Sweden // The Bothnian coast //

The train station

Other than the IKEA store, there are only two real sights in town. The train station, a grand-looking structure built in 1918, was the result of the town’s aspirations to be a major trading centre after World War I and still dominates the suburban streets of southern Haparanda from its location at the junction of Stationsgatan and Järnvägsgatan. Constructed from red brick and complete with stone tower and lantern, it provided Sweden’s only rail link to Finland until 1992 when it became another victim of SJ closures. From the platforms, you’ll be able to discern two widths of track – Finnish trains run on the wider, Russian, gauge. The track between Haparanda and Luleå has now been upgraded and electrified which, in theory at least, will make it possible to once again operate trains via this route to Tornio in Finland, though it’s likely to be some time yet before services resume. Until then, the empty sidings, overgrown with weeds and bushes, give the place a strangely forlorn air.