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A ride that gives you a taste for more

The food festival Mersmak in Skien organized several train rides from Skien to Notodden at this year's festival. A trip to be remembered, a trip with pleasant travelling companions, a trip with lovely local food from Telemark. The event was cooperation between Historic Train travelling (Historiske Togreiser), The Norwegian Railway Museum, Norwegian vintage trains, Notodden Railway Centre, The Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum, ROM Eiendom and Telemark county council.

The great museum train is ready for departure, drawn by EL 11.2098 locomotive delivered to NSB in 1954. Equipped with new brakes for driving on the steep Voss railway. Therefore it lived until 1997. And now it lives on travelling happy train lovers and tourists.

The great museum train is ready for departure, drawn by EL 11.2098 locomotive delivered to NSB in 1954. Equipped with new brakes for driving on the steep Voss railway. Therefore it lived until 1997. And now it lives on travelling happy train lovers and tourists.

With a nostalgic train with carriages dating back to 1910, the train travelled from Skien to Notodden and back to Skien again (Skien is the birthplace of Henrik Ibsen, the author). Just this trip was set up with county politicians and politicians from Skien. A trip that will hopefully give them a good experience of how important it is to preserve our history. For it is important to preserve; it tells us about our past, and shows the way we've had to go, and in the future we do not know, that culture should help us to survive.

The restauarnt car Eo 119, where we would spend the next hour. Delivered in 1926, and used throughout the country until 1973, in recent years in northern Norway. 40 seats, with gas stove, and electric refrigerator, after the carriage until the late 50s, had woodfired oven and iceboxes. The chairs are reproductions of 1926 originals.

The restauarnt car Eo 119, where we would spend the next hour. Delivered in 1926, and used throughout the country until 1973, in recent years in northern Norway. 40 seats, with gas stove, and electric refrigerator, after the carriage until the late 50s, had woodfired oven and iceboxes. The chairs are reproductions of 1926 originals.

Old wagons have become like new

The wagon from 1910 was used by Queen Maud, one of the others, from 1923, was used by King Haakon VII. It also had a wood fired shower! The two dining cars from 1926 and 1937 are fully operational and gave us a good experience, serving local food from Telemark.

The visitors seem to thrive in the nostalgic dining car with a friendly and service-minded serving staff. Now it's just before the appetizer is served. Not the easiest job on a winding stretch in a little ramshackle train from a bygone age. But this minor detail we did not care about, when the staff also seem to thrive.

The visitors seem to thrive in the nostalgic dining car with a friendly and service-minded serving staff. Now it's just before the appetizer is served. Not the easiest job on a winding stretch in a little ramshackle train from a bygone age. But this minor detail we did not care about, when the staff also seem to thrive.

This magnificent rolling stock is taken care of and kept in order by volunteers in Norwegian vintage train, and The Norwegian Railway museum takes care of the driving. And Sult and Tørst AS take care of the serving. A happy partnership, that gives train lovers experiences also outside Telemark. The 7-mile long trip took an hour, and while dusk made its appearance, the nature outside slowly slid away like in the oild days.

Ceviche on whitefish from Olav Bjørge in Seljord. The fine whitefish fillets have been"cooked" in lime juice until they fit. Then laid up on two boiled potato slices, and served with trout or salmon roe on a green mousse. Olav Bjørge has spent 18 years trying to get up the size of whitefish in the upper part of Seljord, for the local fish association. The trouts are red in color again, and the small crawfishes that gives color is back.

Ceviche on whitefish from Olav Bjørge in Seljord. The fine whitefish fillets have been"cooked" in lime juice until they fit. Then laid up on two boiled potato slices, and served with trout or salmon roe on a green mousse. Olav Bjørge has spent 18 years trying to get up the size of whitefish in the upper part of Seljord, for the local fish association. The trouts are red in color again, and the small crawfishes that gives color is back.

