Otta Railway Station
(Norwegian version) The railway service opened in 1896 near the Loftsgard Inn, and immediately became a focal point in the district.
Text: Per Erling Bakke/Ivar Teigum
The original station buildings. The locomotive garage at the back and the storehouse at the front have been removed. The present locomotive garage dates from 1920. The drawing is by Magne V. Kristiansen and is borrowed from his book "When a journey was a journey" published in 2010.
For 17 years the quickly booming centre was the last reach of the railway service while the line was lengthened to Dombås, later to reach Åndalsnes and Trondheim. At Otta the state company secured for itself large areas along the station area and the park.
The name decided upon by the local council was Otta, and Otta Station. Like two other railway stations in the valley, Sjoa and Vinstra, Otta and Otta Station got their names from the nearest river.
The railway park in the 1920s. The park was laid out with trees and lanes after the railway was opened in 1896. The company had its own gardeners who went on circuit spring and autumn, and who kept the park in shape. A part of the park has been converted into a parking lot. Today the upkeep is the responsibility of the Sel local authority.
In 1913, when the railway had been extended to Dombås, some fifty kilometres further north, Otta was no longer the pioneering end station. But traffic grew, and at the station was also the post office. A further development therefore, was to open a restaurant for travellers and locals alike.
“Ten minutes stop and restaurant” became the wellknown call to the passengers as the train approached Otta. This was before the advent of national broadcasting. On the last train carriage a poster would announce the weather forecast.
Otta station in 1913.
Early on in the 20. century skiing in the mountains became popular in Norway at Easter.
Ski equipment was registered at departure, freighted in special carriages, and stored at Otta while waiting for its owners.
In the 1960s as many as 20 buses would take holidaymakers to hotels near Jotunheimen and Rondane, and up to 1200 pairs of skis would be handled.
In a special storehouse at the station a general freight service was established, where parcels could be dispatched and received. There was also an express service covering urgent needs.
A postcard from the 1970s with greetings from Otta: Buses took train passengers to the mountains and nearby places.
In its heyday hundred odd people were employed at Otta Station. But times have changed.
Twenty years into the 21. century, after electrification and automation, only half of them are left, most being technical personnel.
Throughout the years they have represented a vital resource in the local community, as an example three mayors have been recruited among them.
Locomotive cleaners at their task in 1932. Diesel took over from coal for fuel in the 1950s, and electricity in the 1960s.
The largest locomotive available for the route across the Dovre plateau was named after the troll Dovregubben in Henrik Ibsen’s drama Peer Gynt.
In 1936, a locomotive ran straight through the wall of the locomotive garage.
A special episode occurred in the locomotive garage a November night in 1936. This evening, the Dovregubben from Dombås came as a loose locomotive and was supposed to stop at the turntable.
However, it did not, but burst through the stall door and pushed a locomotive that stood there through the thick wall of the wall and into the ground tray outside.
The locomotive and lighthouse had jumped off in time and no one was hurting the work.
From the 1960s onward heavy transport has been moved from rail to road. The period has also been dominated by the private car. The picture shows Otta Railway Station in 1975 with the newspaper kiosk outside.
In recent years Otta Railway Station has been replaced by Otta Travel Centre owned by the rail company together with the local and county councils.
A part of Otta Station is still a travel centre. Train tickets are available on the internet or on the train. All passenger trains stop at Otta.