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The "Rallarvägen", Kiruna-Narvik Railroad Line

Abisko - Tornehamn - E10 crossing (16 km)

This trail is part of the Nordkalottleden. It follows the E10 street and the Kiruna - Narvik Railroad Line, sometimes not far from both. Perhaps you will not hike this section, but rather take a bus or a train or hitchhike parts of it. Perhaps you have arrived here after hiking a longer distance from the north or south, and being back to civilization now, you might stay in the Abisko - Björkliden area for some days of sightseeing and recovering. As the trail is very easy, I just describe the interesting points that you can reach from the trail respectively from the street. You can bike it, too, it is easy between Abisko and Tornehamn, and the path gets more narrow beyond Tornehamn to the north, but is probably still bikeable.

The trail can be recommended especially if you are interested in railroads and their history. It touches some historic sites and therefore it has been named "Rallarvägen". "Rallare" was the name for the navvies that constructed the railroad around 1900.

 

The top of Njoulja is an excellent viewpoint in good weather. To get there is a easy if you take the cableway and hike the rest up to 1169 m within 45 minutes. You can overlook the vast Torneträsk lake and the mountain areas.

 

The sign "Rakasjakk" at the street near Björkliden points to a 15 min walkway down to the Silverfallet and the shoreline of the Torneträsk, a picturesque place.

 

Björkliden is a little village with a hotel, railroad station, other accomodations, few shops and some houses, and from the Hotel Fjället you have a pretty view on the railroad.

 

This ancient building in Björkliden served as an officer's mess for the railroad staff in the early years of the railroad. It is preserved as "Gammelgarden" hotel.

 

The Björkliden railroad station is a nice wooden building with a shop, and if you don't need any provisions, you could at least buy a cinnamon roll.

 

We sat here for a while, and luckily our train to Kiruna was late, so I had enough time to take more pictures of the iron ore trains.

 

Tornehamn was a town and a real port at that time, where ships brought material for the railroad. Short hikes lead to a chapel and a graveyard.

42 navvies who died during the years of railroad construction have been buried here.

If you can read Swedish and like to do your own research in railroad history, here is an interesting article that is available in the libraries of bigger STF stations:
"När världens nordligaste järnväg bygges" av J. Stadling, STF Arsskrift 1900, p. 220-236. ("Constructing the world's northernmost railroad", by J. Stadling, STF Yearbook 1900)


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