The Swedish Inland Railway

The Swedish Inland Railway

The 1,007-km (667-ml) Inlandsbanan carries you along the spine of central northern Sweden. Built to serve the logging industry, it has now diversified to cater for the burgeoning tourist trade.

The pace of the train is very laid back. As befits a Swedish operation, you are transported at an average speed of 50 kph (30 mph) through magnificent pine and birch forests.

The Swedish Inland Railway
Onlandsbanan crossing a lake

Related: The Rauma Railway, Norway

Departing from Mora
As the train departs Mora on its northbound journey, all eyes are drawn to the deep forest where yellow wild flowers line the track. This is an ideal habitat for bear, reindeer and moose and the train will conveniently slow down if any are spotted so to be sure to have your camera primed and ready.

The train passes many water features in the way but the waterfalls at Storstupet (Grand Plunge) and Helvetestfallet (Hell’s Waterfall) are the most spectacular.

The Swedish Inland Railway
The train departs Kristinehamn on its northbound journey and finally pulls in to Gällivare

Related: Norwegian Railway Heralded as a Wonder of the World

The Swedish Inland Railway
Whilst it is possible to make this gentle journey inside two days, it is best experienced in separate stages with stopovers between. Aside for the wonderful forest surroundings, there is much more to enjoy on the way.

First main stop
The first main stop is Ôstersund. More associated with winter sports, it takes on a different life in the summer. A picturesque little town, it offers historic walks, a heritage museum and the splendid Lake Storsjön is nearby.

The Swedish Inland Railway
It is possible to make this gentle journey inside two days

Related: A Rolling Railway Museum in Norway

Exploring Vilhelmina
The next stop, Vilhelmina, is most worthy of exploration. Surrounded by invigorating fast flowing streams, it is home to many Sami artisans and has many naturally heated pools and an extensive cycleway.

The Swedish Inland Railway
Swedish inland railway passing the Arctic Circle

Finally pulling in to Gällivarte
As the train continues steadfastly towards the Arctic Circle, the forest becomes more untamed and the vista ever more beautiful. The train finally pulls in to Gällivare, a town where people successfully combine modern living with a more traditional way of life.

The Swedish Inland Railway, written by Tor Kjolberg