In the late autumn of 1909, 3 local car companies were being planned. The summer of the following year, they were all in full operation, based at Fagernes. Nils Haavelsrud ran a hotel in Skarpsno. Together with dentist Thv. Kjær på Fagernes he went to purchase a large 30 hp. “Humber” with eight seats. This was set in route Fagernes – Tyin – Lærdal – and with this the beginning of the history of JVB had begun.
JVB 1909 to 1990
1909 - 1920: Prehistory and two become one
Automobil A / S “Jotunheim” was founded by four wealthy farmers from Nordre and Søndre Land. Helge Rognerud, Arne Riiser Moe, Hans Haug and Lars O. Nordraak. The company purchased four open 7-seater “Armstrong-Whitworth” cars.
A / S Valdresrutens Automobilselskap was founded by four sognings and six valdriser. All with a strong connection to tourism in the district. These were Anders Maristuen, Anders Eggum, Chr. Eri, J. C. Lindstrøm, Ivar Opdal, Ole Fosheim, Ingvar Fosheim, Lars Landmark, Kristoffer Kvame and Knut Kr. Dæhli. Three cars were purchased, one Armstrong-Whitworth and two Lorraine-Dietrich. All the cars were open carriages with room for seven passengers.
Routes were put into operation on the section Fagernes – Bygdin and Fagernes – Tyin – Lærdal. In the summer of 1910, there were as many as 11 buses with Fagernes as the permanent terminus. Nowhere else in Norway could point to a similar number.
“The tourist traffic along the Valdres route has been very good this summer. Of the approximately 100 hauliers who have previously been engaged in shuttle transport on the route, more than half have withdrawn this summer, forced to do so by the 11 cars that various companies put into operation, and which must be said to control the traffic now. “
A collaboration takes shape:
As early as December 1910, discussions were underway to merge the two companies AS Jotunheim and A / S Valdresruten. Unfortunately, no agreement was reached at that time. Instead, it was decided to enter into a collaboration next season on route plans and fare. In addition, each of the companies had to buy a new car, so that they had a total of nine carriages.
From the 1912 season onwards, Nils Haavelsrud was included in the collaboration and henceforth was called “The united automobile companies in Valdres”. However, this was only a loose superstructure over the three companies. In the summer of 1912, they started a new route Lærdal – Hemsedal – Gol. In addition, a well-equipped route booklet was published. The driving season generally lasted from 1 July to 15 September. The drivers had to apply for employment every summer and in the first years the drivers’ salaries were NOK. 150 pr. month.
The traffic with the buses showed a steady increase. Especially the years 1916 and 1917 were good. The influx of travelers, both on the eastern and western routes, was so great that the old hauliers had to support their horses. But out in Europe, World War I raged and it gradually became difficult to recover car tires, oil and petrol.
To become one:
Although in the 1918 season it turned out to be almost impossible to get fuel for the cars, AS Jotunheim and Nils Haavelsrud had some petrol in stock so that they could keep it going for a few weeks. Valdresruten’s carriages had to stand still this summer. Nils Haavelsrud withdrew from the collaboration after the 1918. Season.
Despite the good cooperation, there was at times strong rivalry between the companies and it happened that “The United Automobile Companies” cracked badly in the mergers. In the summer of 1919, Ivar Opdal in A / S Valdresruten succeeded in buying up half of the shares in A / S Jotunheimen. On Friday 21 November 1919, a general meeting was held at Fagernes Hotel. There, both companies were formally dissolved. Their assets were transferred to a new company under the name A / S Jotunheimen and Valdresruten Bilselskap.
1920 - 1940: The humble beginning
JVB played a major role in the work to get a year-round connection across Filefjell to Western Norway. In the late 1930s, JVB was commissioned to transport mail from east to west. Due to the war and lack of petrol, it was already decided in 1940 to install knob generators on the buses.
Jotunheimen and Valdresruten Bilselskap (JVB) have since the start in 1919 been the lifeblood through Valdresbygdene. A company where perhaps the most important function has been to provide the population in Valdres with a good public transport service. Scheduled traffic and transport of school children has naturally been a mainstay of the company’s activities. But JVB has also meant a lot to tourism in Valdresdalføret and the company came not least to play a major role in the work to get a year-round connection across Filefjell to Western Norway.
Filefjellsvegen, like other high mountain roads, was closed for 7-8 months of the year, but as bus traffic in Valdres got off to a good start, energetic work was therefore initiated to keep the road open all year round. With the relatively sparse allocations, it was a difficult task. It would not have been possible without the good support and help from Jotunheimen and Valdresruten Bilselskap. The company understood early on how important it was to have a year-round connection to Western Norway.
In the winter of 1931/32, Filefjellsvegen was tried for ground clearing. By many, this was considered an unsolvable task. The road was at least kept open all the way to Nystuen, and the following year they went west and arrived at Maristuen. The road was then kept open until February 4, but there was no doubt that the road had to be kept open all winter. The population in Valdres and Lærdal also supported the task, and often there were up to 100 men working with snow removal. Until 1936, it was the JVB that had taken the heaviest lift, both financially and in other ways. With joint efforts and work on the part of the State and the company, it succeeds after many difficulties in keeping Filefjellsvegen passable for winter traffic in the winter of 1936-37, the first mountain pass in Norway that was open all year round.
An Oslo newspaper wrote on the occasion:
“If someone had come 10 years ago and claimed that it was possible to keep an open road over one of the hardest mountain passes we have in this country, that person would have immediately been registered among the less well-preserved.”
