Tinnoset Line

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Tinnoset Line
Norwegian: Tinnosbanen
MF-Storegut Tinnoset 2004 SRS.jpg
Commercial operations
Built by Norsk Hydro
Original gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Original electrification 15 kV  16.7 Hz AC
Preserved operations
Preserved gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Preserved electrification 15 kV  16.7 Hz AC
Commercial history
Opened9 August 1909
Closed to passengers1985
Closed1 January 1991
Preservation history
1997Ownership of track transferred to Stiftelsen Rjukanbanen
Route map
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ca. 250 m
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ca. 250 m
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Notodden New
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ca. 300 m
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Notodden Old
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The Tinnoset Line (Norwegian : Tinnosbanen) was a 30-kilometer (19 mi) long Norwegian railway line that went from Tinnoset to Notodden in Vestfold og Telemark county. The railway was part of the transport chain used to transport fertilizer from Norsk Hydro's factory in Rjukan to the port in Skien. The railway opened in 1909 and was closed when the plant closed in 1991. The railway is sometimes mistakenly believed to be part of the Rjukan Line.


The railways started in the north at the mouth of Lake Tinn where the railway ferries arrived from Mæl. The railway continued south from Notodden along the Bratsberg Line. The transport chain from Rjukan to Skien consisted of four sections:


Tinnoset Station Tinnoset 2004 SRS.jpg
Tinnoset Station

Norsk Hydro was founded in 1905 by Sam Eyde as a Norwegian fertilizer manufacturer, and the first factory was opened in Notodden. Fertilizer factories need a lot of energy, and then it was necessary to locate the plants near hydroelectric power plants, and at Rjukan there was a large waterfall. In 1911 Rjukan Salpeterfabrikk was opened. [2]

The Tinnoset Line was opened in 1909 as a 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge railway along with the Rjukan Line and the railway ferry service, and was the second railway line in Norway, after the Thamshavn Line, to be electrified in 1911. The railway service used the Telemark Canal until 1919 when the Bratsberg Line opened from Notodden to Skien. The railway was used both to transport raw materials to the factory and to transport the finished fertilizer to the harbor at Skien. There was also passenger trains that ran.

In 1912 the state bought the Tinnos Line from Norsk Hydro, and started construction of a new railway from Notodden to Skien, to replace the canal barges, with the railway being completed in 1916. The Norwegian State Railways (NSB) took over the railway operations in 1920 when the new railway from Notodden to Kongsberg was completed. [3]

The railway ferry service was provided by four different ships, SF Rjukanfoss, SF Hydro (1919), SF Ammonia (1929) and MF Storegut (1956). The three first were steam ships, and the latter two are still anchored at Mæl. The service was the only ever railway ferry service on a lake in Norway, and SF Ammonia is the only remaining steam-powered railway ferry in the world. [4] In 1944, during World War II, SF Hydro was the target of the Norwegian heavy water sabotage, when the ferry was sunk to a depth of 430 metres (1,410 ft) in Lake Tinn to prevent Nazi Germany from developing nuclear weapons. [5]

In 1929 Norsk Hydro also establish itself at Herøya in Porsgrunn, and in 1991 the factory in Rjukan, and therefore also the railway line, was closed. The passenger trains, operated by NSB, had already been discontinued in 1985. In 1997 the ownership of the track was transferred to Stiftelsen Rjukanbanen, a foundation that started heritage operation of the line in 1999.

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Telemark Traditional region and former county (fylke) of Norway

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Norsk Hydro Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company

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Rjukan City in Austlandet, Norway

Rjukan is a town and the administrative centre of Tinn municipality in Telemark, Norway. It is situated in Vestfjorddalen, between Møsvatn and Lake Tinn, and got its name after Rjukan Falls west of the town. The Tinn municipality council granted township status for Rjukan in 1996. The town has 3,386 inhabitants.

Bratsberg Line

The Bratsberg Line is a 74-kilometre long (46 mi) railway line between Eidanger and Notodden in Vestfold og Telemark county, Norway. It opened in 1917, connecting the Tinnos Line, the Sørland Line and the Vestfold Line; allowing Norsk Hydro to transport fertilizer from their plant at Rjukan to the port in Skien. Since 1991 only passenger trains are operated, using Y1 stock by Norges Statsbaner (NSB).

Tinnsjå Lake in Vestfold og Telemark, Norway

Tinnsjå, also called Tinnsjø and Tinnsjøen, is one of the largest lakes in Norway, and one of the deepest in Europe. It is located between the municipalities of Tinn and Notodden in Vestfold og Telemark county. At its source in the west, the Måna river flows out of Møsvatn and past Rjukan into Tinnsjå. From the north, the river Mår flows from the Mår, Gøystavatn, and Kalhovdfjorden lakes into Tinnsjå. Tinnsjå is part of the Skiensvassdrag, and drains via the Tinnelva river in the south, down to Heddalsvatn.


Tinnoset is a village in the municipality of Notodden in Telemark, Norway. It is located at the southernmost end of Lake Tinn (Tinnsjå). Tinnoset Station is the terminus of the Tinnoset Line, a 30-kilometer (19 mi) long railway line that went from Tinnoset to the city of Notodden. At Tinnoset Station were the docks which from 1909 until 1991, units of the Tinnsjø railway ferry system connected the Tinnoset Line to the Rjukan Line through the use of a railway ferry service which crossed Lake Tinn.

