Category Archives: AJ News

News from Adnalms Järnvägar

News from March 2024

Our News

There’s no news from us this month!

Manufacturer News

Dekas has announced the production (for 2025) of the SJ ‘Lnps’ wagon, a 2-axle timber-carrying chassis wagon with U-shaped stakes. This is a long overdue model, and it will fill a gap in the ‘essential models’ for Swedish railways (timber and ore are two of Sweden’s largest exports)! Modellproduktion already produces a kit of the very similar ‘Lps’ and there is no reason why the two types cannot run in the same train. (From our copy of “SJF 636.1”, there were 24 ‘Lps’ and several hundred of the ‘Lnps’. Visual differences are slight and the ‘n’ signifies that it has a maximum load limit over 30t. At least two types of ‘Lnps’ have existed, maybe more, but the version 871 is fewer in number, slightly lighter and shorter with a shorter wheelbase than version 891; the Dekas model will be the 891.)

More news from Dekas is that their Swedish ‘Ge’ wagon is likely to appear around August, but being the holiday season, we expect that estimate to be flexible. Still no news on the ‘Y2’, however.

Other News

In our January update, published February, we reported on the loss of the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition; and then in the following update, about another organisation that will provide a very similar event at the same location on the same general weekend. Now, we have a further update!
The Warley Model Railway Club is teaming up with the Statfold Narrow Gauge Museum Trust Ltd to hold a brand new railway modelling showcase event at the Trust’s Statfold Country Park venue near Tamworth, Staffordshire. Branded as “Warley at Statfold” the event is planned for the weekend of the 12 & 13 October 2024 and entry tickets will include the model railway exhibition, full access to the Museums locomotive and stock collection, unlimited train rides on both of the narrow-gauge railways and the chance for visiting families to enjoy numerous children’s themed attractions also on the site. See https://thewarleyshow.co.uk/ for more information. Should we become aware that a Swedish layout will be on display at the event, or that the Scandinavian Railways Society will be present, we’ll add the details to our Events page.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about the new railway; 4: Stuverydsbäckens Järnväg

There had been a plan for the FLMJ to add a narrow-gauge section, the so called “Södra Folketsparks Järnväg”. The actual route was never confirmed (though, Gärde to Folketspark/Siljansnäs was a popular idea), and it was eventually realised that this smaller gauge in the garden would be just asking for trouble. So, the entire collection (all H0e (9mm gauge) and not at all Swedish) was sold off.

Indoors now, we can reconsider. There is a fourth room in the basement, but one with limited clearances due to the staircase from the house above. A narrow-gauge railway with its minimal clearance requirements, and ability to negotiate smaller radii curves, is being considered for this room, but to also go through the walls at each end to ‘meet’ the stations at Rickbacken and Töjnan!

Being a significant addition to the whole diorama, it really ought to be H0n3 (10½mm gauge) to represent Sweden’s popular 891mm gauge (not exactly, but close enough). The trains, needing to be of mostly Swedish origin, would need to be kit-built, and ought to include a type YP railbus, among other things. It’s a tough project, and won’t be given much thought until the RTJ is fully operational, first; but it’s one that we have high hopes for! The name comes from a nearby nature reserve.

Next Month: Fenixås Jernväg.

News from February 2024

Our News

As reported under Manufacturer News, last month, a T23 locomotive has arrived here. Jeco really has pulled out all the stops to make a nicely detailed locomotive, but there seems to be a T2x jinx in that like Heljan’s T21, it is over-worked and unreliable. So, we set to work on it (just to investigate in case there should be a need to return it). It has no slow-speed performance, which is disappointing given that it is a ‘large shunting loco’ with a top speed of 75 kmh. Turning the power up slowly, the directional lighting flickers, the cab light and engine-room light come on full brightness, and the loco struggles to crawl, growling as it does so. Then, when track voltage has reached about 8, the loco shoots off at nearly full speed. Turning the power back down, the loco will continue to run until about 6v; then it goes back to growling mode! After extensive running on a figure-of-eight test-track that we assembled using track components loaned to us (most of which are not really serviceable), it’s slow speed performance did get a little better, so running-in will continue—maybe with better track!
But, during our investigation, we took the body off and were dismayed. When a model loco is equipped for DCC, anyone not wanting this function can operate the model on analogue, with a so-called ‘blanking chip’ in the DCC socket. With this model, the so-called blanking chip has so many electronic components on, that it is not entirely compliant with its purpose, and this makes fixing digital-related problems almost impossible. (When our former IORE loco became faulty, we were able to hot-wire the track feeds to the motor cables and get the loco running again; even with working directional lights! This is not possible with the T23.) Getting the main circuit board off the model for investigation was made very difficult by one of the cables to the motor being too short to enable safe removal of its electrical coupling. With so much handling, if this had been a Heljan T21, we would have a workbench loaded with bits that had fallen off; with this loco, only one set of steps came off, and they were very easily fixed back into place and with the handrails correctly aligned. Since its first test in January, we’ve had no more issues with coupling rods coming loose; and we have insulated the touch-contacts for the cab light (really don’t like that) and put tape over the engine-room light (shouldn’t be there because there is no authentic interior)! We have, nevertheless, now decided against buying a second one even when funds permit.

