Welcome to a trip with the steam train from Jädraås!
(Updated Sep 15, 2019)
Jädraås is situated in the Iron Land of Gästrikland (a province 200 km north of Stockholm) – a part of Sweden where iron mines and blast furnaces once gave life and activity to the district. In the year 1881 the railway was connected to the village. About 6 kilometres of the old narrow gauge track is still left, but now as the museum society Jädraås – Tallås Railway, JTJ, with train traffic as it looked like a hundred years ago.
How to find Jädraås, press here.
Start the trip from Jädraås and travel with the train to Svartbäcken Nedre. On return travel the train makes a longer stop at Tallås. Here you can disembark for a pause at the old station environment from 1880s. Café Mallet is serving coffee, soft drinks, buns and more. You are also welcome to bring your own packed lunch.
Traffic days 2020:
- Sundays June 14 - August 30. Timetable will be published later
- Great Train Weekend July 18-19 with a numerous trains of different kinds during two days.
- Evening traffic on Saturday August 22 with steam trains in the light of kerosene lamps.
Adults: Round-trip 100 SEK (One-way trip 60 SEK)
Children 7-17 years: Round-trip 50 SEK (One-way trip 30 SEK)
Day ticket for unlimited travels during one day, 160 SEK (Children 7-17 years xx SEK).
We accept creditcards.
JTJ is a part of former Dala-Ockelbo-Norrsundets Railway, DONJ. The common task was to transport goods for iron and timber works. DONJ was closed in 1970. At JTJ there are 5 steam engines, among them two very large that was built to haul heavy timber loads up the steep hills along the line of DONJ. JTJ also have several diesel engines, about 15 passenger cars and almost 50 freight cars of different kinds from DONJ and other railways.
Short travel guide - Jädraås – Svartbäcken single and return
Welcome to travel with the steam train a summer Sunday! The trip starts at Jadraås, which was the old DONJ railway main station. (Read more about DONJ further on.) Here the old railway environment is preserved with station building, engine stables, water tower and different workshops and it is also the center of the JTJ museum railway activities.
Buy a ticket at the ticket office in the waiting room at station building. You will get an old fashioned cardboard ticket, of the type that was frequently used in older days.
Behind the ticket office you can see the train expedition where the station master works. From here the traffic is guided as in older days, which is by telephone calls from station to station as the train moves on the line and filling in different forms by hand.
In the waiting room you will find toilets, souvenirs and candy.
Take your seats! Get on board and sit down; it is soon time for departure. A short signal with the steam whistle announces that the engine begins to move.
The first stop is Åbo, a small loading bridge for the farmers milk cans.
Soon the train comes to the station Pallanite. The name is Finnish, and means burnt meadow. It is reminiscent of the frequent immigration from Finland to this district during the 17 th century. The little station building was originally built at the station Stora Björnmossen at the DONJ but has been transported here for use by JTJ. Nearby at the river you can see a small water power plant.
Sometimes the train makes a short pause at the stop Finkelboda before the line runs along the Pallanite Lake and then accelerates up the hill to Itranite timber loading work. On the left side you can see remains of the constructions. A side track ran down to the river where freight cars were loaded with timber. (In older days timber was transported to saw mills and paper mills floating on the small and large rivers that are numerous of in our country)
You pass the Tallås station and after having climbed a steep hill the train reach the other end of the line, the station Svartbäcken Nedre. This is built for the JTJ. The old DONJ railway went further away, but today the former railway embankment is converted to a timber transport road. About three kilometres further on you find the old station Svartbäcken.
The old Svartbäcken station is now owned by JTJ, and some day in the future the railway may be lengthened to here.
After a short stop the train returns to a longer stop at Tallas station.
This was built in 1880. Now as then the station is in complete lack of electricity as well as flowing water from a tap, but there is of course a stove fired by wood, tiled stoves for heating and a hand pump on a well outside the house. In the stable building, where you can find the café today, the station master held some animals to compensate for his low salary.
In Tallås the train normally stops for 30 minutes until the journey continues, back to Jädraås. The Café Mallet is serving coffee with buns and cakes, and there is plenty of room to unpack your own packed lunch on the lawns around the station. In the station and in the old stable there is an interesting exhibition about the life on and around Tallås in older days.
During the stop the engine usually is turned around on the turn table.
Railway in the land of Iron
In the county of Gästrikland as in many other places in Sweden, mines, iron works and timber have given life and incomes to the otherwise empty vast wood district. But those goods are in need of transports. For a long time these were both troublesome and time consuming and could only be managed by horses and sleighs in the winters when snow and ice gave better possibilities sometimes paired with hauled barges over the lakes at summer times.
When the railway with its steam engines arrived during the 19th century it of course meant a revolution. The railway made it also much easier for people to travel.
