Pasila Tunnel

8.11.2009 at 21:49 | Posted in I Like it Anyway, Industrial, Railroad, Strange, Walk Route | 11 Comments
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It took me a while before I decided to go explore this tunnel in Pasila and when I did unfortunately I forgot to take a flash light with me. It’s approx. 600m long so when you get to the middle it does get a bit scary. I used the camera’s flash to look around and discovered some hardly soothing drawings on the walls. Dripping water and other sounds amplified by the stone walls also played an important role during the walk. The train I was anxious to meet didn’t come but I imagine that the tracks may be still in use, so take that into account when you visit. (Update: according to Timo L. the end part of the tracks has been removed so no need to fear the train.) You can access it either from the industrial railways next to Pasila’s railway station or from the other side around Kumpula. The tunnel is part of a track that connects the ”container city” on the railway route coming from the north with Kalasatama and the industrial harbours near Hermanninranta. These interesting harbours will soon be removed to make way for new, expensive apartment blocks – part of a bigger plan to convert Helsinki’s old industrial areas into smooth housing districts.
If you’re interested in railroad related stuff check out other posts within the new railroad category.




Sense of direction

3.05.2009 at 0:26 | Posted in I Like it Anyway, Strange, Walk Route | 1 Comment
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by Edit Bajsz

In the heart of the city, on the Railway Station Square (Rautatientori), on the southern part of it, close to the bike lane, I found a quite large motive in the pavement which looked like the symbol for marking the true north on a map, on a drawing. So one day I took my compass with me, and checked: the arrow is really pointing towards the North.


The pavement of the square was renewed in 2000, but I couldn’t find any information yet whether this was a new thing or did it originally belong to the pavement. So the intention of the pavement-layout-designer remains a guess.

Vuosaari Harbour #2

20.04.2009 at 0:15 | Posted in Architecture, Industrial, Walk Route | 1 Comment
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by Edit Bajsz

The Vuosaari harbour was opened to traffic last November (see it under construction). I went to check it out on a cold winter day and found some awesome things. It was a Sunday, I guess partly because of that, partly because of the recession affecting the field of logistics, the area was rather quiet. But still it was amazing to see those cranes and piles of containers.
On the western edge of the port I found the empty dock of an old shipyard. I found out later, that sadly there is maybe not too much time left to adorn its awesome proportions. In spite of the original plans, which would have kept the pool filled with water, several bridges crossing over it from the port to the business park on the other side, most of it will be filled and the area will serve as a base for the container-lego-game, leaving only a small pool as a reminder of the dock.


I also went to the opposite edge of the harbour, where a highly claimed sound barrier wall stretches a kilometer long between the harbour and the adjacent nature reserve area. Next to the wall, a pedestrian route will be laid out. Maybe for those who want to feel the tension between nature and engineering?
Right at the center of the port area, near the entrances and the main office-building, I found a surprising, little, softly curved building with a wooden facade sitting among those giant sharp-edged logistic facilities. It is the Helsinki Seafarers’ Center.


As I was already freezing, I went into the „Vuoska” restaurant, which has everything a good roadside joint focusing on the appetite of truck-drivers has to offer. They had excellent variety of fresh pullas and cakes late Sunday afternoon! The restaurant serves as a resting place for the people on long hauls, it has saunas, showers, and a corner arranged to look like a cosy living room of a home. The best part is that the Vuoska is open with its kitchen working 24/7.


The frozen Töölö bay

5.03.2009 at 13:39 | Posted in Architecture, Go At Least Once, Leisure, Romantisch, Walk Route | 4 Comments
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by Edit Bajsz

If you get the chance, walk across the frozen Töölö bay before the ice melts.
People have created some paths on the ice and snow, mainly in the North-South direction. Basically, it’s a shortcut between Finlandia-house and Sturenkatu street, avoiding the steep climb on Linnunlaulu street.
But the reason one should walk there, is to get a new perspective of the city, of the surrounding buildings. I was wondering, why is this perspective so exciting. It would be the same from a small boat rowing on the Töölö bay in the summer. Then I realized, that now we have solid „ground” under our feet, and while on a boat we have to hold on tight, constantly balance ourselves, and it is quite tough to stand still, now we move on the ice as we usually do on the streets of the city: we can walk, stop for a while, look around.


Also, our eye level is lower than usual. This, and the fact that the trees of the parks around the bay are not right in front of us, give a new kind of view over the buildings. The opera house can look pretty scary…


Ski Jumping Ramp

5.07.2008 at 15:52 | Posted in Architecture, Leisure, Nature, Sports, Walk Route | 11 Comments
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This post is for all those who, like me, had no idea that Helsinki has its very own ski jumping slope. There are actually three of them grouped together on a hillside between the apartment buildings of Western Herttoniemi and the protected area south of Viikki. The wooden construction of the big one is rather vintage looking but well-kept and the perfect state of the slopes indicates that the ramps are in use. Despite the many warning signs I decided to climb to the top to get a better view for taking photos.

