SJ builds a railway and bridge across Storsandskär
In 1895, the Swedish Parliament decided to build a rail connection from Vännäs to Umeå, that would then continue to Storsandskär. The stretch to Umeå was officially opened by King Oskar II on 28 September 1896. By the end of the year, the line had reached the river shore across from Storsandskär.
With the help of three pile drivers, one steam-powered and two hand-operated, the pilework and retaining wall construction for the 300-metre-long railway bridge began. Its construction was simple, with an iron superstructure resting on posts. The bridge spanned 40 metres, with a 7.5 metre length per section. It was completed in 1898, as was a 1,120-metre railway embankment on Storsandskär. The year before, a 150-metre long loading dock was completed on the island. This completed the railway company’s commitment.
City of Umeå planned a new port
Why do this now? Because it was difficult for deep vessels to dock in Umeå’s harbour. The city government searched for a suitable location to build a new harbour by the mouth of the river. Holmsund was considered but was unsuitable for various reasons.
But Storsandskär was seen as a suitable place for a port. Deep vessels were thought to be able to load and unload via the main channel of the river, along the west side of the island.
No trains ever went to Storsandskär. The same year that railway construction began, the city council earmarked funding for dredging the entire channel, from the city down to the planned port. The channel downstream from Storsandskär was untouched; it was considered the state’s responsibility. Due to the dispute between the state and the City of Umeå, construction of the harbour came to a halt.
Two reasons for this were the significant costs to the city in conjunction with the devastating fire of 1888, and involvement in the construction of the power plant at Klabböle.
The state demolishes the bridge and the city builds in Holmsund
In 1901, state auditors noted the costs of keeping the 300-metre-long bridge in good condition, and in 1909 the Swedish Parliament decided to demolish the bridge and tracks on Storsandskär. This probably took place within the next few years. How did things work out for the port, then? Well, in 1916, the city council decided to expropriate Vedkasudden outside of Holmsund to build a new harbour.
And we all know what happened next.
The fiasco with the harbour on and railway to Storsandskär may have resulted in the entire enormous project being forgotten. Nor do there appear to be any photos of the bridge.
This is remarkable, as the 300-metre-long bridge seems to have been one of the country’s longest railway bridges at the turn of the last century!