Post driving over the mountain:
There was a constant struggle in the 1930s between car routes to transport mail to Sogn from the east. When it came to Lærdalsdalføret, it was the postmen who owned the mail van, a seven-seater Chevrolet that was used over the mountains to Skogstad in spring and autumn, in the summer season until Tyin with correspondence to Fagernes. The driver on the postal route was Sigurd Kirkevoll, who took over in 1934. The Lærdal company, which had the postal transport in the summer with the buses from Gol over Hemsedalsfjellet to Lærdal, probably had an ever so small hope of getting the postal transport over Filefjell. For the company, AS Beltebilane took over, which until then had the postal service over the Hemsedals mountain. But with the test clearing that was done over Filefjell in 1936-37 which seemed to Postbilen on the way from the old Maristuen possible to keep open except for a few days in the worst snowstorms, the postal service was left to A / S Jotunheimen and Valdresruten Bilselskap. Included in the contract was also part of Sigurd Kirkevoll’s to accompany and transfer to Valdresruta’s service. It was as station manager in Lærdal that he got most of his working hours, until in 1981 he joined the ranks of the pensioners.
Optimism was high in the JVB throughout the 1930s. But dark clouds gathered over Europe. With the war and the difficult fuel situation, there was soon a shortage of petrol. It is true that petrol could be procured for very special assignments, but it was in such small quantities that the company already in 1940 decided to install a knob generator on the buses.
1940 - 1945: The war years
Even though the war years were going to present their problems, positive things happened in the company’s history.
The route over Filefjell was maintained with a gas generator fired with a knob. The traction was not so great on the opposite slopes and to keep the route, the drivers had to make up for lost time on the descents. The speed could therefore sometimes be almost dangerously large. Among trade travelers in Valdres and Sogn, it became a golden rule that they did not dare to get out into the road before the “route” had passed. It could be a danger to road safety, but no accidents ever occurred, and the drivers were too safe on the steering wheel and on the road.
Even though the war years were supposed to present their problems, positive things still happened in the company’s history. Among other things, it was decided in 1941 to buy a garage facility in Lærdal. Thus, JVB had established its first outdoor station. The facility provided garage space for a couple of buses, but was later expanded with a small office that also provided accommodation for drivers.
With the new rulers came a violent bureaucracy that had to be managed. There were reservations for the buses, and those who wanted to travel had to have a travel permit. Some suspicious goods could also be taken care of. Having a radio, for example, was not allowed in those days, but it still happened, and it happened that some equipment had to go to Fagernes for repair. However, the return transport went satisfactorily if the goods were packed in cartons with the eventually well-known emblem of German Nordag. Then, it was thought, even the most zealous inspector would keep his fingers off the plate. It was just a matter of making sure that the item did not get there.
Buses with a knob generator were a poor replacement compared to petrol as fuel, but most often one came up. The bus in this picture belonged to Ola Paulsrud who had a license for passenger transport through Øystre Slidre until 1947 when the company was merged with JVB. The photo was immortalized in the early years of the war and was taken at Fagernes Mekaniske Verksted, which installed several generators during the worst fuel crisis. The generator was built in its entirety on Fagernes Mek. Workshop.
JVB as shipowners:
Strabassy and long days. It was often the drivers’ normal working day during the war. But the company did well financially. Not least thanks to the heavy traffic over Filefjell due to the construction operations at Årdal Verk. In 1944, the company was able to point to a profit of more than 100,000 kroner. That year, JVB also became a shipowner. Admittedly not on the seven seas, but in Jotunheimen when the company bought M / B BITIHORN, which since 1912 had been a regular route on Lake Bygdin between Bygdin Høyfjellshotell, Torfinsbu and Eidsbugarden. The purchase price was NOK 35,000.
The same year, the company also took over the motorboat “Jøtul” and the boat “Tyin” which operated on Lake Tyin between Tyinholmen and Tyin. One of them, “Tyin”, was sold again after a short time, while the other, “Jøtul” went on schedule until the road along the fjord was finished. But “Tyin” was the last to triumph. It is now on the Randsfjord, in well-maintained condition. “Jøtul” exists only as a memory. “Jøtul” came to Tyin in two parts of 10 and 17 tons in 1930. At that time there were only three welders in Norway. In connection with the welding at Tyin, the local power plant provided just enough power to the welding machine and all other electricity in the village had to be switched off during the work.
Boat traffic on the Tyin lake has been since 1906, when Ivar Opdal, Helge Opdal, Kristoffer Kvame and Jon Elton secured the boat “Tyin”. All four were closely linked to Valdresruta and thus handed over the boat to the company.
1945 – 1970: Into the winter mountains and more legs to stand on
With the years after the war, major changes took place within the company and new and important routes were created that would be of great importance to the Valdres region.
1945 - 1970: Into the winter mountains
Med årene etter krigen skjedde det store forandringer innen selskapet og det ble opprettet nye og viktige ruter som skulle få stor betydning for Valdresregionen.
Into the wintermountains:
With winter tourism gradually beginning to announce its arrival even before the war, attempts were made with motorized transport inland in the mountains. The route’s former manager Thor Hansen (1923-45) and hotel owner Helge Kvame at Eidsbugarden, experimented with a propeller-driven motor sled in the areas around Eidsbugarden.
This turned out to be so lucky that three such vessels were built and put into Easter traffic between Eidsbugarden, Tyinholmen and Tyin. This was the prelude to the JVB in 1947 purchasing the first weasels that had been in use during the war. Although the tracked vehicles were fine to drive up trails with and to carry luggage into the mountains, they were not very suitable for carrying passengers. In 1948 came the “snowmobiles” which were far safer to operate in the mountains during the winter and which had the capacity to carry 14 passengers in the sling.
JVB also used such cars to take care of the transport of sun-hungry winter guests on the section Beitostølen-Båtskaret-Bygdin.
Today, both routes are served by the company’s 10 ″ Snowmobiles ”.
