The military railway track, which ran from Hyrynsalmi to Kuusamo, was a narrow-gauge maintenance railway built by German POW-s during WWII. The construction on the railway began in spring 1942, and it was destroyed in September 1944. The total length of the military railway track and all of its secondary tracks was 208 km.
The military railway track was a substantial construction project, as it constituted about 11% of all the tracks completed in the Third Reich. The military railway track was built by POW-s from different countries, as well as forcibly removed workers from countries under German occupation. Three of the most important campsites and stations in the Taivalkoski area have been restored so that visitors can get there on signposted trails.
Signposted routes to the military railway track: Isokumpu station route (approx. 1 km), Inke route (40 km), Korvua camp route (approx. 6 km) and Harjajoki camp route (approx. 1.5 km). Guided tour enquiries for groups: cultural producer Heli Paaso-Rantala ph. 040 860 8971 or heli.paasorantala(at)taivalkoski.fi.
Isokumpu station route
Isokumpu was the most important freight hub between Hyrynsalmi and Kuusamo. The Isokumpu station route is about a kilometre long. Along the trail, you can get acquainted with, for example, the bases of locomotive sheds, dugouts and trenches, a loading area as well as the impressive foundations of a locomotive workshop.
Inke route is the longest of the military railway track routes, and is best suited for driving by car. The route partially follows the base of the old military railway track. The total length of the route is about 40 km, with sites on the way which you can become acquainted with on foot. These sites include the Harjajoki camp route, Klemetti’s military railway track gates and the Sievi camp.
Korvua camp route
The extensive personnel camps of Korvua were located in Metsäkylä. Nowadays, you can see the camp on a 5-kilometre route. The woodchip factory, the hanging pine and the prisoners’ graveyard are particularly worth seeing. If you do not want to complete the whole route on foot, you can also drive closer by car and then visit some of the more important sites.