My weekend getaway in my home town was coming to a close. I was in no hurry to get back home, so I decided to make the most out of my trip.
The Guardian’s article in January had listed the most beautiful rural railroads in Europe, and they had chosen the track between Oulu and Kuopio as one of them. I strongly disagree with this view, but decided nevertheless, to go see it with my own eyes.
Now there are two ways to get from Oulu to the capital region. The easiest and only sensible option is to take the 5,5 to 6,5 hour train on the main North-South track in Finland. This is most widely used, as it’s quite fast and sometimes even very cheap if you book in advance.
There is an option, though. You can take the train running through Kajaani, Kuopio, Mikkeli, Kouvola and Lahti. The line has an amazing 19 stops and lasts for 9,5 hours. It literally makes a turn the shape of an inverted C running through almost the entire width of Finland and descending down South the Eastern trunk route.
Sensible? No. Great entertainment in the midst of a pandemic? Yes. I bought a couple of bottles of white wine and a small bottle of yellowish lemonade, drank the lemonade and went to the toilet to fill up the bottle with wine every now and then. As I remembered, the scenery wasn’t that spectacular. But I was happily drunk by the time we reached the third stop.
Now there was one station I was eagerly awaiting for, and that was Kontiomäki. One of the more spectacular buildings on the route, I knew, that there had been a fire a few weeks back. I had seen pictures of the fire in news reports, and I knew, that the building had suffered badly. But I didn’t expect this.
What had once been one of the most beautiful station buildings in Finland was now one of the saddest sights I had ever seen. The ruins were demolished some time later, and the station was gone for good.
Click here to see how the station looked in its prime.