How would you feel if you could escape to the Nordic fjords and mountains for two hours?
That is exactly what Virtual Flåm and Expedia are giving people the chance to do thanks to a 360-degree, fully-immersive, 44-minute film experience of the Flåm Railway in the Norwegian fjords and hills.
The Flåm Railway has one of the steepest tracks in the world. With 80 per cent of the track on a 55 per cent rise. ‘The steep train journey starts at the high mountain train station Myrdal, located along the Oslo – Bergen railway line,’ says Bengt Hammer, of Visit Flåm. ‘It runs all the way down to Flåm located by the very end of the fjord Aurlandsfjorden.’
‘By travelling along the railway, some of the most remarkable nature in Norway is available to a national as well as an international audience,’ says Charlotte Gogstad, spokesperson for Expedia Norway. ‘This is the very first time the entire journey has been documented in a 360° video and it has made it possible to show everyone why this specific train journey is so popular.’
Filmed using a 360-degree camera attached to the front of the train for the entire journey and viewable through a web browser, the film is also compatible with mobile VR devices. The experience gives you a personal tour of the mountains from the driver’s perspective, offering texts and explanation of sites you will see along the way. Some of the attractions shown includde Hardangervidda National Park, ‘Rjoadefossen’ (a spectacular pair of waterfalls, the largest measuring up to 147 metres), and Flåm Church, a wooden church built in 1667.
The popularity of the leading tourist attraction is evident in the numbers, Hammer says, ‘Flåm Utvikling, the company responsible for sales and marketing activities of the Flåm Railway, estimated a number of 920 000 visitors in 2016. By the end of the year, we could count 926,532 visitors in total.’ In 2015, 3.6 million tourists checked into hotels across Norway.