Fagernut Vokterbolig – Rallarkafé og utstilling

Fagernut Vokterbolig – Rallar Café and exhibition

Along Rallarvegen, between Finse and Hallingskeid, is Fagernut Vokterbolig (lengthman’s cottage). This is the highest lengthman’s cottage along the Bergen Railway, at a height of 1342m above sea level. Here, you will find the Rallar Café, which sells Rallar waffles and Sluske soup.

After 10km of steady climbing on Rallarvegen from Finse, a rest at Fagernut is well-deserved. In addition to the café, you can visit the exhibition which illustrates the lives of the lengthmen and their families along the Bergen Railway. The cottages have a long history as homes for railway lengthmen and, more recently, also for tourists. Like many other lengthmen’s cottages, Fagernut is protected by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Rallar Museum at Finse owns the lengthman’s cottage and also runs the café. The cottage lost its electricity supply when the Finse tunnel opened in May 1993, as the cottage received its power from the overhead power lines, which were taken out of use at the same time.

The story of Fagernut Vokterbolig

Fagernut was built in 1904 and during the construction period through to 1909, Fagernut was used as a dwelling for engineers and managers along the high mountain section of the line. The cottage has two apartments which enabled two lengthmen’s families to live there at the same time. The Rallar Café is situated in the eastern dwelling. Many families lived there for varying lengths of time. The cottage was vacated in 1965. In connection with Nature Conservancy Year 1970 and the 40th anniversary of the Norwegian Hostel Association, international working camps were held in the lengthman's cottage from 1970 until 1975 with participants from 60 countries. Improvements, repairs and essential clean-up operations along the railway line were carried out to enable Rallervegen to be reopened and used as a cycle way. The reopening ceremony took place in Fagernut in July 1974.

Life as a railway lengthman

Life as a railway lengthman was probably both lonely and sociable, with tough shifts and a lot of time when nothing happened. In 1948, 28-year old Rolf Breili got a job as a railway lengthman for NSB, based at Fagernut on the Bergen Railway. Fagernut Vokterbolig is the highest lengthman’s cottage along the Bergen Railway. The following year, his wife moved into the cottage and their eldest daughter was born the same year. Doing the shopping was no easy feat, as Finse was the nearest place with a shop and Geilo was the nearest town. NSB had many employees at the time and another couple lived at Fagernut at the same time as the little family from Ringerike. There was no electricity at Fagernut, but plenty of dry wood and a telephone if anything should happen. The highest sections of the Bergen Railway are renowned for their harsh climate. Many metres of snow could fall. Rolf Breili has talked about a 12m-high snow cutting. On occasions, he also had to follow a piece of string between the railway line and his home to ensure that he got home safely. His wife often tied a rope around her waist when she collected wood. The young Breili inspected the line 3km on either side of the cottage, and it was vital to stay alert. He used a draisine (a rail cycle) for his work and if a train suddenly appeared, it could be difficult to get out of the way in time. He not only had to save himself, as the draisine, for he was personally liable, also had to be saved. Working on the railway line involved a lot of hard work, but it also meant a supplement in your pay packet.


10.00-16.30 fra midten av juli til slutten av september


Pb. 4, 5719 Finse


90 50 09 40


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