Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line

Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line

Infobox rail line
name = Kirkenes–Bjørnevatnbanen

caption = The port at Kirkenes was the northern terminus of the railway
type = Railway
system = Bjørnevatn Mine
status =
start = Kirkenes
end = Bjørnevatn
stations = 0
open = 1910
close = 1997
owner = Sydvaranger
operator = Sydvaranger
character = Iron ore
stock =
linelength = 12 km
tracklength =
notrack = Single
gauge = RailGauge|sg
el = No
speed =
elevation = |

The Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line ( _no. Kirkenes–Bjørnevatnbanen), sometimes also called Sydvarangerbanen, is an abandoned railway between the port at Kirkenes and the mine at Bjørnevatn in Sør-Varanger, Norway. Opened in 1910, the single track railway was used exclusively for ore-hauling freight trains. The line was the most northerly in the world until it was closed in 1997 when the mines were abandoned.

Rolling stock

The railway started out with steam locomotive pulled trains. Unlike other mining railways in Norway, like the Ofot Line, Thamshavn Line and Rjukan Line, Kirkenes-Bjørnevatn Line was never electrified. After World War II the company ordered two General Motors Electro-Motive Division G12 locomotives, built in 1954 and 1956. The company also operated one smaller engine. The only engine to survive is one G12 that is stored at Bjørnevatn.

Possible expansion

There are short term plans to open up the mine at Bjørnevatn again. The reason is increased iron prices. Then the railway will probably be used again. An Australian company, Northern Iron Limited has already financed it through a stock emission. [ [ Drift i gruva fra 2009 - ] ]

There are longer term plans to connect the line to the Russian Railways at Nikel, only 40 km away from Kirkenes, to allow Russia access to the ice-free port at Kirkenes. The line has been under consideration since 1992, and is far from any final decision. The basis for the new port at Kirkenes is the full capacity of the ports in Murmansk and Archangelsk and will possibly concentrate on export of coal, petroleum and containers with import of grains. [cite web |url= |title=Kirkenes Havn og Jernbanetilknytning |author=Municipality of Sør-Varanger |language=Norwegian |accessdate=2007-02-24] . This decision and its financing must be made by the Russian organisations involved. This would require the railway to be converted from standard gauge (1435 mm) to russian gauge (1520 mm).

During World War II the Nazi German occupants of Norway to connect Kirkenes and Kirkenes-Bjørnevatnbanen to the Norwegian railway network by extending the railway from Grong to Kirkenes, a stretch almost 2000 km long. Only parts of the Nordland Line were finished before the end of the war.


External links

* [ pictures of the Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line] no icon

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