- Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line
Infobox rail line
name = Kirkenes–Bjørnevatnbanen
caption = The port at
Kirkeneswas the northern terminus of the railway
stations = 0
open = 1910
close = 1997
operator = Sydvaranger
linelength = 12 km
notrack = Single
gauge = RailGauge|sg
el = No
elevation = |
The Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line ( _no. Kirkenes–Bjørnevatnbanen), sometimes also called Sydvarangerbanen, is an abandoned
railwaybetween the portat Kirkenesand the mine at Bjørnevatnin 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.
The railway started out with
steam locomotivepulled trains. Unlike other mining railways in Norway, like the Ofot Line, Thamshavn Lineand Rjukan Line, Kirkenes-Bjørnevatn Line was never electrified. After World War IIthe 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.
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 Limitedhas already financed it through a stock emission. [ [http://www.finnmarken.no/lokale_nyheter/article3181846.ece Drift i gruva fra 2009 - finnmarken.no ] ]
There are longer term plans to connect the line to the
Russian Railwaysat Nikel, only 40 km away from Kirkenes, to allow Russia access to the ice-free portat 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 Murmanskand Archangelskand will possibly concentrate on export of coal, petroleumand containers with import of grains. [cite web |url=http://www.wpk.no/Rapport.pdf |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).
World War IIthe Nazi Germanoccupants of Norway to connect Kirkenes and Kirkenes-Bjørnevatnbanen to the Norwegian railway network by extending the railway from Grongto Kirkenes, a stretch almost 2000 km long. Only parts of the Nordland Linewere finished before the end of the war.
* [http://www.jernbane.net/norge/langslinjen/sydvaranger/index.asp Jernbane.net pictures of the Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line] no icon
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