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garcon59
Traveller
2 comments

Posted 1 week ago

My wife Anita are residents of Australia.  We are visiting Scandinavia to attend a Swimming Coaches Conference in Sweden in early January 2025.
Neither of us has previously visited Scandinavia and we are attempting to create a custom built itinerary.  We will be travelling on a Eurail Pass from Helsinki to Kemi on Thursday 19 December 2024.  We are also wanting to travel to Narvik and Tromso to arrive on Sunday 23 December.
I have been able to find details for travel from Kemi to Lulea or Boden.  It seems that a bus from Kemi to Haparanda to Lulea or Boden is the preferred solution.  Is there a better suggestion?
We are most likely to stay one night (most likely Saturday 21 December) in Boden and travel to Narvik the following morning.
Following my search I am not yet confident regarding rail travel from Lulea or Boden to Narvik at that time of the year. Is it possible to take this train in December?  If so are there any suggestions about where we should that we join the train - in Lulea or Boden?  Does the line include the Ofoten Line (from Riksgränsen to Narvik)?
It seems that a bus from Narvik to Tromso is the only solution.  Are you able to suggest bus companies for this sector?
I am seeking your assistance with the process of making bookings for these sectors of our trip.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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argon
Traveller
407 comments

replied 1 week ago

In all of Europe a major timetable change take place at 14.12 so the timetables are not already clear ! On thus Ironorelines , due to the heavy usage the lines are often closed for track maintanace , also the harsh weather conditions so far up in the winter often influences timetables . So do not wonder if the line closed shortly before your dep. . And I can confirm that your route is technically reliable . The Bus Narvik-Tromsø is operated by the local state-owend bus company called Fylkestarfikk . Look for Bus 100 and for prices and timetables at fylkestrafikk.no . Cherres argon :)

Oh and the Train from Luleå to Narvik is Rt.96 but as is said im not 100% sure that it will run ! For timetables and Tickets look at sj.se/en or/and sj.no/en

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Arend7
Traveller
620 comments

replied 1 week ago

and/or www.vy.no/en specially for Norway (trains and buses)

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nltrainer
Traveller
1375 comments

replied 1 week ago

Side note; BODen is a special status ´town´ (its a tiny village) with military status and restrictions on how long/where foreigners can stay. In general its just a place to change trains/bus.
In FI there are also a few trains to near the border. In SE there are since the change-date in dec ´23 again local trains Hpaparanda (=border place, also the place with the largest IKEA in the world) to Boden.
As above: even now there are partly BUS replacement along this iron line and noone knows how the situation will exactly be in dec. The only thing is yoyu can be sure there will be transport. Tipically-from other pists, you OZzies tend to think one has to organise and book this all monthes advance-this is complete nonsense and not even possible to do.

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garcon59
Traveller
2 comments

replied 1 week ago

Hi ntrainer. Well - thank you for responding. I appreciate your guidance in respect of Boden. I will therefore check for accommodation in Lulea. We will spend some time in Kemi before travelling to Lulea via Haparanda. I am unsure of the meaning of F1 and SE. I have encountered some problems with obtaining accommodation in Lapland which increased my anxiety in respect of the frequency of trains on the Iron Ore line. Your comments have given me some confidence regarding the lines being open. I have discovered that it is not possible to make rail bookings despite being able to purchase a Eurail Pass. I guess that Aussies travel a very long way when they visit Scandinavia and are cautious regarding being exposed to the weather if a transport connection is missed. Thanks again for your assistance and guidance! Please do not hesitate to provide any further information which you feel may enhance our travels. Best wishes. Gary.

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argon
Traveller
407 comments

replied 1 week ago

FI = Finnland SE = Sweden . Btw. Reservation for the trains there can be made at the carriers Website mostly by selecting Eurail as a discount .

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MisterSteve
Traveller
1030 comments

replied 1 week ago

my worry here is that the original question doesn't ask about repairs to the damaged railway - which suggests no knowledge of what has been going on and raises doubts about which sources have been used for research so far.

Yes, the line from Lulea to Narvik is the Ofoten Line in Norway but it has suffered two suspicious derailments , both of which caused massive damage and cut Sweden's ore mines off from Narvik port for months each time and cost Swedens millions of dollars a week. The investigations were openly considering Russian sabotage, possibly as retaliation for Sweden joining NATO. With the current security situation and need to increase ore shipments, do you think that convenience for tourists is going to be a high priority?

And on top of that, anyone seriously researching a railway tour in Sweden should have already run into the mass of complaints about the ineptitude at the track authority that leaves train operators unable to even issue timetables, never mind reservations, until a few weeks in advance.

What are you hoping to see on these train rides given that it will be dark for most of the time? At the latitude of Lulea or Kemi in that week in December there is THREE hours around midday between sunrise and sunset, by Gällivare on 23rd December sunrise and sunset are at the same time with just a few hours of twilight and Narvick and Tromso don't even get twilight, it's dark all day. The bus ride from Narvik to Tromso (in the dark) takes about 4 hours and costs about AU$60.

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garcon59
Traveller
2 comments

replied 1 week ago

Hi Steve. I appreciate your offering more detailed information. I did find an article which commented on a derailment on the Iron Ore Line but it suggested that the line was operational again. I have had difficulty with rail and bus reservations yet I have noticed accommodation is heavily booked especially in Rovamieni. The attraction in Tromso and to some extent the Ofoten Line is the Northern Lights. I have assumed the darkness but I am not sure how it will impact on our travelling. I guess that it will be a novel travel experience but I would not like to put my wife in harm's way. As well as the conference in Lund we will be visiting the Norwegian Fjordland and the Scandinavian cities and major attractions. We hope to return in Summer to experience a completely different Scandinavia. Thans again for your concern and advice. Best wishes. Gary

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argon
Traveller
407 comments

replied 1 week ago

Hotels in Rovaniemi are sell out because supposedly Santa Claus lives there so around Christmas there will be no unoccupied Beds :( .

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Baldie
Traveller
20 comments

replied 1 week ago

I am travelling by train in Scandinavia in September/October this year and have had no trouble booking on vy.no for Bergen-Oslo-Trondheim-Fauske legs. However the legs from Narvik-Lulea-Umea-Stockholm are a headache with vy.se, sj.se and norrtag.se, who run some trains in the north, giving conflicting information and schedules, with only one saying track work is planned for part of the journey on the day I wish to travel,. Schedules are hit and miss, appearing on the website one day and not the next. Swedish Railways appear to be in a mess, so garcon59 don't expect to find booking on this part of your adventure easy! By the way, if the northern part of bus route 100 is the same as Fauske to Narvik section you will not be able to book in advance, except within 30 minutes of departure on their app. I have been assured that if the bus is full and still have passengers wishing to travel, who have not booked, an extra bus will be laid on.