Monday, August 8, 2016

Otterbäcksbanan (Ängebäck - Gullspång)

After travelling with high speed trains in Europe this summer, it is time to try something different, riding on a trolley. I will do that on Otterbäcksbanan, which is part of the old Nora-Bergslags railway, a private railway from 1905 transporting iron ore from mines in Bergslagen region to harbour in Otterbäcken for further transports. The last train passed here in 1994, but the tracks are still in place.
 Otterbäcksbanan is between Strömtorp and Gullspång, the map can be viewed here. The part between Gullspång and Otterbäcken was demolished in 2002.
 The railway is passing through three different Swedish regions, hence there are 3 places to rent the trolley here: Närke (Ängebäck), Värmland (Konsterud), and Västra Götaland (Gullspång). I choose the first one, due to that it was the only one open in beginning of August, the price to rent is 350SEK for one day, and the journey can be made in all 3 regions.
 Here is a video captured along the ride.
 Railway switches have been removed for a smooth ride with the trolley.
 Still there is a warning message to slow down when approaching the switch.
 There are old stations along the way. Here is Högberg

 The message says that "there is risk for derail if not slowing down".
 There are different sights along the line, here is Marielunds diversehandel vintage shop.

 The railway is totally 40km long, and there are signs telling how far we've come, here is 5km sign.
 Next station is Håkanbol. Here there is a stop sign due to a road crossing. The rule says, that vehicles on the road have the priority.
 Most part of the railway is passing through forest and nature. Trolley renting advertisement suggest that is would be possible to see wild animals along the way, such as wolves. But, thanks God, I did not see any, and honestly due to the noise the trolley is producing I think it is scaring away all animals.
 Nearby Mickelsrud there is a rest area, and an old water refill station for steam trains.

 The trolley is equipped for two people biking, and a possibility to bring passengers.
 Mosstorp rest area
 Another sight along the way is Stormossen bog/wetland.

 The railway has indications of inclines
 Many straight parts

 We are now in Värmland, and station Konsterud where it is also possible to rent a trolley. Here they are yellow painted.
 The only road bridge along the way, for road from Åtorp to road 26.

 Sign from a fallen tree
 Värmlands Säby station

 Kolstrandsviken beach
 Approaching road 204 (Vintrosa-Gullspång).
 On the last part to Gullspång, the railway is just next to road 26 (Inlandsvägen).
 Time for a coffee and waffles in a nearby cafe
 Lake Vänern is nearby
 Cafe is outside with a beautiful view
 Apple tree

 Approaching the last stop - Gullspång.
 The bridge over Gullspångsälven river, 8km long and connecting lakes Skagern and Vänern.
 Heading back, time to stop at the beach.
 After having riding all the way to Gullspång, on the way back, we encountered an unforeseeable event. Due to heavy winds this day, one tree felt on the track. Must have happened while we were in Gullspång.
 After calling to trolley station in Ängebäck, the staff from Degerfors county could come in just 30min and make a rescue operation.
The tree was cut in pieces, and the journey back could continue, the arrival back to the station in Ängebäck was just before closure 17:00.

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