From Tyin and inwards, the tracked cars hum all winter long, steadily and safely in all kinds of weather and conditions. With the change of occupancy, there is a bustling life at Tyin, people come from strengthening sweeping stays in the mountains or go in to enjoy the winter holidays. This is also the case from Beitostølen to Bygdin. On this stretch, the tracked vehicles with their safe drivers must also get around in all kinds of weather. It is an effort that deserves respect.
New routes and modern equipment:
The old buses in the company were personalities and had their nicknames. Both Kakebrøa, Porat, Venus, Vesle-Venus, Goliat, Titanic and Gamle Postbilen were vehicles that belonged to the car fleet and to which special stories were associated. The snowmobiles in the mountains were also named after Blåmann, Rørosen, Trysilen and Jaguaren.
With the years after the war, major changes took place within the company and new and important routes were created that would be of great importance to the Valdres region. Not least the route connection to Gjøvik in 1947 was a good offer for the villagers and those who needed to get to the county hospital in the white town by Lake Mjøs
With new routes, Valdresruta’s car fleet was also renewed. The same year that the Gjøvik route became a fact, the company purchased the first diesel buses of the Scania type. Already at that time, work was being done to start a direct route between Oslo and Valdres.
One of the buses intended to be included in the route experiment was painted in Schøyen Bilsentral’s colors (yellow and green), while the other was painted in the old Valdresrute colors.
However, negotiations on a fixed direct route between the capital and Valdres did not succeed then.
The company’s most important tasks after the war and up to 1950 were the flow of traffic in connection with the trains on the Valdres line. Eventually there was a lot of tourist traffic through the valley floor, especially over Filefjell to Western Norway. Similarly, the traffic of hikers in Jotunheimen was noticeably increasing. The regular rural traffic was taken care of by the privately owned combined vehicles. This applied to both person and freight transport. Through Vestre Slidre and Vang, a total of 10 cars were in operation. In Øystre Slidre and Skrautvål, there were a total of five combined cars. There was, of course, a competitive relationship between JVB and the individual route owners who in 1948 had founded L / L Valdres Lastebilselskap. In 1954, a contract was entered into with Valdres Lastebilselskap for the takeover of all passenger traffic. A / S Valdres Lastebilselskap was founded and became a pure truck business in 1955.
“Valdres – the pearl of the valleys will, by all accounts, also this summer be one of the leading tourist districts in Eastern Norway”, wrote the newspaper Valdres on 23 June 1955. That year A / S Jotunheimen and Valdresruten Bilselskap published a new tourist brochure under the title “To Valdres and Jotunheimen”.
With the increase in traffic in the 1950s and with the equipment JVB had acquired, it went towards a good growth for the company. There was also heavy traffic on the Valdres line at that time. With long extra trains, and several thousand Easter guests who were to invade the Valdres mountains, most of the bus equipment was deployed to get the traffic out of Fagernes station.
The flagship “Venus” which was bought in 1948 was in its time the company’s pride and with its color choice it set the norm for what a bus from JVB should look like. It was with this bus that the easily identifiable national colors came in earnest and this year the company also got its new logo. The “Venus” bus, which was made by Dodge, attracted attention and was not least the reason why the company became known early on among tour operators at home and abroad. In the photo immortalized with the then manager, Thorleif Aure.
Valdres is packed with accommodation for tourists. In order to keep such a large and branched-out bus company in financially sound operation, the management must take the imagination to help and set out new work tasks. Attempts have been made with a so-called “air bus”, which has picked up airborne guests at Fornebu and transported them to Valdres. Large and spacious tourist buses have picked up guests on arrival of the Danish boat, which also worked well.
In 1952, JVB was commissioned by Winge Reisebureau to run three-day trips between Oslo and Bergen “Norwegian Fjord Lines” with accommodation at Tyin and Stalheim. A hiking experience with regular stops where dollar tourists not least got to experience Norwegian nature. Eventually, the company also received assignments from Bennet with its “Panorama tours”, as well as driving for Norsk Folke Ferie’s “Fjell og Fjord” tours.
Hotel capacity increased with new hotels at Beitostølen, Sanderstølen, Fagernes, Nystuen and Tyin and there was a need for direct routes between Oslo and Valdres. It was especially the traffic from Denmark that needed a better connection as it was difficult to get a satisfactory correspondence. in Oslo by boat and railway. The company secured a license to drive directly in connection with boats and aircraft arrivals in Oslo.
Swedish winter tourists had also discovered Valdres as a great holiday destination and in the mid-1960s, extra night trains were run directly from Gothenburg to Fagernes. The scheme was short-lived as the train equipment did not meet the safety requirements. Then the bus was an excellent alternative.
One of the biggest and most fun measures in transporting Swedish guests was made in the winter of 1969. 20 buses drove to the Gothenburg district and picked up about 500 Swedish winter tourists. The long line of buses attracted attention where it went. Over the Svinesund Bridge, not so many buses had previously passed at the same time.
1970 →: Express pioneering and new opportunities
From the beginning of the 1970s, a marketing collaboration was initiated which proved to be groundbreaking for both the Valdres hotels and for JVB; The winter bus from Valdres. In 1985, the Valdres Express came into operation, and the East-West Xpress in 1990.
The winter bus from Valdres:
From the beginning of the 1970s, JVB, Reiselivslaget for Valdres and Jotunheimen and Den Norske Hytteformidling initiated a marketing collaboration that proved to be groundbreaking for both the Valdres hotels and for JVB.
A bus, almost like a rolling tourist office with various exhibitions, trawled a large number of cities in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. Travel agency meetings, public meetings and press conferences were arranged with a particularly “photogenic” bus which also served as a tourist office for Valdres in the squares of the many cities visited. The interest in “The Winter Bus from Valdres”, from travel agencies, the public and the press far exceeded the expectations one had in advance.
