The Forsby-Köping limestone cableway
, commonly referred to in swedish as Kalklinbanan
, is a 42 km aerial tramway
An aerial tramway , cable car , ropeway or aerial tram is a type of aerial lift which uses one or two stationary ropes for support while a third moving rope provides propulsion...
running from Forsby in Vingåker
Vingåker is a locality and the seat of Vingåker Municipality, Södermanland County, Sweden with 4,362 inhabitants in 2005.It was partly built in the English garden of Säfstaholm, a large estate which up until 1855 was home to philanthropist and art collector Gustaf Trolle-Bonde...
municipality to industrial town Köping
Köping is a locality and the seat of Köping Municipality in Västmanland County, Sweden. It had 17,358 inhabitants in 2005. It is known for the television series I en annan del av Köping.- History :...
in central Sweden. Its final destination is the factory at the port of Köping, where cement was manufactured until 1978, and later various limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....
derivatives. The cableway was Europe's longest at the time of construction. It was later superseded by a handful of longer cableways, notably the Norsjö aerial tramway
Norsjö aerial tramway is a 13.2 kilometre long aerial tramway between Örträsk and Mensträsk in the Norsjö Municipality in Sweden.Norsjö aerial tramway went in service for passenger traffic in 1989 as a tourist attraction...
, all of which were demolished during the 1960s-1980s. It was taken out of service in 1997 but kept in working order. By that time all longer industrial cableways had been demolished making it at present the world's longest cableway in working order.
The cableway was built in 1939 by AB Nordströms Linbanor for Skånska Cement AB in concert with the construction of its Forsby limestone plant and cement factory in Köping. A 300 people workforce completed the installation at a pace of 2,1 km/month. The choice of a cableway was determined after evaluation of a number of modes of transportation, and special care was taken not to interfere with the surrounding landscape, particularly at the lake Hjälmaren
Lake Hjälmaren is Sweden's fourth largest lake. It is situated adjacent to Lake Mälaren through which it drains into the Baltic Sea, west of Stockholm...
Construction by numbers
| Resource || Amount
|| 15.000 m³
|| 1.000 metric tons
| Total expense
|| 4 million SEK
The krona has been the currency of Sweden since 1873. Both the ISO code "SEK" and currency sign "kr" are in common use; the former precedes or follows the value, the latter usually follows it, but especially in the past, it sometimes preceded the value...
The system consists of three types of stations: Power Stations
with 135 hp (101 kW) electric motors, powering one or both connecting sections. Terminal stations
in Forsby and Köping where the limestone was loaded/unloaded also functioned as power stations. Angle stations
lack motors and only change the angle of the cable track by splicing together two sections powered run from their respective other sides. Station buildings have an iron frame, wooden walls and roof constructed from asbestos cement. The pulling cables go in endless loops between stations, and kept taut by counterweights in towers in the power stations. The heavier carrying cable is divided into four runs along each section, connected by tension stations. These stations are comparatively small, simple structures regulating cable tension along the way.
Limestone from the Forsby quarry was coarsely crushed and sorted by hand. Passing cableway cars were automatically loaded from a storage silo, after the passage to Köping cars were automatically unloaded, the limstone was fine-ground and ready for cement production.
The cableway is supported by 235 concrete trestles and split into 4 sections with stations in Forsby och Köping as well as the angle stations at Granhammar, Malmberga and Knotberget. Of these trestles, 10 are tall "special trestles" at the crossing of the Hjälmaren strait and Arboga river
Arboga River is a river in Sweden. It flows from the lake Väringen, through Arboga and eventually into the lake Mälaren at Kungsör....
, the tallest being 45 m. Power stations are located in Köping, Malmberga and Forsby. 12 tension stations line the track, and 8 road or railway intersections are protected by steel nets. The limestone was transported in 750 bucket-shaped cars, each carrying 1200 kgs for a total capacity of 90 metric tons per hour.
In June 1997 the track was taken out of service and Forsby limestone is since transported by truck. By then, the cableway had transported a total of 25 million tons of limestone and been in operation for 56 years. This made the Forsby-Köping cableway the longest duration operating in the 10 km-class of cableways (closest second is the Mariquita-Manizales cableway, which was run for 39 years). The limestone cableway has since been preserved as industrial heritage
Industrial heritage is an aspect of cultural heritage dealing specifically with the buildings and artifacts of industry which are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations, often forming a significant attraction for tourism.The...
, test run each year and subjected to some degree of maintenance. In 2003 it was appointed Industrial memorial of the year by Svenska industriminnesföreningen.
November 2009 current owner Nordkalk
Nordkalk is a manufacturer of limestone-based products based in Finland. It operates at more than 30 different locations in 8 countries of Central and Northern Europe.-History:...
, following unsuccessful attempts to transfer it to a suitable caretaker, announced that demolition is being planned and may take place as early as 2010.