivers, and waterfalls. The landscape is nothing short of breathtaking, with spectacular mountain formations, powerful waterfalls, and superb stone bridges. The wide Romsdal fjord adds to the visual splendor.

Worlds most scenic

In 2023, Lonely Planet declared the Raumabanen as “the world’s most scenic train journey. Traveling along this route promises unforgettable memories.

  • The Kylling Bridge, which spans the Verma waterfall, is a famous sight along the way.
  • Movie enthusiasts may recognise it from films like “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Mission Impossible 7,” and more.
  • Other film productions have also utilised the Rauma railway for its enchanting views.
  • The Trollveggen (Europe’s tallest vertical, overhanging rock face) is a symbol of the Rauma railway.
  • Nearby, you’ll catch glimpses of Trollstigen, Norway’s renowned tourist road.
  • Åndalsnes boasts a privileged location, earning it the title of “Norway’s peak capital.”
  • Tourists flock here to explore attractions like:
    • Trollstigen (driving through its impressive twists and turns).
    • Romdalseggen (a scenic hiking trail).
    • Romsdalen Gondola (up to Nesaksla).
    • Romsdal Stairs (made of stone) with breathtaking views from Rampestreken.

Remember to bring your camera along because the views from the train are truly enchanting! 🚂🌄

WWII is upon us!

Just as the train ride is a beautiful experience, the history of the transport of the Norwegian gold reserve on this very rail route is equally exciting. In April 1940, during a cold and snowy morning, Germany invaded Oslo, marking Norway’s entry into World War II. One of Germany’s primary objectives was to seize Norway’s vast gold reserve. However, a group of brave Norwegian soldiers and volunteers refused to stand idly by. Operating under the secret code name “The Heavy Luggage,” they took it upon themselves to transport 50 tons of gold out of Oslo and to safety. Just half an hour before the Germans marched down Karl Johan street, the last of 26 lorries left with a total of 1503 boxes of gold bars, and 39 barrels filled with gold coins!

The escape plan involved several stages:
Oslo – Åndalsnes: As enemy bombs rained down over Norway, the gold was initially transported by trucks from Oslo to Lillehammer. From there, it continued its journey by train on the Rauma Railway. The enemy was in close pursuit as the steam train sped through the valley and rolled into Åndalsnes Station.

Fleeing: A few days later, the escape continued with the help from the 26 truck drivers. However, enemy planes began dropping bombs all around them. The Norwegians decided to go into hiding until it was safe, but the planes persisted. Despite the danger, they pressed on with the dangerous journey.

Success: Eventually, they managed to load the gold onto ships in Molde, some 100 km away from Åndalsnes, although this had to be done in several instances due to aerial attacks. On May 24th, even after two encounters with bombers, the gold arrived safely in England. From there, it was transported to the USA and Canada. The operation was a resounding success, with Norway retaining control of its gold holdings.
A remarkable tale of courage and determination! 🌟

PS! If you find this story interesting, the Norwegian TV broadcaster NRK wrote a fascinating feature on their website. (Unfortunately only available in Norwegian…)

In addition, Viaplay has made a documentary about the escape called «Flukten med Norges gull» (The secape with Norway’s gold»

YouTube video by Fern Bahn

Other locations in this part of Norway:

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