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Former railway to Grumantbyen | by Gregor  Samsa
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Former railway to Grumantbyen

Colesbukta was originally a whaling station. The 19th century saw coal mining attempts in the bay itself and after the World War II the establishment of the settlement of Colesbukta, a more suitable port for the nearby Russian mine of Grumant. A narrow-gauge railway of about 6km connected the two settlements, clearly Spitsbergen’s longest surface railway, much of which was sheltered in a wooden construction against winter snowdrift, and parts of which are still visible above the coast.

 

Together with Grumantbyen, Colesbukta closed with the end of coal mining, but until 1988 did serve as a Russian base for exploratory coal drilling.

 

In Grumantbyen itself, there are just few buildings left, most of the crumbling, and one can only guess where most of the others stood.

 

(Spitsbergen guide by Andreas Umbreit)

 

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We hiked from Longyearbyen to the Russian settlement of Barentsburg for three days on foot and enjoyed tundra-like desolated landscape quite heavily; this is what Svalbard is about at the end of summer in the areas free of permanent ice.

 

Here close to the Colesbukta bay, on the way to a former settlement of Grumantbyen, ruins of a wooden-covered railway increase moods of desolation and silent emptiness of the barren arctic landscape.

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Taken on August 26, 2010