No Arctic Railway, you said? Let’s make our own

After authorities rejected the Arctic Railway project, a local tourist provider in Finland’s northwestern arm decided to make their own variant, the world’s longest sled-train.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - May 24, 2021
A 12-sled train pulled by a snowmachine crosses lake Kilpisjärvi. (Kilpissafarit via The Independent Barents Observer)

The final end to plans on building an Arctic Railway from Rovaniemi to Kirkenes isn’t a big worry for tourist companies in northernmost Finland.

“I guess the tourism will grow in a more controlled way when we didn’t get the railway,” says Jussi Rauhala with Kilpisssafarit to the Barents Observer.

“Most of our customers will arrive from to Kilpis from Tromsø, Norway,” he explains.

For fun, Rauhala and his colleagues made their own Arctic Railway train, a replacement that doesn’t need tracks. The 12-sledge snowmobile train crossing over lake Kilpisjärvi is the world’s longest of its kind, Rauhala says.

The empty sleds could symbolize the challenges winter tourism is facing due to the pandemic.

“We have had a very challenging season this year mostly because of COVID-19. Now, when it seems the season is finally about to end, we decided to have a little fun,” Rauhala says.

Kilpiissafarit hopes for better times now as borders are about to reopen. A daily bus route from Tromsø to Kilpisjärvi will hopefully bring many customers to the creative tour operator.