Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 340+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 30000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $14.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade for $1.48
Then just $14.99 / month. Cancel anytime.
Learn more
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
AU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Australia version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

TRAIN OF THOUGHT

Take a meditative journey on the Inlandsbanan – the summertime railway that trundles through Sweden’s wildest landscapes, striking deep into the Arctic Circle
Geunja Sami Ecolodge offers a stay well off the beaten track

THE INLANDSBANAN IS A SINGULARLY STRANGE RAILWAY. It is a single-track line that spans 800 miles across the Swedish interior. It runs from June to August, during which time a single daily service runs in each direction. And, in charge of the single-carriage northbound train at Mora station this summer afternoon is Robert Singleton, a former social worker from Gothenburg, starting his apprenticeship as a train driver.

'I decided to become a train driver because I read they are some of the most satisfied people in the world,' he says, sipping a can of lemonade in the locomotive cab. 'I hit the jackpot with Inlandsbanan. It is a railway like no other.'

To get from Mora, at the Inlandsbanan's southern end, to Gallivare, its northern terminus in the Arctic Circle, takes 19 hours 4 minutes. But even ardent anoraks couldn't deny you could just look out the window for the first five minutes and get the gist of the following 18 hours 59 minutes. Leaving Mora, we trundle through birch, pine and spruce forests, passing red cabins and lakes where swimming Swedes wave at the train. Then, more cabins, more swimming Swedes and more forests, until you suspect the train is doing laps on a circular track.

But this is to misunderstand the appeal of the Inlandsbanan. It is in some ways less like a conventional railway and more like a wellness centre on wheels. Or rehab. You are lulled into a state of perfect contentment by the slow clattering of the rails. Hypnotised by the passage of endless trees. Soothed by the scent of fresh rain on pine through the open window. It is a train where hours slip by in tranquillity, disturbed only by the minor shock that a Snickers costs £2 from the on-board trolley.

South of Östersund

Scandinavian mindfulness has been exported across the world: by self-improvement books showing you How to be Swedish, by companies selling scented candles and calming mood lighting. Boarding a northbound Inlandsbanan service is better understood in this context. It is the path to Nordic zen.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - June 2018
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.