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I love trees, do you?

Wise words from Anna – King’s Lynn politicians take note!

I don’t get why the politicians in my municipality Trosa keeps erase our forests. They think building houses is top priority. They don’t care for the climate changes at all. They keep b…

Source: I love trees, do you?

Written by thomassutcliffe

May 28, 2016 at 7:23 am

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Inlandsbanan 8: Tis Better to Travel Hopefully Than to Arrive

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden, and the end of the sub-series of posts about my northward journey along Inlandsbanan.

THE JOURNEY

By this stage we were nearing the end of the journey from Ostersund to Gallivare, although there was still the second meal stop to come. In the brief period between restarting the trip from the edge of the arctic circle and arriving at Vaikijaur for the second meal stop we passed a place called Jokkmokk.

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Vaikijaur was not especially memorable, although the food was excellent. Here are the pictures I took.

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A side view of this quirky little building

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The front view

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The people who had produced our food.

We had no further significant stops before Gallivare although we did pass through a town called Porjus. The train pulled into the platform at Gallivare exactly as scheduled at 21:39. Here are the photos of the last part of the journey…

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SLEEPLESS IN GALLIVARE

I had booked two nights at the Hotel Dundret i Centrum, planning then to take a morning train to Lulea on the Gulf of Bothnia and then an overnight train from Lulea to Uppsala, birthplace of Carolus Linnaeus also known as Carl Von Linne. However, while I located the establishment in question, there was no one at reception, and it turned out that to gain access my room I needed to make a call on a mobile phone (had booking.com mentioned this detail I would have booked somewhere else) and I had accidentally left mine at the flat in Stockholm where my cousin and his fiance live. I waited a few minutes in the very unimpressive communal seating area just in case but it was soon obvious that no one would show up.

While I could have sat there until the morning doing so would then involve having an argument over payment because there was no way I would pay for a night in which I had not access to my room, so I decided to cut my losses and headed back to the station to wait the night out. Before continuing this story here is the one photo I took in Gallivare (I knew the camera battery was low, and that I would not be able to charge it that night).

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This sculpture is on the roundabout just opposite the station in Gallivare.

I did make a couple of attempts to get some sleep but they were unsuccessful. I was thankful that I had had the foresight to pack a long sleeved top just in case the Swedish summer weather was not quite as good as it might be, since while it does not get dark in Gallivare in August it does get quite nippy at night (as a cricket fan I would have said that the light was  never even at its least good unplayable in). Had the sky been clear I might have had a glimpse of the famous midnight sun, but as it was solidly cloudy I was denied even that small pleasure.

At 6 o’clock I was able to get inside and think about my next move. Having ascertained that train tickets could be bought at the Pressbyran next to the station, which was now open, I paid for a ticket on 7:08 train to Lulea (the full price since I did not wish to burn a whole day’s travel for a shortish journey – btw train tickets are one of the few things that are not more expensive in Sweden than in GB – the Swedes don’t have the likes of Branson coining it from failing to provide proper train services), having decided that I would get back on track with my original plans by staying overnight in Lulea and catching the sleeper as intended the following day.

THE INLANDSBANAN EXPERIENCE

I rate this as one of the finest railway experiences I have ever had. I encountered some wonderfully scenic journeys in Scotland and on my first visit to Nordic lands many years ago. More recently I experienced some very scenic journeys in Australia, including Melbourne – Adelaide.

Although I, with my Colbeckian enthusiasm for all things railwayana thoroughly enjoyed all three legs of the Inlandsbanan journey and would recommend the experience to anyone I could also see merit in missing the Kristinehamn-Mora section and doing Mora-Ostersund and Ostersund-Gallivare having found some other route to Mora. If not constrained by budget I would recommend the onward trip from Gallivare to Narvik and some exploration in Norway as well. I also mention that there are places along the route where one could stay overnight if wanted to spend many days over making the journey, but with an inter-rail pass giving me eight days of travel and a desire to see as much of Sweden as I could encompass such was not on the table for me personally.

If anyone involved in the publication of the Rough Guide to Sweden happens to see this may I suggest that you think about turning my last eight blog posts into a chapter about Inlandsbanan since it is absurd that this incredible experience is not covered in your pages.

Inlandsbanan 7: Vilhelmina Norra to the Edge of the Arctic Circle

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next installment in this series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. In this post we are back on the move, heading north along Inlandsbanan.

THE JOURNEY

Very soon after leaving Vilhelmina Norra behind us we made a brief stop at Storuman.

