News from May 2022

Our News

Our T45 loco has been brought out of storage, ready for further work. At the time of writing, an enquiry has been made to obtain the necessary parts to make it into a working model, but this enquiry includes a request for NEM standard wheels instead of RP25, Hopefully, we’ll have an update on that next month. (There was a hint of obtaining a drive kit (chassis) privately, but all seems to have gone quiet on that.)

The ‘missing’ NMJ ‘Kbps’ wagon arrived in May, and it was pleasing to note that the number has been corrected (type 335 instead of 370), and thus the control digit (‘4’) is correct!

Manufacturer News

In the latest news from HNoll, delivery of the next carriages seems to have been put back to after the summer! The delay has had a predictable effect on the funding with significantly higher costs for interest rates leading to higher production costs on future models than expected. The business is based on loans. It had been hoped that by now, HNoll would now be in a situation where future models could largely be developed with equity. They are far from there, because of the delays.

Märklin/Trix have jointly issued respective versions of the Danish Litra E locomotive (3-rail from Märklin, 2-rail from Trix), to help celebrate a big Danish railway anniversary! Whilst all of the Swedish ‘F’ steam locos became class ‘E’ in Denmark (after being sold to the DSB), many more were built under licence, and the model represents one of the latter locos. This means that there are subtle but significant detail differences, precluding the production of a suitable Swedish ‘F’ loco. Retailers are hopeful that a suitably retooled version will become available later (using the same chassis, both manufacturers would gain with extra sales of Swedish and Danish versions of the Swedish-built loco), but as always, nothing is certain! Nevertheless, there has been an increase in the number of the poorer quality versions of these models from Heljan appearing on the second-hand market, recently!

Other News

Spårvägsmuseet reopened at its new location on May 21st, and with free entry on that weekend, it was understandably busy. We were delighted to see that despite being a smaller site, none of the charm has been lost, and the layout of the exhibits is inspiring. It remains focused on the transport of the capital city, (unlike the LTM in London which focuses more on the economic and social history of that city, competing with the London Museum). Spårvägsmuseet is easily reached by blue bus number 6 (running between Karolinska Hospital and Ropsten), and red bus number 75 (running between Centralstation and Ropsten), both calling at Drevergatan. The museum itself is at Gasverkstorget 1, 115 42 Stockholm. Even boat number 80 calls at the pier at Ropsten, from where there is a 10-minutes walk to the museum. We have reinstated the link to their website on our Related Links page.

In the image above, the mini-train is being driven by the ‘pedestrian’ at the very back, using a radio controller. This ensures more seats for passengers, and the driver has a good all-round vision of the passengers (safety), the train, and its environment, especially important given that it is not fenced off. The museum is on four levels all accessible by lift.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about the FLMJ, 6: How it worked
The FLMJ was always a 12v dc analogue railway. DCC (Digital Command Control) has been looked at and played with on other people’s layouts, but on balance we have reached the decision that it is not right for the FLMJ.
The conventional analogue system on two rails provided a simple means of controlling the trains. By remembering that the Positive rail (+ve) is always the one on the right (despite Peco’s misguided advice to the contrary), the scope of the system is as good as the modeller is creative. With the FLMJ, all track sections were divided electrically (rather like signalling block sections on a larger-scale railway), and a toggle switch (with a centre-off position) was provided for each section. Moving the switch down connected that track to the local controller; moving it up connected it to a remote controller. If we had a location where coupling up (of double-locos) was required, then a simple on-off subsection would be provided; this was the case at Ålunden and intended for Fjällnäs. Eventually, we were able to control the entire railway from the Lövhöjden control panel, with the Ålunden track sections selected to the remote controller. (By that time, Månstorp had lost its local controls!) It had an added bonus of being able to be operated by one person alone, or by a group of people. As an original intention, this will be used on any new layout.

Between the controlled locations, there were specially controlled sections that could be controlled from either end; whichever end took control first, blocked out the controller from the other end. However, the other end could interrupt the continuity of the connection and take over! This was useful when running a train without wanting to stop it; the controllers would be synchronised (speed and direction) and then switched over to enable the smooth running of the train. Coloured indicators confirmed the status of these sections.

Different locations had different switch layouts, so that we could see which were the most user-friendly! At Ålunden, they were mounted in a row, and labelled to match the labels on the track diagram. At Lövhöjden, they were mounted onto the track diagram. One of the shunting areas had the switches in groups according to usage; and the locoshed area had two way centre-off sub-sections so that one line or the other could be connected, but not both! The new layout will have the switches arranged according to whatever feels right for the track plan; initially. But we wish to start with a new system that is interlocked with the signalling, so that by switching on a section with momentary contact, the controller follows the train according to the signalling and point settings. It will be an experiment, and until it is in a semi-advanced stage, we cannot sensibly say more about it, here, now.

Next month, having mentioned the signalling, we’ll take a look at that.