This was to be the prelude to renewed contact with Scandinavian travel agencies and tour operators in particular. In the years to come, this work was continued, albeit in a slightly different way. The contacts that i.a. JVB got because of these trips have been further developed until today. Nearly 90 percent of JVB`s charter traffic has developed from this work.
Winter traffic from Sweden had declined somewhat during this period, but now the Danish holiday guests began to announce their arrival. There were well-laid routes from Copenhagen under the new offer, which had started up the year before 1982. In 1985, the company carried out one of its largest transport assignments between Stockholm and Oslo in connection with the air strike in Sweden and all available equipment was taken into use. When it came to touring, the company obtained new transport assignments through foreign tour operators.
Although A / S Jotunheimen and Valdresruten Bilselskap in the 1960s and 1970s became a concept both at home and on the international market, it was with Valdresekspressen that came into operation on 2 June 1985 that the company broke through and became a pioneer company for express routes in its collaboration with Årdal Billag, Engeseth Busslinjer and A / S Valdresbussen. For the following year, the large spring release came with direct licenses for several continuous routes across the country across old license boundaries. In 1988, the bus companies established the umbrella organization Norway Bussekspress with its own bus terminal in the capital
Touring that year saw a sharp decline due to the nuclear accident in Russia and it was especially the American tourists who canceled their trips. But the whole year after, the picture turned to the positive again.
The Valdres Express could that year point to an increase in occupancy of 17 percent and revenues by 28 percent from the year 1986-89. From 1 / 1-1989 there were two more new departures on express the route Oslo-Valdres-Årdal in addition to the four you already had.
East-West Xpressen saw the light of day 30 / 11-1990. It was a collaboration between JVB and Sogn Billag on a new route plan on the stretch Lillehammer-Fagernes-Voss, which thus became a route that gave travelers a new and good offer between Western Norway, Valdres and the Mjø area. With a new road route from Voss to Arna, the route was extended all the way to Bergen in 1992.
Olympic Intermediate Games:
The company was heavily involved in the dismantling of transport during the Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994, with over 60 buses at most. In the short time it took, these buses carried over 45,000 passengers.
The new millennium presented us with new challenges. In the early summer of 2000, the company, which had a license for bus driving in, among other places. other Gjøvik, Land and Toten terminated their agreement with the county municipality. JVB then joined forces with Hadeland Bilselskap and offered the county to take over this driving. JVB received a license for scheduled and school driving in Søndre and Nordre Land, as well as the entire section Gjøvik – Fagernes, which we had previously shared with others.
Expansion and adaptation are key words for large parts of the more than 80 years JVB has left behind. In our goal, giving travelers the best possible offer will always be the key.
The tour bus adventure
A chapter from the turbo adventure in JVB in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
A chapter from the turbo adventure in JVB in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
Ola Kristian Hegge has written a bit about this.
The undersigned has made a small overview of the turbine traffic in the company during the above periods. This is where I have some details that I would like to share with those who may later be interested in this part of JVB’s heyday as a tour bus operator.
The then manager Torleif Aure was a very skilled person to create contacts in Norwegian travel agencies that operated with incoming traffic. Eventually, traffic manager Svein Edvard Løken Stensrud also came into the picture and these two have made a great effort not only to create activities in their own company, but for tourism in Valdres as a whole.
The American market was growing strongly and Scandinavian travel agencies knew their visiting hours here to facilitate trips in Scandinavia for all categories of tourists with different economic backgrounds, ie everyone who had the opportunity would find alternatives that suited their wallets.
JVB had financial interests in the then Tyin Høyfjellshotell which they bought from A / S Årdal and Sunndal Verk in 1961 and eventually in Fagernes Hotell. These hotels were naturally located for the traffic that eventually developed into something of an adventure.
There are in particular the following tour series I will write in detail about: NORWEGIAN FJORD LINE, SWEDISH LAKELAND TOUR, AMERICAN EXPRESS, MAUPINTOUR AND TRAVELERS INTERNATIONAL. This is only a small part of it all, but are series that the undersigned knows particularly well.
It was in 1952 that JVB was asked by WINGE REISEBUREAU in Oslo to run three-day trips between Oslo-Bergen and vice versa. It was in particular a person named Hogne Riisnes who was initially Fjord Line general, but eventually Inger Rosenberg, Inger Raagholt (born Noraker and came from Aurdal) and others came as the traffic grew.
To begin with, the American groups were picked up at Lærdal and transported on to Tyin Høyfjellshotell for accommodation and ended up in Oslo on the third day. The return went the same route. Many years of driver in JVB Knut Thune was the one who started driving this tour series. As mentioned before, there was an incredible amount of interest in the American market for these trips and it often went with several buses in parallel.
In 1956, the E-15699, a Volvo B61505 was painted in Fjordline colors (light / dark blue) and inserted into this touring series. The interest only increased for this scheme and gradually more carriers came into the picture. Will mention Voss Stalheim Gudvangen Automobillag A.S, Bergen Hardanger Billag and NSB Bilruter. JVB buses that were eventually used for these assignments are: E-15527 and E-15540 Volvo B615 registered 040460 with full tourist seats built at Brødrene Repstads Karosserifabrikk in Søgne. Further E-15533 Scania Vabis B55 registered 280564 built at the same body factory E-15539 VolvoB615 registered 310565 with left-hand drive and auxiliary servo, built at the same body factory. E-15537 and E-15546 Scania B56 registered 240667 built at Repstad. The undersigned had the pleasure of picking up the latter bus on 230667, ie St. Hans evening, remember that the weather was glorious and that there was a wonderful midsummer atmosphere with bonfires, accordions and lots of people along the southern coast on the trip back to Valdres. These are buses that more or less got stuck on Fjordline and which are mentioned with registration number. Many other buses were used for duplication. JVB drivers who got stuck on Fjordline for many years were: Knut Thune, Olav Stølen, Sverre Kvale, Eivind Rye.
