Storstraumen and Småstraumen

The steamer Fram on it's way into the lock at Nisservatn.

© Picture by Jahn Børe Jahnsen, 1991

Since centuries back there has been timber floating from Vråliosen at the northwestern end of lake Vråvatn to Treungen at the southern end of lake Nisser. Where the two lakes meet the stream made the floating difficult and in the 1800ies the local people started discussing a lock here.
In the end the authorities were persuaded to see the benefit of a lock, and in 1866 the canal agency suggested how a lock should be built. The state even contributed 5 000 riksdaler. One of the conditions to build a lock was that a steamboat was built, partly for transportation of passengers and goods, and partly to be a tugboat for timber floating.
Already in 1867 the first steamboat Dølen was put into traffic and in 1868 the first lock in Storstraumen was opened.
The traffic grew rapidly and Dølen was crowded. In 1883 another steamboat was built, Nissen. This created even more traffic, and the timber floating association was forced to build its own tugboat Fram in 1909.
After some regulations of the water level the difference in altitude between the two lakes grew so much that the old lock at Storstraumen was not sufficient.
From 1909 to 1914 another lock was built at Småstraumen and the old one at Storstraumen was renovated and expanded. The total lifting was now 5 meters.

After this the competition from road traffic grew and in 1921 Nissen went out of use. Dølen continued until 1937 when the boat was sold to the Porsgrunn district.
The tugboat Fram continued on the lakes and was modernised in 1952 with a diesel engine. In 1957 the Fram went out of use and the timber trucks took over the transportation duties.
Fram was practically dying when a group of enthusiasts in the 1980ies decided an action to save and restore the boat. In 1986 Fram had its first scheduled tour on the lakes as a renovated passenger boat.
The locks between the lakes Vråvatn and Nisser are the highest locks in altitude in Europe, about 245 meters above sea level.


The steamer Fram in Storstraumen lock between Nisservatn and Vråvatn in Telemark, July 18 1994.

© Picture by Jahn Børe Jahnsen, 1994

Sources: Jahn Børe Jahnsen, Fagernes, Norge, 2003. Ragnar Frislid, Med båt bak alle blåner.
Do send comments or further information to Bosse Arnholm!


Click here to get back to the startpage.


This page was modified at 12-08-06