A vibrant vintage train with hardworking supporters

As invited to the trip, I had the pleasure of sitting together with the leader of the Norwegian Railway Club, Ole K. Rich Berg and director Bjorn Langvik in Historic Train travelling. They could tell me that it added a lot of work to keep the operation of this great offer going. And that the activity had been good this year; May, June and August the train travelled Nordmarka around (Around Oslo) several times, in addition to the 4 tours in Telemark in August. In September it goes to Bergen, a short trip on the Voss railway, and then back from Bergen to Oslo. Total 10 trips this year. So let´s hope that the initiative gets good living conditions further, and that a similar arrangement on the Bratsbergbanen (City of Porsgrunn to Notodden) which is underway in Telemark, also will be successful.

The main course was lovely slow cooked meat from the highly endangered breed Telemarkfe. Served with delicious root vegetables, boiled potatoes and a long-cooked sauce. Norway's oldest breeds, with both milk and meat that tastes, and a good temper. As it was made for small scale food farmers, and as an alternative to the large producer Norwegian Red Cattle (NRF).

The main course was lovely slow cooked meat from the highly endangered breed Telemarkfe. Served with delicious root vegetables, boiled potatoes and a long-cooked sauce. Norway's oldest breeds, with both milk and meat that tastes, and a good temper. As it was made for small scale food farmers, and as an alternative to the large producer Norwegian Red Cattle (NRF).

Consider, for example, to take the train from Porsgrunn to Notodden and further to Tinnoset on the road to Rjukan, then board the ferry Ammonia into Mæl, and from there on by Rjukanbanen. From World Heritage town of Notodden, to World Heritage town of Rjukan. It is a shame that the Tinnoset railway lines have been destroyed by copper stealing vandals. Two days after this train ride we drove along Tinnosb railway: absolutely awful to watch kilometer after kilometer with broken line material. Why has not anyone taken responsibility here, it cannot cost much to fix the lines, so the two World heritage towns can be connected by train again? In the worlds richest country!

Not the world's greatest kitchen but the nice cooks did absolutely the best out of this challenge. And in good interaction: a Norwegian, one from Poland, and one from Romania.

Not the world's greatest kitchen but the nice cooks did absolutely the best out of this challenge. And in good interaction: a Norwegian, one from Poland, and one from Romania.

Local food from Telemark

Both a lunch menu for the day train, and a dinner menu were in the two deals. We, who took the evening train, got a delicious appetizer with Ceviche from whitefish from Olav Bjørge in Seljord. And as entree slow cooked meat from the endangered breed Telemarkfe, Norway's oldest breeds. A dish with apples from Telemark was the dessert, on the way down to Skien again. You could choose between wines or beer, and of course apple juice from Telemark, today from the Nyhuus farm at Gvarv.

Here the royals must have had good times when nature glided away. This stroller was Queen Mauds preferred one, on their travels from Christiania to Bergen. Delivered in 1909.

Here the royals must have had good times when nature glided away. This stroller was Queen Mauds preferred one, on their travels from Christiania to Bergen. Delivered in 1909.

So all in all; a train ride with a taste for more. We hope, in the future, to be able to take the trip all the way from Porsgrunn to Rjukan.

The royal had a standout privy, with wood-fired showers, in this stroller from 1923. It should be obvious to preserve the history the way the talented railway enthusiasts do.

The royal had a standout privy, with wood-fired showers, in this stroller from 1923. It should be obvious to preserve the history the way the talented railway enthusiasts do.

Excited passenger peeks out just before we arrive Notodden. Satisfied after a delicious meal with local products, good cooks and eager waiters.

Excited passenger peeks out just before we arrive Notodden. Satisfied after a delicious meal with local products, good cooks and eager waiters.

The tour's first part is over, now the train is going back to Skien, with dessert and coffee. The head of the Norwegian Railway Club, Ole K. Rich Berg left, and Bjorn Langvik, member of the board of Historic Train travel AS, appears to be satisfied with the program so far. A train ride that showed a culture that is very important to take care of in the future.

The tour's first part is over, now the train is going back to Skien, with dessert and coffee. The head of the Norwegian Railway Club, Ole K. Rich Berg left, and Bjorn Langvik, member of the board of Historic Train travel AS, appears to be satisfied with the program so far. A train ride that showed a culture that is very important to take care of in the future.

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