Here, the Fjordline bus is parked outside Sandven Hotell in Nordheimsund where a great lunch awaits us. In the picture we see tour guide Einar Tallaksen who later became Norwegian ambassador to one of the countries in the Middle East, a lady in turn and driver Ola Kristian Hegge in August 1970.
The buses were fitted with tape recorders, later cassette players which the tour guide “controlled” as the trip went on. This was information that the travelers were interested in getting, especially about Norwegian conditions such as school / health care and social conditions otherwise. The Norwegian travel agencies that produced such trips eventually hired professional tour guides to provide such information and it was important to have a person who could take care of the guests in the best possible way. Those who had jobs as tour guides were students at university level specializing in political science and language. Many of the tour guides today are well-known politicians and diplomats.
The drivers had a job keeping the buses clean and had to make sure that the windows were cleaned so that the view was the best, not all roads were paved during these times. The buses were equipped with a nice runner in the aisle and had fresh potted plants by the windshield. I remember a small detail from this time when these buses came to Fagernes for cleaning while the group ate lunch, chocolate with brandy was served to the tour participants and then we who washed the bus got such a piece of chocolate for work. (If we did not get one, we stole one). It did not take much to please a poor washer boy.
On June 23, 1959, a major disaster occurred, Stalheim Turisthotell burned to the ground and 24 tourists died, most of whom were participants in Fjordline tours.
Detailed tour program Norwegian Fjord Line
The tour participants were picked up at several hotels in Oslo according to the list of participants that the tour guide had. The trip continued to Sundvollen where coffee and cakes were served.
On to Hønefoss-Begnadalen with a photo stop in Bagnskleiva – Fagernes with lunch at Valdres Folkemuseum. Here was a tour of the old buildings and a performance of folk dancing.
Typical Norwegian food was served, in this case reindeer steak and whipped cream. Satisfied and good, the trip continued up Vestre Slidre with a photo stop at Kvale where you get a great view with Slidrefjorden, Lomen and the mountains in the background. When the first snow mountains appeared, music was constantly played by Edvard Grieg.
On to Vang where there was a short visit to the stave church which was rebuilt after most of the building materials were found under the floor of the main church. Otherwise, the bus stopped for photography where the participants wanted to immortalize the magnificent nature.
Eventually one arrived at Tyin Høyfjellshotell at about 1700 where there was dinner and accommodation. A quarter of an hour before dinner, the tour participants met at a get-together party where port wine or sherry was served, then a good Norwegian meal was served. It was set up so that the hotels would not serve the same dishes, but that the guests would have the widest possible range of Norwegian specialties. After coffee, folk dancing and other music were arranged so that the tour participants could swing a little if desired. The tour guide was responsible for making sure that as many people as possible got to dance and the drivers had to step in so that the blue-haired old ladies got a turn.
After a good breakfast it was time to leave. The trip went over Filefjell and down towards the Sognefjord. There was a stop at the salmon waterfall in Lærdalselva where the salmon often jumped willingly for the photographer.
On to Borgund Stave Church which was one of the main attractions on the trip. Any photo stops before coming to Lærdal and Lindstrøm Hotell for lunch. Here the tourists got to taste salmon as well as dessert and coffee before the trip continued to Refsnes where the ferry to Gudvangen arrived from Kaupanger. Boarding and a fantastic trip across the Sognefjord when the weather was at its best. Here one experienced some calls to small places along the Sognefjord as well as several passengers who came on board the middle fjords from Flåm and Aurland. Often it was livestock and goods that were hoisted onto the ferry. If the weather was nice, there was a lot of photography in these beautiful landscapes. After a couple of hours, the boat trip was over and one went ashore Gudvangen.
The journey then went up Stalheimskleiva where the road was built in the period 1842-49 and had 13 slings. The climb was 1: 5 and the steepest national road in Norway. At this time there was no permanent surface here and it was often difficult to get up if the road was very soft, it happened that you had to put on chains to get on. There was also some backing to get through the turns with the biggest buses. We who drove a lot here probably played a little extra because it was steep and winding, sometimes the back part of the bus was probably over the edge row so that those who sat in the back got a little extra view. This probably played a certain role when the tip after the trip was to be given to the tour guide and driver. Finally we arrived at Stalheim Turisthotell where there was dinner and accommodation. The hotel’s owner Trond Tønneberg had built up a fantastic museum with lots of beautiful buildings both from Bergen and the area around Stalheim. Also a magnificent flower garden that he loved to show off.
Breakfast was taken in the hotel’s solid dining room and the journey to Bergen was underway.
The first stop was at Tvindefossen, this double waterfall that was impressive when the water flow was at its best. On to Voss with a visit to the church and the memorial to the relocated football legend Knut Rokne who was a great celebrity among Americans. Soon we arrived at Skjervet and photography of Skjervefossen in Granvinselva. Soon it would taste good with coffee that was served in the old and venerable Mælands Hotell in Granvin. Several photo stops on the way to Fyksesund. Along the Hardangerfjord there was a narrow road and as there were a lot of caravans in the summer season, it could take a long time to get there as there were little opportunities to pass by a large bus. Often one had to try to climb on the edge rack, turn in mirrors, etc. to get ahead. In Øystese there was a visit to the museum of Ingebrikt Vik who was perhaps as big a sculptor as Gustav Vigeland. On to Norheimsund with a hearty Norwegian lunch at the old and nice Sandven Hotel. Photo stop at Steinsdalsfossen and at Kvamskogen before one after a while arrived at Gullbotten Turistheim where there was coffee and pee stop. There was always a lot of traffic when all scheduled and tourist buses stopped here.
