The sabotage of Jørstadbrua in Snåsa led to the worst train accident in Norwegian history. 80 people died, and no other train accident in Norway has claimed more lives.
During the Second World War, it was desirable to stop the Germans from transporting troops by land. The Norwegian sabotage group Woodlark from Linge Company had originally intended to blow up Granabrua a little further north of Jørstadbrua, but there were problems there so they chose to blow up Jørstadbrua. On 13 January 1945, the bridge was blown up to slow down and prevent the German withdrawal on the Nordlandsbanen and force it to go to sea. Six hours after the bridge was blown up, a train, unaware of the explosion, crashed into Jørstadelva.
This is the worst train accident in Norwegian history. 78 German soldiers and two Norwegian railway employees died in the accident. Approximately 100 people were injured and one Norwegian also died during the clean-up operation. 46 of the 48 horses on the train were either killed in the derailment or were so badly injured that they had to be put down on the spot by the Germans.
The need for the railway was great, and a new bridge was built immediately. Looking between the railway and the road, Fv763, you can see the remains of the old bridge. At that time there was no road on this side of Snåsavatnet either.
The Jørstadelva war memorial was opened on 8 May 1995 and the aim of the war memorial is to combine respect for the deeds of war with the hope for future peace and reconciliation. The war memorial consists of a support dedicated to operation WOODLARK and a support dedicated to operation RYPE. The war memorial is located just off the Fv763 and there are signs along the road.
Operation RYPE was the codename of an American paratroop unit, the Norwegian Operations Group (NORSO), which landed in Snåsafjella on 24 March 1945 and was based at Gjevsjøen fjellgård.