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After Storuman there was again a period of taking pictures through the window of a moving train.

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Shortly after I had taken the picture above we arrived at Sorsele, which is significant as…

THE STATION WHERE INLANDSBANAN TRAINS MEET

Yes, it is at an otherwise insignificant dot on the map called Sorsele that the northbound Ostersund-Galiivare service overlaps with the southbound Gallivare-Ostersund service. Sorsele is also home to the Inlandsbanan Museum, although I chose not to go inside. Thus I have many photographs of this location that is so important in the workings of Inlandsbanan…

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My first shot of the two Inlandsbanan trains together at the platform

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A wonderful signboard, one of many here.

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The external view of the Inlandsbanan museum.

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A disused platform.

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The guard about to indicate the departure of the southbound service.

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Where personal meets professional – as someone who images auction items and has an interest in railwayana I particularly wanted to get a close-up of the Inlandsbanan cap badge.

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Outside cooking – probably a rare pleasure in this part of the world!

After a brief move we including the lake below we arrived at Slagnas

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After leaving Slagnas there was a reasonably long period of forward travel…

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We then had a stop for long enough to stretch our legs at…

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I was able to take a few pictures here before we moved on.

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Moving forward again, I was still taking pictures through the train window…

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I reckon this must be the lower terminal of a cable car route.

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What looks like a black raindrop in the picture above is actually a mark on the window that got into more than one of my photos! It was very soon after this picture was taken that we arrived at…

THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

This was not the first occasion I had been into the arctic – on my only previous visit to Nordic lands in 1994 I had gone by train from Helsinki to Narvik in Norway, with a brief bus ride from Haparanda to Boden in the middle,, and after a night in Narvik had caught a bus to Tromso before then travelling by boat to the most northerly town in mainland Europe, Hammerfest. However in those days I had no camera, and also the point at which we reached the arctic circle was not announced. Here are the shots i took from inside the train before I knew that there would actually be a stop:

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I end this post with pictures taken out in the open at the arctic circle:

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The train at the arctic circle.

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A fellow passenger was kind enough to take the picture from which I extracted this image of myself standing in front of the arctic circle sign.

Written by thomassutcliffe

August 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Inlandsbanan 6: The Meal at Vilhelmina Norra

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. In this post my account of the Inlandsbanan experience continues.

MUCH MORE THAN JUST A JOURNEY –
A RAILWAY EXPERIENCE

In my previous posts about my journey along Inlandsbanan I have been concentrating on the route followed by the trains as they move north. However, Inlandsbanan is much more than a railway journey (though it is certainly among the most scenic of those). It is a railway experience, and the scheduled meal stops, one on the Mora-Ostersund leg at the Asarna Ski Centre and two on the long northward haul from Ostersund to Gallivare, the one which I am using as the base for this post at Vilhelmina Norra and a later one at Vaikijaur. Keen followers of this series will remember that Asarna I opted for Moose burger with jacket wedges. Here is a picture showing the two menus from which this day’s food choices were made…

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For this meal I went for the Meat sandwich, while my choice for the Vaikijaur stop was the Reindeer burger.

Why have I opted to cover this aspect of the trip at this point? Well, these little critters who I was able to watch while consuming my meal had something to do with that decision…

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With the meal stops being of generous duration I had plenty of opportunities to augment my collection of photos…

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Inlandsbanan 5: Ulriksfors to Vilhelmina

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. Just before moving on to the details of this post, Anna and her fellow residents of Trosa are locked in battle with greedy/ corrupt local politicians over plans to build a new road that the area does not need or want. I urge you to visit this post, which was put up yesterday and offer your support. As a veteran of the King’s Lynn incinerator affair this touches a particular chord with me. For the rest of this post we are continuing the journey north along Inlandsbanan.

THE JOURNEY

As we left Ulriksfors behind us, I was temporaril back to photographing from a moving train.

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Not long after passing the house pictured above I was able to get this picture of an old locomotive:

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Here are the remaining photos I got before arriving into Vilhelmina…

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The stop at Vilhelmina was not a long one, as the stop at the next station along, Vilhelmina Norra, was the first of two designated meal stops, but I did get these pictures…

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Beyond Vilhelmina but before Vilhelmina Norra, which I have decided to give a whole post to itself, I managed to get a few more photographs from the moving train.

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There will be a further three posts about my journey along Inlandsbanan, one covering Vilhelmina Norra, one covering the stretch from Vilhelmina Norra to the arctic circle, and the final post covering the journey from the edge of the arctic circle to Gallivare, summing up the whole experience and setting the scene for subsequent posts by explaining events that transpired in Gallivare that had a considerable effect on my plans.