After a good hour, the trip was at its end point in Bergen. Then it was time to bring the passengers to the hotel they were going to stay at and thank them for the trip. Many of the tour participants who took part in these tours had Norwegian ancestry and it was often that they stayed a few days to seek out relatives.
For the driver and tour guide, now was the time to count over the tip and wash the bus and get it ready for the next day and the same trip back to Oslo. The cleaning of the bus took place at the facility of Bergen Hardanger Billag, and accommodation for the tour guide and driver was at Hotel Orion. This is how it went all summer from about May 1 to October 1. This was a great time in JVB’s touring car history. We who had the opportunity to participate in this adventure look back on it as one of the greatest things one experienced during this period.
Swedish Lakeland Tour
It was Winge Reisebureau in Oslo that arranged this tour series. JVB as a carrier started this series in 1966 and the series was an extension of the Norwegian Fjord Line for those who wanted to include part of Sweden on their trip in Scandinavia.
Valdresruta acquired E-15530 Volvo B715 registered 240566 with body from Brødrene Repstads Karosserifabrikk in Søgne. After all, this was a very modern tourist bus. I think it was the first JVB procured that had shiny wheel caps in the nickel-plated version. Later, the E-15579 and E-15581 Scania BF80 were registered in May 1969 with a body from Larvik Karosserifabrikk. It was later foreman Ottar Rye who started as driver on this tour series. The series continued until 1971. Other drivers who were on this transport were Ola Nygård and Ola Kristian Hegge. The tours started in early May and until approx. October 1th.
Uploaded at various hotels in Stockholm and the trip was underway. On to Mariefred with a visit and tour of Gripsholm Castle before the journey went towards Eskilstuna and a little inland to the beach of Mælaren and Sundbyholm Castle. Here it was covered typical Swedish smorgasbord which the Americans greatly appreciated. In beautiful surroundings you could enjoy nature out here before the trip went via Arboga to Ørebro. A small sightseeing here which ended with a visit to the then very popular water tower which was the city’s vantage point.
It was a good time on this day stage so there were opportunities for many photo stops. On to Karlstad with accommodation at Stadshotellet which was a stately accommodation. Dinner was served at a restaurant called Sandgrunnen, a very pleasant place with good food and live music. This was the place where the famous Swedish top group Sven Ingvars played for many summers.
After breakfast we went on to Sunne with a visit to the solid flower and sculpture park Rotneros. Sculptures by the famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles. Sculptures that were also related to Selma Lagerløf’s story about Nils Holgerson. We were now in Varmland and her dear “hometown”. It was now time to visit the Nobel Prize winner’s home on Mårbacka which is very beautifully situated by Lake Fryken.
On to Kongsvinger and Odalen where a good lunch was served at Odalstunet. The trip continued towards Oslo and distribution to the various hotels. JVB ended the trip here, but the guests were to have Oslo sightseeing and events the next day. visit relatives before they possibly went on the Fjordline trip to Bergen.
Tour guide and driver prepared with bus cleaning and accommodation at Hotel Viking before starting on the same trip back to Stockholm.
Winge Reisebureau in Oslo was also the facilitator for this tour series, which JVB had commissioned for purely transport purposes. There had been some simple trips before the company was given a permanent assignment as a carrier from the summer of 1965-1968. The buses that went in this tour series were mostly E-15611 Scania Vabis B75 registered 090463, E-15542 Volvo B625 registered 260662, E-15549 Scania Vabis B76 registered 050665, E-15526 Scania Vabis B76 registered 100765 all with Brødrene Repstad Karosseri. Drivers were mostly Nils Moen, Jørgen Rødningen and Magne Stende.
To begin with, the groups were picked up at Refsnes, they had, after arriving in Bergen, had sightseeing and were accommodated at Hotell Terminus. Voss-Stalheim-Gudvangen Automobillag transported to Stalheim Turisthotell for dinner and overnight and the next day to Gudvangen. On board the ferry to Lærdal, but the passengers went mid-fjord on board the speedboat to Fjærland and lunch at Hotell Mundal. In the afternoon on to Lærdal where JVB started the trip.
Picked up the group at Lærdal on to Borgund Stave Church for a tour and to Tyin Høyfjellshotell for accommodation and breakfast.
Further with the same stop as Fjordline along the route to Fagernes and Oslo. Overnight and breakfast at KNA hotel.
Oslo sightseeing. Lunch and overnight at KNA Hotel.
After breakfast, the trip went via Elverum with lunch there, on to Nybergsund and into Sweden to Salen with dinner and accommodation at Salens Høgfjellshotell.
Today’s stage went to Mora-Nusnæs with a visit to Nils Olsons who produces the famous Dala horse in wood and which is painted in different colors according to an old Swedish pattern.
Today’s destination was Falun where the groups spent the night in different hotels.
The trip went down to Hedmora-Avestad and to Uppsala with a visit to the “Cathedral”.
Furthermore with courses for Stockholm and dinner and accommodation at Palace Hotell.
All day in Stockholm with sightseeing.
Stockholm-Jønkøping with accommodation at Stadshotellet.
Jønkøping- Gothenburg accommodation.
Sightseeing before departure and delivery on the boat to Fredrikshavn.
Event. empty drive back to Lærdal to start a new trip.
This tour series was based on a richer clientele, luxury hotels and first-class catering. Likewise, a wider range of sights. Maupintour had its headquarters for Europe in Brussels, but its headquarters in New York. The owner of the company was Tom Maupin. Had the honor of visiting the European office once and then greeted the company owner. Winge Reisebureau in Oslo and Inger Rosenberg were JVB’s contacts in Norway.