Manufacturer News

HNoll’s B4 carriages have arrived into stores and now a complete 1980s train can be assembled! From our perspective, the B2 is still desired; and given that HNoll is having to pause production, due to the poor Swedish economy and people’s inability to buy the models, we expect it to be a while before they (or the UAF7) appear as models. Back to the B4R (which later became the BF4 to signify that it had a baggage compartment (the ‘F’ in the type-code)), it is up to HNoll’s usual high standard, and is a truly beautiful model. Correctly modelled, it even has the small telephone booth next to the train crew’s compartment; a feature that soon disappeared with the widescale introduction of mobile phones. The model is also available in more recent liveries, including the BF7, which is not really any different except that SJ wanted to give the refurbished ones a new designation (but SSRT’s refurbished ones are still BF4)!

PCX87 is advertising a model of the Saab 9000 in 1985 condition. We are aware of four different colours for this, black, white, grey and silver; but at least one supplier we know of has commissioned a dark red one also. 1985 is within our epoch of interest, so we are hopeful of acquiring a few.

Other News

Last month, we reported on the loss of the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC, which usually takes place late November. It seems that in its place, there is to be The National Festival of Railway Modelling on November 23rd & 24th, at the NEC. As we understand it, this will be organised by Warners Group (same organisation that does the Alexandra Palace event among others), a commercial entity, rather than by volunteers. Regardless of whether commercial or not, we hope that it is a successful event and that it demonstrates that this hobby remains very much alive.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about the new railway; 3: Trädgårdslinjen

One of the FLMJ’s defining factors was its outside location. We were determined (and advised) that in Sweden, we would move indoors due to the weather being more severe than it had been in the UK (even despite many open events in the UK getting rained off), and ‘minor damage caused by neighbouring cats’ being replaced by ‘major damage being caused by roaming elk and other wild animals’!
Nevertheless, there is consideration for a summer-only outdoor section, also operating between Rickbacken and Töjnan, but allowing trains to avoid the fiddle-yards. For simplicity and safety, there should be no stations along this route, but this has not been totally ruled out. A halt, with or without passing loop could be included to add interest to the line, and the location for this potential addition has already been chosen with very little difficulty, a large boulder in the garden which in scale terms, would be a small natural mountain! It has been given the name, Vävarberg; but no more has been decided about it. Furthermore, there would be no signals or overhead cabling; just good photo opportunities of trains running through the garden, again. Such an extension would be at ground level in the garden, but in the basement however, the railway will be about 1,3m up from floor level, giving ample storage underneath without being too high, but high enough also for access to the outlets to the garden for the Trädgårdslinjen. Swedish basements are rarely 100% below ground level, and they often have windows. Operationally, this would be a ‘preserved railway’, which within a heritage railway might seem a bit odd, but it gives the older outline stock (steam locos for example) a good excuse to be used. The name simply translates as “The Garden Line”.

Next Month: Stuverydsbäckens Järnväg.

News from January 2024

Our News

T21 64 needed its replacement buffers to be fitted (following the successful fitting of this type to T21 87). We’ve used Bachmann product 36-032 for these models, and they really are a perfect fit with one caveat. A small part of the chassis needs filing (or grinding) away to enable them to fit properly. But, no adjustment is necessary for them to comply with NEM, and when close-coupled, there is a hair’s distance between the buffers. Perfect! As expected, however, the job was not possible without things falling off; six handrails, a step, the hooter and one windscreen-wiper! We took the opportunity to make up two new handrails (to replace missing ones), but we’re now thinking that a complete matching set would be nicer (along with new steps); but, that’s for another time, perhaps! (We celebrated this work done by watching the “Expedition Kilvamma” DVD, a film about the rescue of eight type T21 locomotives from Strategic Reserve, 20 years ago in 2004!)

T45 328 has been bothering us a little since we finished building it because it really does seem too lightweight. A large chunk of brass has been purchased from a model shop, to be cut to size and used as a weight. We needed to cut it into segments so that it could fit in the limited space under the body; but three segments seem to have been enough and the loco inspires confidence, now. Unfortunately, we can’t run it in yet because it will not run on ‘train-set’ curves, such that we are borrowing at the moment!