 

Written by thomassutcliffe

August 24, 2016 at 8:56 am

Inlandsbanan 4: Ostersund to Ulriksfors

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this latest installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. My previous posts about the journey along Inlandsbanan can be found here.

THE JOURNEY

With the train from Ostersund to Gallivare leaving at 7:20 AM it was necessary to leave my accommodation early (not that many would have been tempted to linger in the Pensionat Bjornen anyway!). I arrived at the station in good time, and this not being Britain so did the train.

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Settled in my seat, seat 40 (I had booked the same seat number on both the Mora-Ostersund and Ostersund-Gallivare trains), I was ready to do my best to capture the scenery that was visible through my window…

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This being a fourteen hour trip there were two scheduled meal stops. My order for the first was the smoked pork collar sandwich.

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Shortly after crossing the bridge through whose metalwork I took the picture above we arrived at Ulriksfors where we were stopped long enough for me to identify our whereabouts, and hence where the first part of my account of the journey from Ostersund to Gallivare ends.

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Written by thomassutcliffe

August 23, 2016 at 7:10 am

Inlandsbanan 3: Asarna to Ostersund

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post brings us to the end of the second leg of the journey north on Inlandsbanan and sets the scene for third and (by a very large margin) longest leg of the journey, the 14-hour trip from Ostersund to Gallivare.

THE JOURNEY

The food stop at Asarna, where my last post ended, comes near the end of the journey from Mora to Ostersund, but there was still plenty to see…

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I was glad to get this spectacular rainbow on camera.

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The station at Ostersund Central

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OVERNIGHT IN OSTERSUND

I was booked into the Pensionat Bjornen for the night. It was here that my failure to pick up my phone on departure from Stockholm first adversely affected me (a day later it would do so again). I had not realised and there had been nothing on booking.com to tell me that I would need to make a mobile phonecall to collect my room key. Thankfully someone else booked into the same establishment arrived not long after me and did have her phone with her, so we were both able to get our keys. The Pensionat Bjornen is an annexe of a hotel that sits on the opposie side of the street, and it was to this latter establishment that keys had to be returned in the morning. For a single night stay with an early start it was an acceptable place, and was the cheapest accommodation in a non-shared room that I had anywhere. I conclude this post with a jpg of my official booking.com  review of the establishment:

PB

Written by thomassutcliffe

August 22, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Inlandsbanan 2: Mora to Asarna

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post continues the northern journey along Inlandsbanan that started here.

INLANDSBANAN PROPER BEGINS

As those who read my previous post will be aware, although Kristinehamn to Mora is part of the official Inlandsbanan route it is not run by Inlandsbanan stock – for that you have to wait until Mora. Here is an Inlandsbanan train:

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This makes it obvious why seat reservations made on the Inlandsbanan website give you a seat number but nor carriage number – there is only one carriage.

Inlandsbanan trains also feature a ‘train host’, who checks tickets, sells refreshments to those who buy them, takes food orders for the official food stops and provides information about noteworthy points along the route. For this journey, from Mora to Ostersund, of which I am currently covering the first part our train host was a young woman named Emma, and she did a magnificent job – she got a round of applause as we approached Ostersund.

Here are some pictures from the early part of the journey…

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Just after I had taken the picture above we arrived at our first major landmark, a river that was considered impressive enough for the train to stop so that photographs could be taken more easily…

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It was not long after this that food orders were taken for the official eating stop at Asarna Ski Centre…

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My food order – 1 Moose burger.

Then it was back to taking pictures from a moving train for a bit…

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We then had a station stop that was long enough for folk who were travelling on to get off and have a leg stretch…

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This map was on the train. At the end of this series of posts I will put up a special post about maps.

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The full Inlandsbanan timetable.

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Then it was back to taking pictures through the window for a little bit…

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Then we reached Asarna, where we had our scheduled food stop, and where this post ends (the moose burger and wedges made a very satisfactory meal by the way).

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The first of three hexagonal display cases full of medals awarded for ski-ing feats.

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A fine campanological display – I also have a close up of three bells in the middle of the display.

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This shot of the train at rest makes it clear why only one of the two sets of doors opened for this stop!

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Looking back at the bridge through whose metalwork I had earlier taken some shots (I have a zoomed in shot immediately following this one)

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This will feature in more detail when I do my special post about maps.

Written by thomassutcliffe

August 22, 2016 at 8:45 am

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