In 1971 the series started and JC-13480, JC-13481 and JC-13482 all DAF SB 1600 registered May 1971 and with ARNA BRUK body. In 1973, JC-26144, JC 26267 and JC-26210 were all DAF SB 1600 with Vest Karosseri added to the tour series. Drivers were: Ola Kristian Hegge, Magne Stende and Kåre Borgersen.
The Danish bus company VIKINGBUS in Copenhagen also participated in the transport.
The tour series ran until the summer of 1975.
In Måbødalen 17 May 1972 on a trip to Bergen to start on Maupintour on 18 May. JC-13480.
Picked up the group at Copenhagen Airport Kastrup and dropped the guests off at Hotel 3 FALKE which is located in the fashionable district of Fredriksberg a little north-west of the capital. Just before dinner, the group gathered for photography and a get-together party.
Sightseeing in Copenhagen with Amalienborg Castle, the little mermaid on Langelinje, Carlsberg glyptotek etc. before the trip went to Elsinore with a visit to Hamlet Castle. On to a great lunch at Marienlyst Restaurant. Back to the hotel for dinner. In the evening there was a visit to Tivoli with all the facilities one can get here.
After breakfast departure to Fyn and Odense, with a visit to the Viking Ship Museum and the cathedral in Roskilde before a wonderful lunch was taken. Continued towards Odense with a visit to H.C Andersen’s house before accommodation and dinner at Grand Hotell Odense.
When breakfast was well “inboard”, the trip went over to Jutland and Vejle. There we had a little city sightseeing before lunch at Hotel Australia. I think this is the most hearty and varied sandwich lunch I have ever experienced. Hotel Australia was built by two brothers who had made good money in Australia and invested in this luxury hotel. The restaurant we ate in was located on top of the hotel on the 11th floor. Satisfied and good, we continued to Aarhus with sightseeing before we drove on board Holger Danske or the newer acquisition Terje Vigen. Holger Danske was a real treat and a test in bad weather. Here it was dinner and breakfast on board before we landed in Oslo.
Here we had a short sightseeing before accommodation and lunch at Hotel Continental. Rest of the day free and dinner on the 2nd Floor of the Continental.
Visit the Viking Ship Museum and Fram. Then to Vigelandsparken before we had a wonderful lunch again at Hotell Continental.
Until dinner, the group could shop or take it easy at the hotel.
Dinner at Restaurant Najaden on Bygdøy. Remember once we were there, the Norwegian Seamen’s Choir had a concert with Erik Bye as soloist and that they sang a song especially for us. After dinner we were in Holmenkollen and stopped for a tour.
Today we set course for Sweden and lunch stop on Ørje before after a while we arrived at Mårbacka, the Nobel Prize winner in literature Selma Lagerløf’s home in beautiful Værmland and Fryken. Then to the flowers and the Rotneros sculpture park.
Dinner and overnight at Stadshotellet in Karlstad.
We started a little late in the morning via Arboga and towards Eskilstuna before we set course for Syndbyholm Castle out by Mælaren. After lunch towards Ørebro and coffee stop at Vattentornet with a view of the city.
On to Mariefred and a visit to Gripsholm Castle.
The trip continued via Sødertalje and ended up in Stockholm and Hotell Amaranten which is located on Skjeppsbron. Dinner at the hotel. I remember once that we were served shellfish salad here and that the whole group got food poisoning. The next day we were going to have a long sightseeing tour in Sweden’s capital but it was impossible when the whole group was sick. This was day 9 of the program.
The trip started after breakfast with a course for Uppsala and a visit to the historic cathedral and university with “Gunillaklockan” and all. On to the town of Sala and lunch at Stadshotellet. Soon we were to enter Dalarne and pass Avestad, Hedemora, Borlange before we could soon see Lake Siljan. Soon we arrived in Rattvik where we were to eat and stay at Hotell Lerdalshøjden.
In the morning we visited Nils Olson’s Hemsløjd and got to see the production of Dalahester. Further towards Mora and a visit to the famous Swedish painter Anders Zorn’s museum. After the visit to the Hall with lunch and on via Elverum to Hamar and accommodation at Hotel Astoria.
A little late departure before we continued towards Lillehammer with a visit to Maihaugen.
Lunch at Hotel Victoria. When we had lunch there was coffee and cakes in the fireplace room here. The undersigned used to walk around with the coffee pot to let the guests get a little more coffee, but once I was really unlucky, had poured into the cup of a blue-haired adult lady, when I lifted up the pot hooked the spout stuck in the hair of the lady and the whole the wig was lifted off. There was a commotion when he sat there with his head bare. Then to Fåberg and Østre Gausdal with accommodation at Gausdal Høyfjellshotell.
Per Gynt the road to Vinstra and on to Kvam with a stop at Sinclaire Vegkro.
Soon we were in Lom with a visit to the stave church and a wonderful lunch at Fossheim Turisthotell. Further rv.15 and towards Grotli and old Strynefjellsveg to Videseter with coffee stop.
Fantastic western nature on to Stryn and Loen. We stayed 2 nights at Hotel Alexandra.
Trip to Briksdalsbreen with lunch at the restaurant up there. If it was time after lunch, there was a small trip up in Lodalen to see the place where the rock hammer slid into the Loen water and a tidal wave caused 61 people to be killed in 1905 and 74 in 1936 when a new landslide occurred.
On to Olden- Innvik with many photo stops along the route. Lunch was taken at Skei Hotell in Jølster and finally we arrived at Kviknes Hotell in Balestrand for dinner and overnight. Here the group was told the stories from when Emperor Wilhelm was a regular guest for many summers.
Today the group went on board a speedboat along the Sognefjord and the bus drove to Kaupanger and on board the ferry to Gudvangen. The guests came on board in the middle of the fjord and after landing in Gudvangen we drove to Stalheim Hotel for lunch-dinner and accommodation.