Y7 1201 has arrived onsite, so that it could be used as a ‘guide’ for the retrofitting of working couplings to our UB 1949. The couplings that come with these Jeco models cannot be ‘used’ in service (the train needs to be turned upside-down) so after some investigation we fitted a modified standard coupling to our units. The UB is a newer vehicle (to us) and was pending this modification. We had fitted the couplings to the earlier models with track pins, but we had none in stock, so we have experimented with using a bit of bent wire; time will tell!

Bo14a 3867 had been retrofitted with Symoba coupling mechanisms, but we found recently that the pocket would not accept an insert. The central bar is inline with the pocket inner ends and is in the way. We were able to resolve this problem by filing the inserts to a thinner cross-section, but it is a tricky job; and whilst it has worked for this carriage, we need to rethink future use of this coupling type.

We also bought more Roco close-couplings so that we could continue retrofitting them to the stock that we have acquired since being in Sweden. That was a job for February, but with some of the other jobs taking less time than allowed, we were able to complete the retrofitting at the end of January.

Some time ago an old Faller kit was acquired, a small timber house with garage. Advantage was taken of a free Sunday afternoon to assemble it. The one-piece roof was not quite at the same pitch as the walls, but we managed to get it together. It has a black card interior (no need for the matt black paint on the inside) and all the curtains have net curtains also, so no need for interior fittings. With a couple of very subtle modifications, it went together very well, and in a day.

Manufacturer News

Roco has announced an Epoch-IV locomotive ‘set’ comprising two Rm locomotives in SJ orange livery; and the photo montage suggests that Roco is putting the correct bogies on the models (unlike Märklin’s toy version)! The pair comprise locos numbers 1260 and 1262 and the basic analogue version is hinted at 6041 kr (roundly £550), which is not unreasonable.

Jeco’s T23 appeared at the beginning of week 4 (w/c 22 January), but due to unhealthy funds here, we’ve had to limit ourselves to just one (of the two intended) (and one for a Friend of the RTJ)! It is a nicely detailed and well proportioned model, but like many new things, it is not without problems that need sorting out. By turning the power up slowly, the cab light comes on fully, but the directional headlights flicker and a growl is heard from inside (sounding quite like a diesel engine, despite this being a DC Analogue model). Then at mark-70 (GaugeMaster controller), the loco takes off at almost full speed. We can slow it down to mark-60 (still running fast), but any lower than that, it stops and growls again. During testing (running in), one of the coupling rod pins unscrewed of its own accord and fell out bring the loco to a very sudden stop and with the wheels now out of alignment! This performance is not a regular running-in problem, and we suspect it is a faulty blanking plate for the DCC socket, which wouldn’t be the first time. (This article was faulty on the E2 steam loco, which Jeco replaced without fuss.) Aside from that, we see no point in a cab light on an analogue model; if a driver has the cab light on and it is slightly dark outside, he won’t be able to see; it’s unnecessary. Also, the box needs modifying if the loco is to be put away with a Roco close coupling fitted.

Not entirely by surprise, Märklin and Trix have announced the production of the Swedish F-class steam loco, as preserved number 1200. This follows on from the almost identical Danish E-class last year. However, it is expected to cost in the region of £700 (over 7000kr in Swedish money), so it is unlikely that one will be arriving here!

In HNoll’s first update of the year, the B4 carriages departed China on 17 December and are now out on the great oceans. It is hoped that the boat will avoid the problems we read about in the news recently, and it is not known if it will have to go via the southernmost tip of Africa. If this happens, there will be a further minor delay. Expected arrival in stores is during the latter part of February.

A Volvo 480 in H0-scale has now been produced by Minichamps, and first impressions seem good (unlike their recent 740); and we hope to acquire one or two, soon. Their 850 sedan is still awaited.

Other News

Two RTJ-Friends took a trip on one of the new X15p trains now being introduced onto the Roslagsbanan in early January, but only two units were (said to be) in service on the chosen day (out of four units available) and a wait of nearly one hour was necessary (in –10°C, feeling like –18°C). These trains are rather like other recent introductions to Stockholm with wide open gangways between the carriages making through access very easy. The seat-backs are not quite as upright as on the X10p units, and they were a little more comfortable, but still could be a lot better! The journey was to Ormsta and back, and the return journey was not without issue. The hooter had stopped working (discovered when coming across a car on a crossing in front of the train, but no collision occurred), and in accordance with safety protocols the train was allowed to proceed but at no more than 40kmh; all the way from Vallentuna to Stockholm Östra! It was believed that a build-up of snow and ice had caused the hooter to fail. Teething problems aside, we look forward to more of these units entering service.

