Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
Already at the beginning of the 1870s demands were made that there had to be a railway connection between Bergen and East Norway. The first section between Bergen and Voss was finished in 1883. The route alternatives further on were many: Lærdal-Valdres, Aurland-Geiteryggen, Raundalen-Finse and Ulvik-Finse. Following a long dispute, an agreement was finally reached that the middle route alternative, Raundalen- Myrdal- Finse, was the best alternative. In 1894 the government passed a resolution that the Bergen railway should be built, but only the section Voss-Taugevatn. This was a political gamble in order to make the rest of the country participate in the plans. In 1898 it was approved that the railway be continued eastwards from Taugevatn to Oslo. This high mountain project was one of the most challenging railway projects in Europe. The Bergen railway was to be built across a mountain plateau without roads.
Opponents of the Bergen Railway used the snow argument for all it was worth. During the debate in Parliament before the decision about the route was reached in 1894, fears of snowfalls of over 20 metres were presented.