News from September 2023

Our News

We have acquired a Pocher carriage type C3b. Despite the age of the model (it dates from 1958), it is very authentic and well detailed. The only production fault is that it is printed as a C3c (identical carriages except that the C3c had a toilet, but number 1449 was a C3b, and the model’s interior does not include the toilet)! It has no couplings (or box), hence the good price that we paid for it, but both matters will be put right in due course.

September 30th marked the fifth anniversary of the last train to run on the FLMJ, our Swedish H0-scale model railway in the garden around a Park Home in England. It had been our hope that we would mark this fifth anniversary with a ‘first train’ on a new layout; but whilst that is not now possible (the opportunity has passed), we do at least have some good, positive news of the way forward.
A new railway is to be built in the basement under a house in southern Sweden, as agreed with the home owners there. It will carry the spirit of the former FLMJ, and use as much of the rolling stock and scenic materials therefrom as possible; but it will be indoors. Whilst it is possible to retain the FLMJ name (by virtue of having three principal stations), it has been decided that because the new layout would be so very different, a new name would be better. The new name will be divulged once we have privately sounded out all possible variations, so that by the time it appears here, it can hopefully be absolute!
It is too early to write about a new railway in any detail, but here’s a taster. The basement is made up of 4 rooms, arranged 2+2. One room is suitable for a good-sized diorama, so this would take the place of the FLMJ’s Lövhöjden, our main town and main railway ‘centre.’ A room next to it also serves as the laundry-room, but with ample space alongside the outer walls, a more remote diorama is likely here. The third room has an obstacle in the form of an inward opening door (outward opening doors from basements are not a good idea if there’s snow on the ground), and ideas for this room are still a bit vague. The fourth room, which includes the stairs from the house, could provide opportunity for a narrow gauge section! We had wanted a narrow gauge line to support the FLMJ, but doing this in the garden was unwise. Sweden has had many narrow gauge railways, and some of the railways from two of the gauges (891mm & 1067mm) were absorbed by SJ; so they’re significant. Taster over; maybe more, next month!

Manufacturer News

During conversation, it was understood that Jeco’s proposed T23 diesel locomotive could be available in the next couple of months (maybe in time for Hjulmarknaden?), and that the new Rc-series should then be soon after. We didn’t ask about the railbus trailers!

Other News

At relatively short notice, we mentioned the Höglandståg event on our website ‘forthcoming events’; having originally overlooked it, yet it is close to where our new railway will be. Primarily this was an exhibition of digital modular railways; two layouts, one in each of the two rooms in use; one H0-scale, the other N. Operationally, this was of no interest to us (being DCC), and it was naturally frustrating to see the many unscheduled stops and starts; and a train that couldn’t be stopped when part of it had derailed! But it was inspiring to study the different scenic efforts; all the sections were presumably built by different people, and so this was done to different standards; but all of them inspiring. There was also a good selection of traders there, and we were able to buy an authentic wagon by Märklin and have the wheel-sets changed to work on a two-rail system, without extra charge. We hope to visit this event again in subsequent years.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series around the FLMJ; J: U3A Presentations

The University of the Third Age is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third ‘age’ of life. There is no universally accepted model for the U3A. It was founded in 1973 by Pierre Vellas in France. One of the FLMJ’s Friends is an active member/student of the U3A, and the Railway’s Director General was invited on more than one occasion to give a presentation to the local group. The FLMJ was the subject of one, and the Y6 generation of railbuses was another (there were others of a Swedish classical musical theme); and these presentations were very well received. These presentations would be supported by so-called PowerPoint displays, and they remain on file to this day.
Initially, it seemed a little surreal that we should be giving a talk about a Swedish model railway to a group of people who were (probably) not railway modellers. But, the reality was that the interest was in the creativity that went into the railway, its construction, maintenance and operation. And because the FLMJ was in every respect a railway, (albeit too small to carry passengers,) rather than a train-set, its appeal was universal among people with a creative mindset. Above, we mentioned music; and this too, is a creative hobby, especially the process of playing the music (not so much just listening to something that has been pre-recorded). It should come as no surprise that having the creative mindset that was suitable for what we had with the FLMJ should also lend itself to musical creativity, and to be able to talk at other U3A meetings on that subject. And many well known professional musicians have declared their railway modelling interests to the public. Only a few years ago, Sir Rod Stewart’s American–themed diorama was featured in the railway modelling press; and what he had created is incredible by any standards.
But, being creative is a very individual thing. If one person builds a railway, and another builds the trains, both are creative, neither are lacking creativity because ‘the other’ has created what they didn’t. At the U3A presentation, we were pleased to announce that we ran mostly ready-to-run models, and built kits from the boxes. By taking advantage of these possible “short cuts”, we were able to use OUR creativity in the many other aspects of the FLMJ. And that was the message we delivered.

Next month: Publishing in the Future