We are saddened to learn that the UK model shop, Hattons is to close soon. For us modelling the railways of Sweden, Hattons hasn’t played a big part in our development, but some of our infrastructure, controls, scenery and suchlike came from them. They are not insolvent, but the ever-changing market demands have made it unsuitable for them to continue trading.

Another loss to this hobby, again in the UK, is the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC. Whist this hobby is alive and well, the effects of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis has taken its toll. There is also the age-old problem of old-age; not enough is done to encourage younger people into the hobby. In the UK especially, exhibition layouts are built at a height that youngsters cannot see, thus giving them a negative experience of the hobby; and some of our Friends remember all too well the belligerent attitude of one trader towards children who happened to be anywhere near his stand!

Sad but inevitable news from here in Sweden is that the model railway club in Järfalla is having to close because the basement that they have rented for 50 years needs to be acquired by the municipality. Strictly, the basement is a shelter and has to be made available within 48 hours if needed; and now that Sweden is joining Nato that risk has been heightened. We fear for other clubs who rent similar premises for their activities.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about the new railway; 2: Rickbacken—Töjnan Järnväg

Taking the crown from the FLMJ, the RTJ is to be the new main focus of attention. It was intended that construction will start at Rickbacken, which will have the largest one-piece diorama on a board (or series of boards) fitting in a space roundly 4500mm by 2200mm (±14’9″ by ±7’3″ in English measurements), but, after careful consideration, it will start somewhere else! The lowest level will have one half of the fiddle-yard, and then there will be a curved incline (or even a helix) to the next level with the track for the main station. On a third half-level, there will be a town scene; the layout of which should blend in very well, and be so very Swedish with subtleties that were missing from the FLMJ (which was actually the case with most of the FLMJ’s scenery). So, the station will be a ‘through’ layout, fiddle-yard to next diorama (the latter part going through a hole in the wall)!
At the other end of the scenic railway, there will be Töjnan, a more industrious area, but not without housing and shops. A lifting bridge (or swing-bridge—let’s see how creative we can get) will be necessary here due to an inward opening door to the ramp outside. The main board should fit in a space roundly 3200mm by 1950mm, the latter going down to 1360mm at one end due to the door. In normal operation, this door would not be used, so surrendering the railway’s right-of-way will not be ‘usual’ during operation. Being an industrious area, extra industrial sidings will give the station enormous appeal for shunting operations, and great care will be needed with designing the track layout, here.
Between the two main locations, there will be a third station, but small enough to be omitted from the railway’s name! Skarpa Gård will have a small station to serve the village that is said to have been built in the shadow of the manor house, the ‘Gård’ in the location’s name. Not all trains will stop here, but the interest should be with the scenery, which will have mostly ’country’ elements, instead of being built up. There are other ‘extra’ plans for here, also; but they’re for a later update! Due to the simpler nature of the layout here, this is probably where we’ll start building, instead of at Rickbacken.
From a technical viewpoint, the mainline, as described here (with the exception of most of the sidings), will have overhead cabling; and there will be entry/exit colour-light signals at the stations. For Epoch-IV, this is quite correct for a secondary line, which is how the layout is to be depicted. There is no specific location for the railway, and although the names come from the Stockholm and Uppland areas, we expect the scenery to imitate the Småland area because that will be local and inspiring. Nevertheless, as before, our trains will reflect all of Sweden, including iron ore trains from the far north.

Next Month: Trädgårdslinjen.

News from December 2023

Our News

The only work carried out here was to retrofit 25 models with Roco close couplings. We bought a pack of 50 couplings, enough for 25 items, but hadn’t realised just how much new stock we had acquired over the last three years, here in Sweden! We’ll need to buy some more. Our Piko Bo14a carriage wouldn’t accept the couplings and it seems to be due to a design fault with the Symoba coupling, which we will investigate later. It was curious, however, that some Roco models had difficulty accepting Roco coupling heads! Also, some Hobby-Trade wagons needed the ‘standard’ couplings to be cut out because there seemed no other way of getting them out!

Manufacturer News

During a conversation with MJ-Hobby/Jeco, just before the new year, it was revealed that the T23 diesel locomotive is probably only a couple of weeks away from production. (Get your wallets out…!) The Rc-series electric locomotives need a little more work yet, but ‘during the spring’ is the hopeful estimate. The railbus trailers are coming from the same source as the Rc-locos, so they will wait until the loco is in production. We also enquired about the possibility of reissuing certain models that had sold out and were fetching gross figures on the second-hand market (thus indicating interest and demand). There is an intention, but until the above models have been produced, it is agreeably unwise to make any plans or speculations as to what or when.

Frykmodell is a name associated more with N-scale, but is no stranger to H0. For both scales they are about to produce a model of a car that is both hated and loved, depending on your viewpoint: the Volvo 740 as an A-traktor! (This is probably a bit too modern for our epoch, but for anyone interested in the current scene, these are sadly, essential! There, now you know this writer’s view on them!)