Dala – Ockelbo – Norrsundet Railway (DONJ) – the "crawline" from inland to coast
The DONJ railway was built straight trough the land of iron. It was built in stages during 1875 – 1897 and ran from Linghed in the county of Dalarna passing Jädraås and Ockelbo to Norrsundet at the coast of the Baltic Sea. Its length was 86 km (about 54 miles) and the gauge 891 mm (3 feet).
Linghed is situated in parish of Svardsjö and since the inhabitants there were called by the nick name "craws" the line was named the "craw line" in common.
The traffic with freight cars on DONJ was very large. From the beginning the loads were iron ore (from an iron mine Vintjärn along the line), charcoal (from the vast woods) and wood products, but from the 1930´s only timber transports remained. (Then almost all the small iron works in Sweden were forced to make bankruptcy because of their high costs.) On the other hand the passenger traffic was always quite small and closed already in 1959.
Though the expensive steam engines were replaced with diesel engines, the competition with road traffic was at last overwhelming. On October, 1970 the last scheduled train ran on the line. Unlike most other private railways with economic troubles in Sweden, the DONJ was never bought by the state railways, but was managed by private owners until it was shut down.
The museum society Jädraås – Tallås Järnväg (railway), JTJ, wants to take care of the heritage from DONJ but also from three other similar railways in the middle of Sweden. Their common task was to transport goods for iron and timber works.
Other than DONJ they are the Åg railway (a side track to DONJ from Vintjärn station), the Byvalla – Långshyttan railway (BLJ) in the county of Dalarna and Nordmark – Klarälven railway (NKlJ) in the county of Värmland. Almost all of the engines and cars at JTJ comes from these railways.
JTJ keeps the tradition living
After the closure nearly all of the rails at DONJ were removed. But 6 kilometres from Jädraås and westward were kept and was transformed to a living museum that takes care of the old railway traditions for future generations.
At JTJ there are 5 steam engines, among them two very large (number 8 and 12), that were built in 1910 to haul heavy timber loads up the steep hills along the line of DONJ. (They have double compound cylinders on each side of the Mallet system.) Today number 12 is in traffic while number 8 stands in a garage awaiting a renovation.
The engine KORSÅN (built 1902) is much smaller and was first owned by Åg railway, a side track to DONJ from Vintjärn passing the Åg blast furnace to Svartbäcken loading bridge at Lake Hinsen. From this line we have also got the "King’s Car", in which the Swedish king Oscar II travelled when he partook in bear hunting in this district during the 1890: ies.
The engines SIGBJÖRN (built 1901) and TALLÅS (built 1898) comes from the BLJ railway.
The small steam driven passenger car MAJORN built 1888 in the DONJ work shops, is a quite unique one. It was used for inspection travels at DONJ. The doctor also used car when he visited people who were ill along the line.
Above this JTJ have several diesel engines, railway bicycles, about 15 passenger cars of different sizes and almost 50 freight cars of different kinds from DONJ and other railways.
About the blast furnace village at Jädraås
The history of the village Jädraås runs back to the middle of 19 th century when the Ockelbo Company decided to build a new blast furnace for iron ore at the water falls of the Jädra River. The melting hut was erected during 1855–1858. A number of dwellings for the workers were also built and of course a manor house for the director. The later was finished in 1856 and with this the village Jädraås had got its outlines.
A big step in the development came when the railway connected Jädraås with the iron mines at Vintjärn in 1881.
In the beginning of 1884 the station building was finished and Jadraas developed to a centre for the railway administration. Here the railway also built its own mechanical work shops, foundry, smithy and joinery.
During 1904-1905 a Lancashire smithy was built to refine the raw iron from the furnace to steel and in 1912 a bar iron work was moved here from another place. 1914 the Lancashire smithy was enlarged with several additional hearths. New tracks were built to the different production units in the village. There is good reason to say that the years 1914-1930 was the period of greatness for the Jadraas iron works.
At that time new and cheaper methods for producing iron came in use. The economy for the Ockelbo Company deteriorated and in 1930 the blast furnace at Jädraås was closed definitely. The smithy continued its diminishing work, but in 1942 that too came to an end.
Already in 1887 the Ockelbo Company was bought by the Kopparfors and Hofors sawmill company in order to get control of the former company’s large resources of wood. When Jädraås stopped producing iron the later company was solely a timber company, and Jädraås became a big settlement for their lumberjacks.
Still today there are many buildings left from the older days. The blast furnace and the Lancashire smithy have been restored and are worthy of a visit.
Exhibition of the blast furnace and smithy
Sundays when the steam train drives, the furnace and smithy are open between 1000-1600. You can stroll around yourself and take part of the information signs.