The Malmbanan would never have been built had it not been for the rich deposits of iron ore around Gällivare and Malmberget.

The idea to construct the train line, which connects the Bothnian coast with the Atlantic coast (170km), passing through some of the remotest and most inhospitable parts of Europe, was talked about on and off throughout the nineteenth century, when the only means of transporting the ore was by reindeer and sleigh. Finally, in 1884, an English company was awarded the contract to build it; by 1888, the line had reached Gällivare from the Bothnian coast and the company was bankrupt. Ten years passed before the state took over the project; in July 1902, the navvies – who’d been subject to temperatures of -30°C and lower and incredibly harsh conditions – finally shovelled their way through deep snow at Riksgränsen to cross the Norwegian border. A year later the line was officially opened by King Oscar II.

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