Other News

Trains along the Malmbanan (Iron Ore Railway) have been suspended again following another derailment with an ore train, on December 17th. The line is not expected to reopen until the end of January! The damage is colossal, as it appears that a wagon derailed ‘partially’ at Tornehamn but didn’t bring the train completely off until 15km farther at Vassijaure. A significant part of a snow shed had to be demolished in order to recover the train, and roundly 25000 new sleepers are required to repair the line (as well as repairs to contact wires and so on) before any trains can safely run!

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about preparing the new Railway

Over the next few updates/months, we are going to look at the vague plans for a new railway. They have to be vague because there are many obstacles to overcome, and any could affect the final projection. Also, there is the well known saying, “Never announce your plans, there is no surer way for them to go awry!”

Mini-Series about the new railway; 1: “Projekt Jakob”

During construction of the FLMJ, a target date had been created; a date by which the Railway should be in a presentable state for the running of trains, for the enjoyment of us and our invited guests. Whilst the actual year is, in this context, irrelevant, the date was July 14th; and this, according to the Swedish Almanack, is Folke’s name-day. Getting the railway ready, became known as “Projekt Folke”.
For our new project, which has the added burden of getting the basement ready to accommodate the railway, no such date can realistically be projected. We could be very generous and look far ahead, which has the risk of losing sight of the objective. Pushing ourselves to a short timescale could risk cutting corners. Instead, we have taken the date of the opening of the original KRBJ (which, as you should know by now, is what the FLMJ emanated from), July 25th, “Jakob” on the Almanack. This year, the date falls on a Thursday, which is awkward if we did want to mark the date. Next year, however, being on a Friday during the Swedish summer holiday; could lead us to the temptation of saying that we will try to get a ‘significant part’ of the railway in operational condition by that date, for a week-long open-event the week after. Well, it’s just a thought. But we’ve adopted the name, “Projekt Jakob”. For now.
So, what does Projekt Jakob encompass? Strictly speaking, it is the construction of a Railway that will bring the spirit of the FLMJ back to life. So, to have a railway diorama (H0-scale, of course) where trains can arrive to and depart from; even if it is just between two stations, or station and ‘fiddle-yard’, that is what Projekt Jakob encompasses. Where we go from there is another story; and over the next few months/updates, we shall describe the vague plans, knowing full well that some of them may have to be changed or abandoned (rather like the originally planned narrow-gauge extension to the FLMJ).

Next Month: The Rickbacken—Töjnan Järnväg (RTJ).

News from November 2023

Our News

There has been no activity on our models during November.

Understandably, there will be no RTJ news for a few months, yet. The basement where the RTJ will be built was considered, at inspection, to be damp. Before commencing any digging around the house outside (in order to improve the insulation), we decided to investigate the possibility that the lack of heating, coupled with an open floor drain, could have contributed to this. We have been able to use a powerful dehumidifier, and already the results are most encouraging: it has been used in two rooms and the walls there are now dry. Heating will be provided next (an air pump will have to wait until there is more ‘investment resource’ (money) available), and we are cautiously confident of starting the Railway during the Spring, next year.

Manufacturer News

Dekas is to produce more versions of their successful Swedish ‘Hbis‘ wagon, and some new ‘Ge‘/’Gs‘ wagons, some of the latter in ASG livery.

Roco has announced a different version of their Dm3 loco; article number 7500006 is in the earlier condition (number series 834-845, 942-957, 968-986, not 1201-1250), but the photo is a montage and the actual running numbers are not known. There are also AC and DCC versions with different article numbers.

Other News

The annual Hjulmarknaden (“wheel fayre”) took place at Solna at the end of November, one week earlier than the usual “Saturday of the same weekend as the first Sunday in Advent” (first Sunday is four weeks before Christmas (not essentially the first in December), thus 27th November to 3rd December). Due to the confusion about the date (which had also been misquoted for a while), longer distance visitors (our friends and others from the UK, for example) were put off and didn’t attend.

Nevertheless, we were able to buy a model car. A rather special one, and the model was built from scratch (so it’s a bit rare, and wasn’t cheap, but not over-priced, either). It’s a Kalmar Tjorven 441-C; a vehicle used by the Swedish Post Service, with right-side drive so that the driver can put the mail into the roadside mailboxes without having to leave the vehicle. They had a Daf-44 chassis, and were produced in the early 1970s, but were taken out of service during 1976.

