STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN On the way to my train, I rushed through the huge concourse at Stockholm Central Station. The place was buzzing with expectant travellers as I put down by bags and studied the departure boards. Great, no delays this time!
Before I headed to my train, I stood for a moment and admired the light, airy building with its beautiful vaulted ceiling, which provides such a wonderful setting for the 200,000 or so travellers who pass through the station each day. Few of these people will be aware that the structure is held up by glulam beams.
The central hall was built in 1925–28 to a design by architect Folke Zetterwall, who was chief architect at SJ from 1895 to 1930. The almost one hundred year-old structure still performs an important function, which confirms the capacity of wood as an enduring and sustainable construction material. As well as not rusting away in the tough environment of the time, with all the moisture and smoke from the steam engines, it also allowed a long span.
This issue of Trä! trains the spotlight on glulam, its potential and its technical capabilities. The technique of combining pieces of wood to make structural components and larger structures is well established, but it has come on in recent times, not least with the construction of high-rise buildings and wooden bridges. Glulam still has huge potential!
The Swedish glulam industry is working hard to develop its products and systems, not least in the areas of infrastructure and commercial premises. As wood gains market share in the area of multi-storey buildings, the use of glulam is also rising.
The railway has played an important role in developing our elongated country. As the ticket inspector clipped my ticket and wished me a pleasant journey, I pondered whether the old notion of ‘the people’s railway’ was being derailed. The summery part of Sweden speeding past the window depends on a good, reliable railway network for its future success.
Poor service and maintenance and the danger of closures on ‘unprofitable routes’ are a threat to nationwide development.