Forsby-Köping limestone cableway

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The limestone cableway running north towards Arboga river

The Forsby-Köping limestone cableway, commonly referred to in Swedish as Kalklinbanan, was a 42 km aerial tramway running from Forsby in Vingåker municipality to industrial town Köping in central Sweden. Its final destination is the factory at the port of Köping, where cement was manufactured until 1978, and later various limestone derivatives.[1] The cableway was Europe's longest at the time of construction.[2] It was later superseded by a handful of longer cableways, notably the Norsjö aerial tramway, all of which were demolished during the 1960s–1980s.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.[3]

Despite its officially affirmed value as cultural heritage[3] the cableway is being demolished starting June 26, 2013. The fully functioning cableway will be run one last time as carriages are removed from the track and sold for scrap. Cables will be removed later during the year and poles demolished towards the winter of 2013/14.


Casting of concrete trestle in 1940

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.[2] 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 strait.[2]

Construction by numbers
Resource Amount
Concrete 15.000 m³[4]
Rebar 1.000 metric tons[4]
Workforce 300 people[2]
Man-hours 800.000[4]
Total expense 4 million SEK[1]

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 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.[4]


Limestone from the Forsby quarry was coarsely crushed and sorted by hand.[5] Passing cableway cars were automatically loaded from a storage silo, after the passage to Köping cars were automatically unloaded, the limestone was fine-ground and ready for cement production.[4] 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, 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.[4] The limestone was transported in 750 bucket-shaped cars, each carrying 1200 kg for a total capacity of 90 metric tons per hour.[4]

The limestone cableway crossing European route E20 and Arboga River


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.[6] 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, test run each year and subjected to some degree of maintenance. In 2003 it was appointed Industrial memorial of the year by Svenska industriminnesföreningen.[6]

November 2009 current owner Nordkalk announced that demolition is being planned, following unsuccessful attempts to transfer it to a suitable caretaker. In December 2011, evaluation for classification as cultural- or world heritage was proposed, but has not been carried out as of early 2013.[7] Despite this effort, demolition applications were submitted to the concerned municipalities in June 2012, and is planned to take place during the autumn.

The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage – TICCIH – was alerted of the urgent situation and wrote an open letter in February 2013 addressed to key organizations including the Swedish National Heritage Board.[8] This letter reinforces the singular importance of the Forsby-Köping cableway as transportation heritage, urging the authorities involved to avert demolition and assure its preservation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Berggren, Peter (Producer), Sune Karlsson (Assistant) (May 2003). Linbanan Forsby–Köping – En resa längs linbanan (The Forsby-Köping cableway – a journey along the cableway) (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
  2. ^ a b c d Widén, E. G. A. (1943). The ropeway Kristineberg-Boliden : A record ropeway construction. Stockholm: Nordströms linbanor.
  3. ^ a b Henrik Ogstedt; Hanna Domfors (2010). Kalklinbanan: sammanställning och kulturhistorisk värdering (The limestone cableway: overview and cultural-historic evaluation) (PDF) (Report) (in Swedish). NIRAS Sweden AB. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-12.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Häggbom, Ivar; Börje Lambert (1942). Skånska cementaktiebolagets fabriksanläggningar i Köping och Forsby (The Scanian Cement company's factories at Köping and Forsby) (in Swedish). Stockholm: Skånska cement ab.
  5. ^ Ropeways. Stockholm: Nordströms linbanor AB. 1944.
  6. ^ a b Karlsson, Samuel (2005). Levande industriminnen : människorna och miljöerna (Living industrial heritage: the people and the settings) (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bilda. ISBN 91-574-7765-5.
  7. ^ "Nya försök rädda kalklinbanan" [New attempts to save the limestone cableway] (in Swedish). Sveriges Television. 2011-10-03. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  8. ^ "Amerikansk professor vädjar för kalklinbanan (American professor makes a plea for the limestone cableway)". Katrineholmskuriren (in Swedish). Vingåker. 2013-03-01. Archived from the original on 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-03-01.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°19′N 16°4′E / 59.317°N 16.067°E / 59.317; 16.067