SJ has closed all ticket offices and removed all ticket machines. This doesn’t mean that travel is free; passengers must buy online via the website or their app. Experience by some users is that neither the website nor the app are particularly efficient or effective; and it has in some instances proven impossible to buy tickets. The ‘chatbot’ and customer service are equally unhelpful. We know of at least two ‘third party’ ticket providers, and if our investigations are successful, then we’ll link to them.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series around the FLMJ; L: That ‘other’ online channel

During the many years in the UK, the FLMJ had a ‘slight’ presence on YouTube; but this was more personal for the Director General who also posted videos from other railway activities, mainly do with railways in 7¼” gauge! In nearly all cases, the uploaded videos were ‘point and shoot’ with no editing. There was a pause function on one of the smartphones, but it was not reliable. Using time off (from having a layout to work on), some video editing resources have been looked at and played with. We think it would be nice if we can present a 5-10 minutes quarterly update video on progress with the new railway, but we have many obstacles to overcome. If we are able to do this, then we will advise, here!

Seemingly consigned to history is the involvement with 7¼” gauge railways. They are very rare here in Sweden, and none have authentic operation or signalling, something that Adrian had been accustomed to in the UK. But our ‘channel’ can still include other videos of more relevant interest!

Starting Next Month: We are going to say more about the new railway during next year’s “Behind the Scenes” in our monthly updates.

News from October 2023

Our News

Hot on the heels of the arrival of the Pocher C3b, their DF5 arrived during October! This means that we now have both of their 2-axle carriages; both very old, but both impressively accurate in detail; unusual for their age! This one has a box, but we still need to work on the couplings! It has already received some modifications, so again, its price was agreeable.

We have more news about the new railway, and the exciting project that it has the potential to become.

The main H0-scale/gauge railway will be called the “Rickbacken—Töjnan Järnväg”. Rickbacken will be the main diorama with the largest scenic area. Töjnan, and a third station, Skarpa Gård, will be smaller but will receive as much attention in their construction and development. Instead of following the FLMJ’s theme of north-central-south, Rickbacken will be a typical town area, Skarpa Gård will be open country, and Töjnan will be mostly industrial.
One thing that the FLMJ lacked was a narrow-gauge line, despite narrow-gauge being so popular and widely used in Sweden; but the garden environment just wasn’t right. We now have the possibility for several narrow-gauge lines, H0e (9mm to represent Sweden’s 802mm gauge), H0m (12mm to represent Sweden’s 1067mm ‘cape’ gauge), and H0n3 (10,5mm to represent Sweden’s 891mm gauge); but thoughts about H0n2 (7mm to represent Sweden’s 600mm industrial gauge) and even smaller would be too premature at this stage!
There have been musings about a tramway as this would be very Swedish, but trolleybuses are unlikely because although Sweden has them, and has had them, there seems to be a gap during Epoch-IV! One extra possibility for the main railway, is to have a “good-weather-only” outdoor section. But, that is looking a long way ahead, and might not come to fruition.

Construction should start in 2024, after the floors, ceilings and walls have been made more ‘homely’.

Manufacturer News

After a pause with updates (evidently nothing new to report), HNoll has now advised that whilst the B4 carriages and those like them have been paid for, they will be delivered; but all else will have to wait until everybody’s economies have recovered. Whilst not entirely good news, it is the most sensible option given the current circumstances.
Some H0-scale Volvo 740 models have arrived from Minichamps, but the pictures suggest that the PCX87 ones are better detailed, and better proportioned! This is surprising given the high level of detail that their more sporty cars have!

Other News

MJ-Hobby had their Tåglördag (train-Saturday) during October, and as is becoming typical, it was inspiring for us to see the layouts on display for scenic inspiration. Scenery upon the FLMJ was very basic due to the outdoor considerations, a complete contrast the last indoor layout that the Director General had built in the 1980s! So, the whole team is gearing up for the new challenge.

In the meantime, a train operating along the former NOJ was perfectly timed for a visit to the area (to the house), and the typical steam-related smell, sorry, aroma from the steam loco at the back was awesome!

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series around the FLMJ; K: The future