Rjukan Line Railway line in Vestfjorddalen, Norway

The Rjukan Line, at first called the Vestfjorddal Line, was a 16-kilometre (10 mi) Norwegian railway line running through Vestfjorddalen between Mæl and Rjukan in Vestfold og Telemark county. The railway's main purpose was to transport chemicals from Norsk Hydro's plant at Rjukan to the port at Skien, in addition to passenger transport. At Mæl the wagons were shipped 30 kilometres (19 mi) on the Tinnsjø railway ferry to Tinnoset where they connected to the Tinnoset Line. The Rjukan Line and the ferries were operated by Norsk Transport, a subsidiary of Norsk Hydro.

Tinnsjø railway ferry

Tinnsjø railway ferry was a Norwegian railway ferry service on Lake Tinn that connected the Rjukan Line and Tinnoset Line. The 30-kilometer (19 mi) long ferry trip made it possible for Norsk Hydro to transport its fertilizer from the plant at Rjukan to the port in Skien. The ferry services were operated by the company's subsidiary Norsk Transport from 1909 to 1991, when the plant closed.

SF <i>Hydro</i> Norwegian steam powered railway ferry

SF Hydro was a Norwegian steam powered railway ferry that operated in the first half of the 20th century on Lake Tinn in Telemark. It connected with the Rjukan Line and Tinnoset Line, at Mæl and Tinnoset, operating between 1914 and 1944. The combined track and ferry service was primarily used to transport raw materials and fertilizer from Norsk Hydro's factory at Rjukan to the port in Skien. It was the target of a Norwegian operation on 20 February 1944, when resistance fighters sank the ferry in the deepest part of Lake Tinn to prevent Nazi Germany from receiving heavy water.

Mæl Station

Mæl Station is a railroad station located at Tinn in Telemark, Norway. It is the terminus of the Rjukan Line (Rjukanbanen) running through Vestfjorddalen between Mæl and Rjukan. The station is located 16 km from Rjukan and on the mouth of the river Måna in Vestfjorddalen where the river runs into Lake Tinn. This was the point where the railway cars on the line were transferred to the Tinnsjø railway ferry for transport to the Tinnoset Line.

SF <i>Ammonia</i>

SF Ammonia is a steam-powered railway ferry on Lake Tinn in Telemark, Norway. The ferry was one of the four railway ferries on Lake Tinn that connected the Rjukan Line with the Tinnoset Line. This system was used by Norsk Hydro to transport chemicals from Rjukan to the port in Skien. The ferry is one of four remaining steam-powered railway ferries in the world, and can still be seen docked at Mæl, Norway.


Herøya is a peninsula in the municipality of Porsgrunn, Norway. It is located between the fjords of Frierfjord to the west and Gunneklevfjord to the east, at the mouth of Telemarksvassdraget. The name stems from the Old Norse word "her-eyjar" meaning an island (øya) with a horde or army (her), thus "the crowded island".

MF <i>Storegut</i> Norwegian railway ferry

MF Storegut is a railway ferry that operated between Tinnoset and Mæl on Lake Tinn, Norway. She was launched on 25 May 1956 and taken out of service after 4 July 1991 when the Tinnsjø railway ferry ceased operations. As of 2008 Storegut is docked at Tinnoset and is used for chartered heritage services. She is named for the poem "Storegut" by Aasmund Olavsson Vinje.

Tinnoset Station Railway station in southern Norway

Tinnoset Station is a disused railway station on the Tinnoset Line located at Tinnoset in Notodden, Norway. At the station's docks wagons were transferred from trains to the Tinnsjø railway ferry.

SF <i>Rjukanfoss</i>

D/F Rjukanfoss, prior to 1946 named Rjukanfos, was steam-powered railway ferry that operated between Mæl and Tinnoset on the Lake Tinn, Norway. Owned by Norsk Transport, she was launched in 1909, expanded in 1946 and decommissioned in 1969.

Notodden New Station

Notodden New Station served Notodden, Norway from 1919 to 2004, and again from 2015 to 2020. The station was designed by Gudmund Hoel, finished in 1917 and taken into use two years later when the Bratsberg Line opened.

Lisleherad Station

Lisleherad Station was a railway station serving Lisleherad in Notodden, Norway on Tinnoset Line from 1909 to the line closed in 1991.

Norsk Hydro Rjukan

Norsk Hydro Rjukan is an industrial facility operated by Norsk Hydro at Rjukan in Tinn, Norway, from 1911 to 1991. The plant manufactured chemicals related to the production of fertilizer, initially potassium nitrate from arc-produced nitric acid and later ammonia, hydrogen, and heavy water. The location was chosen for its vicinity to hydroelectric power plants built in the Måna river.

Hydro Transport

Hydro Transport AS was a railway- and shipping company responsible for the transport of chemicals from Norsk Hydro Rjukan. A subsidiary of Norsk Hydro, the company was founded in 1907, operations ceased in 1991, while the company became defunct at the end of 2009.

Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site

The Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site is a World Heritage Site in Vestfold & Telemark county, Norway, created to protect the industrial landscape around Lake Heddalsvatnet and Vestfjorddalen valley. The landscape is centered on the plant built by the Norsk Hydro company to produce calcium nitrate fertilizer from atmospheric nitrogen using the Birkeland–Eyde process. The complex also includes hydroelectric power plants, railways, transmission lines, factories, and workers' accommodation and social institutions in the towns of Notodden and Rjukan.


  1. Maana Forlag. "Fakta om Rjukanbanen" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2006.
  2. Norsk Hydro. "The next gigantic step" . Retrieved 12 December 2006.
  3. Helge Nisi. "Tinnoset" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 21 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  4. Maana Forlag. "Fakta om Rjukanbanen" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2006.
  5. Rjukan Tourist Office. "Rjukanbanen" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 30 December 2005. Retrieved 12 December 2006.

Coordinates: 59°36′15″N9°16′41″E / 59.6043°N 9.2781°E / 59.6043; 9.2781