This is an incredibly beautiful journey and, when taken in summer, the light evenings ensure that you miss nothing. The train transports you through pine forests, across foothills and alongside fjords and rivers. This sea of green and blue is broken only by the occasional red wooden farmstead. It is a curious feeling to head towards something that you will never see, but the Arctic Circle announces itself in many ways. As you head north, the light changes imperceptibly. The snow, which was confined to the mountain tops moves ever nearer, whilst on the track the wooden tunnels, constructed to protect the line from avalanches, grow more numerous.
As the signs of human habitation thin out and the mountains get more rugged, the landscape becomes ever more hypnotic. Thoughts turn to wildlife watching and there is every chance that you will spot a majestic reindeer in its natural surroundings. The Arctic Circle is heralded not only by a hoot of the train's whistle and two cairns on the side of the track, but by curious rituals on the train. A party spirit suddenly erupts; some partake in illicit drinking, while others share food and sometimes kissing breaks out as though it were New Year's Eve.
It does feel significant to have crossed 'the line' and it is always interesting to watch the impromptu ceremonies that mark it. The final steep descent takes you from Arctic tundra towards the blue Atlantic Ocean. This is as far north as the railway goes and as the charming town of Bodo comes into view, you are left with the feeling that you have taken more than just a train journey.
WHEN TO GO
Year round; May to August have longer days.
TIME IT TAKES
Around ten hours
The journey over three marvellous mountain ranges.
If you are lucky enough or stay long enough - the Northern lights (September to March).
Bodo Domkirke - a modern Cathedral in Gothic style.
Nordlandmuseet - a museum recording local life.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
If travelling in high summer (June or July) the train can get crowded; also advance booking of a hotel room in Bodo is recommended.Hotels in Trondheim and Bodo