We have looked at the many means of keeping our friends (known and otherwise) informed and up to date with the Railway’s progress. So, what about the future? We have already decided against continuation of “FLMJ-Nytt”, “AJ-Nyheter”, and the Year Book in their current formats. Updates on our website will naturally continue (updated monthly seems to make sense) and quite possibly the production of an annual review which combines elements of the Year Book and the Stock List (and the regular journal), could be a good idea. Naturally, the new railway will be written about in articles for the main magazines. But the old layout is not forgotten; and we are preparing a book about that Railway. All of the resources are being examined; the publicly available publications, and the various reports; all combined into one overview of what was a remarkable and unusual railway.
From time to time, other social media platforms are mentioned and suggested. Some seem inappropriate, some have a poor reputation. But the way in which we use the website seems good enough for our purpose, so any progression onto these platforms seems unlikely, at least for now.
An annual review has always been considered interesting. It puts the Railway’s development into perspective, and serves a sense of nostalgia. Over the last year, a new format has been developed, inspired by the “Lok & Vagnar” series produced by Stenvalls; but for us, remaining as an annual production. It will serve as an overview, and we would like to give it a new title, but we’re still working on that! It will be created in Publisher again, and a PDF version is likely to be made available online, or sent by email by request; with a paper copy being equally available.
Desktop publishing in whatever form is widely produced today. In fact, today, even the term ‘desktop’ seems almost obsolete with people posting updates on the social media platforms via their smartphones. Presentation and layout (and quite often, grammar and spelling) are seemingly considered not so important on these platforms, and pre-selective text often leads to much mirth and embarrassment! For the foreseeable future, we will continue to use ‘desktop’; we will use ‘Publisher’ and PDF; our updates will be timebound (not casually as-and-whenever); and we will endeavour to present a professional image. But of course, as the times change, so might we change with them; but change needs to be for the better, not for change-sake!

Next month: Online videos

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

News from August 2023

Our News

There is not much news this month, and we have written this a week early due to being away from a WiFi or other internet connection for a few days!

The only modelling activity during August followed the acquisition of a new B1c carriage, which needed ‘putting right’, hence a good price! Fixing the weight into place without the proper locating tags was not very difficult, but whilst we had the model open, we decided to make and fit a missing interior wall (the model was designed with the wall missing).

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series around the FLMJ; I: Special Reports and Open Event Posters

From time to time, we produced special reports about specific subjects. After the FLMJ closed, a thorough investigation was conducted into various topics that would be relevant with any new layout, and it seemed prudent to publish these reports. (Ironically, the last report pre-closure, was the FLMJ’s “2020 vision” and how we would complete the construction of the railway (all the way to Fjällnäs) by 2020. Much to even our own surprise, we were on track on time, and it looked like being successful; but the need to move on (and away) became too apparent!) These new topics consider the trackage system that we ought to use for the new railway, the catenary, the signalling, and even the train formations. Once a start can be made on a new railway, we will consider publishing these reports, here!

In a way, our special reports can include the many articles that we have posted on the website. The layout is different, of course, but they all serve the same purpose, even if the printed ones are somewhat time-bound. They are about the promotion of this hobby and our activities, especially. And as a repository of researched material, we often find ourselves looking back over our work to refresh our memories with ongoing research!

As a rather unusual asset to the Park where it was located, the Railway attracted a lot of attention, and keeping the neighbours informed seemed important, and was certainly appreciated. For this reason, a template was created for the production of small A4 posters to promote upcoming open events. Officially, the Railway was only ever open to invited guests, (remember, it was on a private residential park,) but the neighbours were encouraged to consider themselves invited. And from them, we gained some of our longer standing members. Once in the garden, there would be information posters about the various aspects of the railway, rather similar to information boards at museums. It was, after all, the recreation of something in miniature, not a toy train set! The Railway operated to a timetable (with copious extra trains during open events), and the published timetable would be on display as well as the working one, which included goods and light loco movements, etc. In the final years, the graphic timetable was also available upon request! These posters even became collectable, and extra copies had to be made as souvenirs for guests who wished to have them. Therefore, layout and the whole presentation was as carefully thought out as with any of the journals or other publicity. And to this end, we created a corporate image, a sense of consistency, which looked so much nicer than randomly produced articles.

Next month: University of the Third Age

News from July 2023

Our News

Work continued on our newer replacement model of Åmål station building during July. All window frames were glued into place, and then the glazing material behind them. We then mounted the platform onto the base, and the plinths onto the walls; and put the four sides together, standing on the base, held together with an elastic band! We then decided to add a little detail not included in the kit, and using 0.5mm brass rod, we now have a painted handrail by the steps.

A visit to the ‘LennaKatten’ (Uppsala Lenna Järnväg) seemed a good idea, at least for research purposes; but it was a nice day out in good company, anyway. The research element focussed around Lenna station, where the very traditional signalling (read: locking frame) has been the subject of a short instruction manual; but which left us with more questions than answers. Sadly, the passing loop there is not used in normal service, so observation of the procedures was not possible (it is “switched out” for automatic signal operation). But having a look around the site did help; and this was followed by a lengthy chat with a signalling guy at the railway. Most of our questions are now answered, but a few remain.

We may present an article about this subject at a later date, but for now, a brief overview; and readers who are not interested in railway signalling can skip this paragraph! The locking frame type used at Lenna has keys. These keys are used in the point levers (in pairs) and one or the other can be removed depending on point position. This removed key is inserted into the frame to unlock slide bars, which in turn can unlock the signals. If the Station Master has key type K3 in his possession, he knows that all points are in their normal position. Inserting K3 to a point lever, enables him to change the point, thus releasing a key type K1 or K2. In some instances, this key goes into the locking frame; in other instances the K1 or K2 goes into the lever at a corresponding point to release the other (K2 or K1), which is the one inserted to the locking frame. There are 16 different types of key, but only five are used at Lenna. We would like to recreate this on our eventual new layout, hence the extra interest.

