Running with IOREs on Malmbana in the Swedish and Norwegian North
By John McKey, Pictures by John McKey, Nick Slocombe, Deane Motis, Dvid Gubler and Hannu Peltola
Running with IOREs, Part 5 - Abisko Östra, the Largest Station on the Mountains
Welcome to Abisko Östra station on the "Running with IOREs" series! Abisko is the largest village of Malmbana between Kiruna in Sweden and Narvik on the Norwegian coast. Abisko also has accommodation for thousands of tourists hiking or skiing on the mountains. Located on the hillside of large mountains it offers great views to the Torneträsk, a huge lake we have been following for previous two parts of the series. I also suspect the place has a lot of sunshine due to mountains blocking effectively the bad weather on their other side.
For this train safari, Abisko was also a place for the meal and checking in the dormitory (actually they call it a hotel, and it is priced like one, but the accommodation level is 'quite modest' at best (I recommend you stay in at Kiruna Järnvägshotellet instead!). Because of these extra activities we said good bye for a little while to the train we had been following all the way from Kiruna, but were happy to see other similar ore transports heading up the mountains towards the coast line.
The Abisko station was still under heavy earth moving work for underpass, new extra long passenger platforms and other RR infrastructure. The work had taken for 2 years and it looked like there was several months more through the summer until everything would be completed.
According to the sign this is one of the "green" works preserving as much of the wilderness as possible. The sign also says the works should had been finished a year before.
Normally there are several MOW vehicles parked at the roundhouse of Abisko station, but this time we only managed to find a lonely VR-Track Tka7 rail truck. VR-Track is one of the operators responsible for maintenance here. The Tka7 unit 175 originates in the neighboring country Finland, and was re-gauged for the "narrow" (actually it is called "standard") gauge commonly used in Europe. There are many similar rail trucks in Sweden for VR-Track.
But, since we are chasing IOREs with cameras, let's go to the main subject ... there seems to be string of empties being pulled up the hill to the station by IORE units 124 and 119.
The train moves past the temporary wooden passenger platform.
And for once it looks like that even the MTAB engineers are actually waving back to our salutes.
The train covering the horizon continues towards some steep mountain grades.
This machine next to the station building looks like being a feather weight series of skidoos. Maybe it is being used on the lake Torneträsk when the ice starts melting and can't carry a bigger vehicle any more?