A bit further south form the jumping slope I found a small slalom hill with a ramp constructed to help skiers accelerate.

Antique Jewish Cemetery

18.05.2008 at 20:58 | Posted in History, Walk Route | 10 Comments
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According to Jewish tradition cemeteries are established for eternity – they cannot be removed nor can the graves be exhumed. This old Jewish graveyard, located within the large Hietaniemi cemetery, is fenced off and not in use any more. In theory it can be accessed from Lapilahdentie street but the gate was locked shut so I had to photograph from behind the fence. As I read on the website of the Jewish Community in Helsinki “Finnish Jewish history effectively began in the first half of the 19th century when Jewish soldiers (so-called cantonists), who served in the Russian Army in Finland, were permitted to stay in Finland by the Russian military authorities following the soldiers’ discharge.” The cemetery can’t thus be older than 200 years. Before that Jewish settlement on Finnish territory was forbidden in conformity with Swedish law.

The old Jewish graveyard is nowadays contained within the Islamic cemetery which was officially established in 1871 and was then the first Islamic cemetery in Finland. Currently the oldest grave on the Islamic side dates from 1916 and belongs to a Cossack named Gafur Kangachlin. He served in the 5th sotnia of the 8th Orenburg cavalry regiment. [Re-edited 22.05.]

Mysterious Railway Link

24.04.2008 at 23:43 | Posted in Industrial, Railroad, Strange, Walk Route | 4 Comments
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I’ve spotted this mysterious railway track while riding the ‘Jokeri’ bus line number 550 between Itäkeskus and Oulunkylä. In one place the bus actually uses a narrow, old railroad bridge to cross the Vantaanjoki river (see photo below). The track doesn’t look like it’s often used but it seems to be well-kept and operational. It’s linking the metro line with the VR railroads (via warehouses in the Roihupello industrial area) so it could be used to bring metro wagons from production facilities but I also wonder whether it has any strategic meaning (e.g. to transport arms/equipment to the east of Helsinki).

Update: A lot of things got cleared out after a comment from Kalle.
See comments for an update about the history and purpose of these tracks.

Here’s a map showing where the track used to end in Herttoniemi.

Here’s the whole track in the year 1964.

The destruction of industrial Herttoniemi is documented here.

Try to find the track on a larger map.

Vintage Railway Stations

21.04.2008 at 21:59 | Posted in Railroad, Walk Route | 3 Comments

In many locations around Finland you can see old, wooden houses (or sometimes made of brick) next to the railways that are still functioning as station buildings. Below are photos of a few of them that remain in Helsinki though they are not in use any more. Among them is the old Pasila railway station that, in order to be preserved, has been entirely moved to a different location a few hundred metres off the rail track.
These old stations make a very pleasant and sensible counterbalance to the functionalist steel structures of the modern stations. Especially in busy areas, they are loosing their function and becoming obsolete but it is nice to see when they are re-adapted to new functions like the one in Huopalahti that houses a café.

Old Pasila station. Locate it on the map.

Old Oulunkylä station. Locate it on the map.

Old Huopalahti station. Locate it on the map.

Old Rails in Central Helsinki

21.11.2007 at 19:58 | Posted in History, Industrial, Railroad, Walk Route | 6 Comments

oldrailroad01.jpg Old Rail Tracks

All around central Helsinki there used to be a railroad track by means of which cargo trains could directly access all the important industrial sites around the city’s southern shore. The western part of that track leading from the main Helsinki railway to the western harbour is still in use (photo above left and below) but the rest has either completely vanished or is undergoing a slow decay.


Here and there leftovers of the old rails are still visible from underneath the pavement and I have tracked down traces of them as far as the parking of the Katajanokka Terminal building (photo below left). These seem to be left there almost by accident whereas leftovers of the rails on the Kauppatori square are consciously marked by the pavement design (photo below right).

oldrailroad03.jpg oldrailroad02.jpg

Pet Cemetery

29.10.2007 at 17:36 | Posted in Go At Least Once, History, Leisure, Nature, Romantisch, Show a Foreign Friend, Walk Route | 1 Comment
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I invite you to visit the Pet Cemetery located in midst of the Central Park, few hundred metres south of Metsäläntie. Preferred time of visit is after dark, the rest you may want to find out yourself. Look it up on the map.
New: Check out typographical details of the graves.

Pet Cemetery

Pet Cemetery

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