Glomma

Sarpsborgs hamn under E6-bron.

Sarpsborgs hamn under E6-bron.

Sarpsborgs hamn under E6-bron.

Sarpsborgs hamn under E6-bron.

© Pictures by Jahn Børe Jahnsen, 2003

Glomma is Norways longest river. It is only natural that parts of the river were used for boat traffic, but mostly where the river was naturally navigable, without canalisation.
Glommas lower part from Fredrikstad to Sarpsborg (Sannesund) about 13 kilometers is navigable for oceangoing ships.
At Sarpsborg is the Sarpsfossen waterfalls, about 20 meters high, and locks were never built here.
Above Sarpsborg the Glomma river is navigable for about 30 kilometers to Valdisholm in Eidsberg. Here the steamboat Krabben was in regular traffic from 1869 to 1947. The name Krabben comes from lensekrabbe, a person who worked with timber floating on the river. Later regulations in the river created difficulties for the boat.

To get right to the Sarpsborg town a canal was dug 1915 - 1919 into the Glengshølen bay.
From the traffic rules of the canal from 1915 we quote:
"The canal is marked with two lights at St. Hansberget and two lights at Fritznerbakkken so that one is in the middle line of the canal when the lights are seen in pairs. The lights are of different colours in pairs. Steamboats should make a long blow with the whistle before leaving or entering the canal.
"Timber is not to be hauled in the canal when steamboats, according to schedule, are supposed to pass. Timber is not to be hauled wider than a bundle before 6 oclock in the evening."
The canal was made not only for Krabben, but also because of the industry along the river. But this industry soon made other arrangements or was closed down. So it was Krabben that benefited from the canal.
Glengshølen canal is navigable and marked with poles. A new Krabben started tourist traffic on the Glomma river in 1986.
But in 2000 the boat sank after hitting the ground. There were only three persons on board and no one was hurt. The boat was taken up, but many said it was too deep for the sometimes shallow river. So it was sold back to salt water traffic at Fredrikstad under its old name Skjærhalden.
Today there is no tourist boat between Sarpsborg and Valdisholm, except for a small boat Bamse on the northern part.
Above Valdisholm are three large power stations Vamma, Kykkelsrud and Solbergfoss with dams on a distance for 15 kilometers up to lake Øyeren. On lake Øyeren there were several steamboats in the old days up to Lillestrøm and Rånåsfoss.

Jahn Børe Jahnsen

Unfinished canal plans

The first who suggested that parts of Glomma should be canalised for boats was manor owner Peder Anker, who had seen canals in England. The transport of timber from the northern part of lake Øyeren to the Oslo fjord could only take place during the winter with horses and sledges, and this created many problems. The first canal commission in 1805 suggested a canal from Christiania (Oslo) to Øyeren, with locks so that steam boats could continue upstreams on the rivers Glomma and Vorma.
The suggestion was passed, but put aside as financially impossible.
In 1824 the question was raised once more, now with locks from Sarpsborg to Øyeren. The prime minister was positive and the citizens of Fredrikstad suggested building locks at Sarpsfossen and other waterfalls. But the canal commission in 1824 found the locks at Sarpsfossen too difficult, because they had to be built in clay. The plans for a canal along lower Glomma was put aside, except for the small Glenghølen canal much later in 1915.
There was also no canal between Oslo and Øyeren because Norways first railway was built from Oslo to Eidsvoll at the southern end of lake Mjøsa in 1854.
But a lock was built at Sundbyfossen in Vorma. Boats could go from lake Mjøsa down the Vorma and up the Glomma river to Odalen or Kongsvinger. The Odal Iron Works had regular boat traffic from Storsjøen in Odal to Eidsvoll. The boat transported iron and wood out, grain and chalk back. The boat had a small sail to help and a crane to help hauling the boat upstream when the current was too strong for the engine. Later the lock was moved from Sundbyfoss to Svanfoss in Vorma.
This was the great steam boat era on the river Glomma, with steamboats from Sarpsborg to Vamma, from Kongsvinger to Flisa, on lake Storsjøen in Rendal and on lake Aursunden by Røros.
In 1862 a railway was built along the Glomma river from Lillestrøm to Kongsvinger. The the steam boat traffic came to an end here, and eventually all steam boat traffic on the river stopped. Later a power station and dam were built at Funnefoss in Glomma just north Vorma, so that today you can not go by boat from Mjøsa to Odalen and Kongsvinger. Southwards from Vorma you can get as far as the Rånåsfoss power station and dam by Lillestrøm.
In recent years Tollef Kilde from Rena wanted to build a canal and locks in the river Glomma all the way north to Rena and further along the river Rena to Storsjøen. He wanted cooperation between a canal and a railway. The ministry of communications examined the suggestion in 1925 and in 1944, but said no. So Glomma, the longest river in Norway, never had any important canals or locks.


Källor: Tore Stubberud: Krabben, Valdisholm forlag 1986. Leif Ryvarden og Tor Selstad: "Glomma", Universitetsforlaget 1985, forkortet og bearbeidet av Jahn Børe Jahnsen
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This page was modified at 12-08-06