The trip went to Voss with a visit to the church and a look at the football legend Knut Rokne’s statue near the train station. Many photo stops along the Hardangerfjord before we arrived at Øystese with a visit to the sculptor Ingebrikt Vik’s museum. Lovely lunch at Sandven Hotell. Photo stop at Steinsdalsfossen, further up Tokagjelet over Kvamskogen with a stop at Gullbotten Turistheim and up to Bergen where we lived and ate at the venerable Hotell Norge.
Sightseeing in Bergen and the surrounding area as well as a trip to Fløyen before lunch at Hotell Norge. Afternoon free.
After breakfast it was to deliver the group at Bergen Airport, Flesland. Later in the day it was to pick up a new group there and drive back the same route to Copenhagen.
It was a pleasant trip these almost 3 weeks we were on wheels with the same group and tour guide.
SAS Viking vacations: a better way to discover Scandinavia
This is how Travelers presented their summer program to Americans in the winter of 1975/76.
This is the first bus that was delivered to fulfill the order from Travelers. JC-40840, Scania BR 86 reg.1975 with 48 seats designed according to specifications from tour operator.
At an international tourism workshop in Loen in 1975, the then traffic manager in JVB came in contact with this company and these had plans to start up more series in Scandinavia.
Here it was about forging while the iron was hot and offering transport support. The company became interested and negotiations began immediately. This could be one of JVB’s largest turbo contracts. Traffic Manager Svein Edv. Løken Stensrud eventually moved to London, where the European office was located and was introduced to the group’s top managers. The undersigned was allowed to take part in the planning and had the practical responsibility for the bus concept. SAS was involved in Travelers and it was decided in the design of the logo to use the same design on the buses as on SAS’s aircraft. It was Vest Karosseri in Stryn that was to build the buses and the designers here were very cooperative and we quickly made a draft that I took to London and got approved by John West who was Creative Director in Travelers. This was an incredibly exciting and challenging task and JVB landed a large contract that lasted for a few seasons until the market flattened out.
The travel leader and the drivers uniform
These tour series that I have described here are, as mentioned before, only a small part of it all. What JVB was able to gain from contacts with the major travel agencies both here at home and abroad has simply been an adventure. There was a great will and financial ability to put it all into practice, which has benefited the tourism industry in Valdres and large parts of tourism Norway.
-Ola Kristian Hegge
In the picture, we see from the left traffic manager Svein Edvard Løken Stensrud, Maj-Britt Berntsen, then tourism manager in Valdres Bjørn Olsen, Ola Kristian Hegge and Anne Catrine Myhre in front of the bus we used as an ambulatory tourist office where Valdres was to be promoted.
Must also write a chapter on winter traffic to Valdres which eventually became formidable and a good contribution to employment in JVB and not least in the tourism companies in the region. The reason why this was successful was probably that Reisetrafikklaget for Valdres and Jotunheimen, the tourism companies and JVB cooperated incredibly well in the relevant markets. In Norway, it was primarily the local market in Oslo and Akershus, eventually also in East and Vestfold. A very good collaboration was initiated with the travel agencies in these areas and tour tours were arranged for the employees so that they had a good basis for being able to sell Valdres.
After the train traffic from Gothenburg with a direct connection to Fagernes was discontinued at the end of the 1960s, it was relevant for JVB to do something about the winter traffic from here in the period February to over Easter. There was great courage and willingness in the company to gather all good forces to bring about a good collaboration with the travel agencies in the Gothenburg area, primarily Paddans Resebureau, NORD-RESOR, RESO and Bengt Martins Restjanst in Karlstad.
In February 1969, 20 buses from JVB were ready to pick up Swedes up to the alluring winter mountains in Valdres.
The buses started from Gothenburg at 2200 on Friday night and went all night to Valdres, necessary stops were of course along the way. Breakfast was prepared on arrival in Valdres for those going up to Filefjell, Tyin, Tyinholmen, Eidsbugarden and Bygdin. These had their breakfast at “Fengselet” in Aurdal and at Fagernes Hotell. The other tourists got their breakfast at the tourist companies they were going to stay at
There were some small starting difficulties that one later chuckles a little in the beard of thinking about. Not all permits and papers for border crossing were well thought out, but had a good outcome.
Among other things, there was a protest from the large transport company GDG Busstrafik (Gothenburg-Dalarne and Gjavle Busstrafik) who thought that they had to take part in these large transports.
Then it was arranged so that the weekend after the big transport, GDG would provide half of the necessary buses, it was only with this time. They found that this was something JVB could do in a much better way and an incredibly good collaboration was gradually initiated with GDG on other projects.
Must mention that it was often tiring to run these night buses from Sweden and Denmark. Firstly, there were a few of the buses that had a window washer and the driving lights were poor. On these stretches there were often fog and muddy roads so that one had to stop and wash off windshields and headlight lenses. Personally, I had a jug of water with a little vinegar mixture so that the water would not freeze on the windshields.
The direct buses from Sweden during the winter holiday period only increased for several years, with both Karlstad, Stockholm, the east coast of Sweden all the way down to Malmö and eventually Copenhagen were relevant destinations.
Several of the valleys in Norway were also involved in this traffic and JVB was responsible for the transport to Gudbrandsdalen, Hallingdal and Østerdalen.
In the picture we see the E-15547 rig for Valdres promotion in northern Germany.
Gradually, a collaboration was also initiated with the Swedish ferry company STENA-LINE to promote Valdres as a destination in the winter, it was especially northern Germany that was the catchment area for this collaboration.
Although there was good cooperation between travel traffic teams, tourism companies to create this traffic, it was ultimately JVB that was the driving force for this to be a success.
-Ola Kristian Hegge