Norwegian Railways in Philately

   NORWAY: Centenary of Narrow-Gauge Railways 19.06.1996  
Click to enlargeThis stamp commemorates the centenary of the Urskog-Høland railway (U.H.B.), which was opened 14.11.1896, or more correctly, the first section between Bingsfoss and Bjørkelangen was. Two years later the second stage from Bjørkelangen to Skulerud was put into service, and finally in 1903 the last stage from Sørumsand to Bingfoss. TPO's were running from 1898. This railway was a narrow gauge (750 mm) private line with a total length of 56 km (35 miles). The gauge is the narrowest in Norway with passenger traffic. After World War II the railway was taken over by the NSB, which operated it for 15 years. Instead of lengthening and modernization the line was closed down in 1960, as the last pure steam railway in Norway. The railway never gained any importance in the area, and got the nickname "Tertitten" because of the 750 mm gauge that was classified as a tertiary line. In 1966, however, traffic was restored, when a distance of 4 km was opened as a museum railway, and the steam trains are still running here today. The line now has its own special souvenir postmark. The locomotive is a class XXVIII, 1'C1' (2-6-2T), built 1909 in Germany by Rich. Hartmann in Chemnitz, 20 tons and 7.51 m l.o.b. with a max. speed of 35 km/h. It is No. 4 named "Setskogen"; here it leads a mixed train leaving Hornåseng station.

Catalogue Nos.: Sc 1122 / SG 1233 / Mi 1213 / YT / NK 1262

Click to enlargeAlso the Setesdal railway was 100 years of age in 1996. This was another narrow gauge railway, running from Kristiansand to Byglandsfjord a distance of 79 km (49 miles), with a gauge of 1067 mm (3' 6"). The line was very curved which required special locomotive types. The stamp shows a class XXI, tank locomotive, No. 2 heading a passenger train. It is a 1'C1' (2-6-2T) built in 1894 by the Scottish factory Dübs, 23.2 tons and 8.8 m l.o.b. with a max. speed of 40 km/h. Mainly this railway transported timber, pit props and nickel from inland to Kristiansand, a coastal town with an export harbour. The railway got TPO's in 1896 and most of the stations along the line had a post office. In 1938 the southern part (from Kristiansand to Grovane) was rebuilt to standard gauge, which led to a significant difference in traffic volume between the two parts of the line. The remaining distance (58 km from Grovane to Byglandsfjord) was after this the real Setesdal railway. In 1962 when the line was closed down, it was the last narrow gauge line of NSB. A group of enthusiasts is now running a distance of 5 km as a museum railway, where you can get a special souvenir postmark, and admire No. 2 in action.

Catalogue Nos.: Sc 1123 / SG 1234 / Mi 1214 / YT / NK 1263

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