Vilppula railway station
The Vilppula Society has provided the Serlachius Museums with digital copies of their own photo collection. Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the society’s pictures show a wide range of Vilppula’s history. The photographs comprise fine shots of rail traffic and the 140-year-old Vilppula railway station, among others.
Finland’s first railway was built from Helsinki to Hämeenlinna in 1857–62. In the early 1870s, trains ran from Helsinki to St. Petersburg and Tampere. Next, a railway line from Tampere to Vaasa was planned. The route west of Lake Näsijärvi via Ostrobothnia to the coast seemed obvious at first.
G. A. Serlachius, who had struggled with poor transport connections and was farsighted, saw a great opportunity for his own factory in the rail connection. He promoted the railway east of Lake Näsijärvi in articles he wrote for Morgonbladet, and in 1877 he sought to represent the bourgeois estate in Tampere, but without success.
Other advocates of the eastern railway line included representatives of the peasant estate, farmhouse owner Juho Riihimäki from Keuruu and manor owner Agathon Meurman from Kangasala. The decision on the direction of the railway was made in the Diet of 1877–1878, where the majority supported the railway line through Vilppula. The construction of the railway began in 1879.
A large construction site, the railway provided work for many, but also brought with it unpleasant side effects. Drunkenness, speakeasies, card playing, thefts and fights increased. There were at least three serious accidents around the construction site around Vilppula, two of which claimed lives.
The Vilppula station building was built in 1881–1883 according to the drawings of class IV type station no. 1 of the Vaasa railway. The stations were divided into different categories based on the bustle of the station and the number of passengers. The most common were stations and stops of classes IV and V. The designer of the Vilppula station building is considered to be Knut Nylander. In the early 1900s, the station was expanded based on drawings drawn up by architect Bruno F. Granholm.
The second time the train stopped on the bridge of the Vilppula rapids, where not only the bridge building but also the beauty of the landscape charmed the spectators. Here the Governor-General went to see the groundwood mill of industrialist Serlachius. (Tampereen Sanomat 2.10.1883.)
The owner of the Mänttä paper mill and the Vilppulankoski groundwood mill, G. A. Serlachius, had reason to rejoice when the train celebrating the inauguration of the Vaasa railway drove the dignitaries to Vilppula on Friday 28.9.1883. It took just over four hours to travel by train from Tampere to Vilppula. The goal pursued by Serlachius of running the main railway from Tampere east of Lake Näsijärvi via Vilppula had been achieved. The line had already been opened for temporary traffic in November 1882.
The Tampere-Vaasa railway has played a major role in the development of the municipality of Vilppula, the Mänttä mill and the Jämsänkoski pulp mill, among others. The sulphite cellulose mill in Jämsänkoski, which started operations in 1889, had its own warehouse building at the Vilppula station, just like the Mänttä mill. In winter, when Lake Päijänne was frozen, pulp bales were transported along a pulp road to the Vilppula station. Vilppula railway station became a significant transport station for timber as well as wood products.
Keskisarja, Teemu (2010): Vihreän kullan kirous. G. A. Serlachiuksen elämä ja afäärit [Curse of the Green Gold. G. A. Serlachius life and affairs]. Kustannusosakeyhtiö Siltala.
Mönkkönen, Mauri (1988): Vilppulan ja Pohjaslahden historia 1866–1918. Vilppulan kunta ja seurakuntayhtymä.
Tampereen Sanomat 2.10.1883.
Tuuri, Antti (1999): UPM-Kymmene. Metsän jättiläisen synty. Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava.
Valanto, Sirkka (1982): Suomen rautatieasemat vuosina 1857–1920. Museovirasto, rakennushistorian osasto, julkaisu N:o 11, 1/1982.