We have acquired another dressin; not another ‘modified Volvo’ but a purpose-built MDR125. It is a static resin model (and cannot be made to work), but it will look good just parked in a siding somewhere! One of the most common service vehicle types of all time is the MDR (MDR = Motordressinen). Many hundreds of dressines were produced from the 1920s until the 1960s. The dressines were used for, among other things, passenger transport and inspections, but also ambulance transport on the Malmbanan. Many have later been scrapped, but some are still used today. However, they have increasingly been replaced by motor trolleys and dual-mode vehicles (cars that can be used on both road and rail) which have more areas of use. (There is no direct English translation for Dressin, so this and the plural Dressines have been spelt accordingly to aid pronunciation, notwithstanding any misinterpretations!) Ours, number 3245 is from the batch MDR 125, nos. 3244-3309, with four doors, built by Bergbolagen Lindesberg in 1956. They ran on petrol, and were also known as ‘meatballs’ or ‘peas’ depending on who you ask!

Other News

We have recently acquired a book from 1979 about service wagons with UIC numbering. From it, we have learned that the UIC letters for service vehicles don’t follow the same rules as most other wagons. For example, an ‘a’ as the second character does not mean that the vehicle is mounted on bogies.
Whilst this explains how our ‘Qab’ can have only two axles (and the ‘Qbd’ is on bogies), it has raised a question about our ‘Qab’, a Heljan model. According to the book, ‘Qab’ applied to a type of plough that was never actually used (an allocated code). Former FV1 vans are shewn as a type ‘Qae’ (Q5) Impregnation works, later Weed control wagon, ‘Qgb’, stores wagon, ‘Qgg’, trailer, ‘Qlh-h’, cleaning wagon (“-h” with drying room), and so it goes on. There is a number list and our wagon 945 4 229 should be a ‘Qgb’ until late 1976, when it was rebuilt to type ‘Hvös’. It was a former FV1, number 25770. Now, curiosity really did get the better of us and we looked in SMJ’s book on 1930s carriages. It was one of the first, built by AB Svenska Järnvägsverkstäderna, Falun in 1937. However, here we learn that after a time as ‘Qgb’, it became ‘Qfa’ (in 1986, after the book was published, so the type isn’t listed). We understand, but this is not confirmed, that the van still exists at Nässjö, where there is a railway museum.

By contrast, our ‘Qbd’ ballast wagons are (Roco) models of a type formerly known (pre-UIC) as ‘Q32b’, and were built by Talbot, 1957-58. Easy!

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series around the FLMJ; H: The Website

As mentioned earlier in this mini-series, we were not the fastest to go online, and justifiably so. There seemed little need, and everything was ticking over nicely. But, we were often asked if the Railway had a website where people could follow its progress, and ‘put like that’, it seemed a good idea. One of our Friends created both of our websites; the original one using the technology that was available at the time, but was cumbersome to maintain; and the current one, which is closer to basic desktop publication, and can be regularly updated with ease by other members.

The website was naturally intended to bring news about the Railway, and how everything was progressing. It was like a blog, and to some extent remains as such. However, with so much research being necessary, and wanting to share this hobby as much as possible, the website also became a repository of articles relating to the Swedish railways, be they features about locomotives, wagons, signalling systems, or whatever else we have needed to research. And this seems to be the main attraction today (well of course, whilst the FLMJ is closed, there’s not much else to write about)! Much of our research material can be found on the internet, in Swedish; so we present it in English. Only our own updates are available in both languages, and this is something that needs to continue if the Railway is to truly ‘belong’ here.

Nevertheless, there is a genuine fear among railway groups that too much information on the internet is having a backlash, and membership numbers in societies catering for special interests within the hobby are dropping. These specialist Societies have been reporting an average of 20% loss in subscriptions. The British based Scandinavian Railways Society is suffering this effect, and both their former website and our website, may have been contributing to this effect; by giving away so much information online, that there seems little need to join a society, no matter how friendly! They have reigned in their website so that it promotes the Society without giving away too much general knowledge, but will soon have a members’ area where the articles can be placed. We will follow suit, but with edited copies of the articles freely visible, and the more detailed articles available to our Friends. We identify ‘Friend’ (note upper-case ‘F’) as someone who is actively involved with the Railway’s development, maintenance and operation; someone who would be if they weren’t so far away, or have other barriers (but, including regular guests); and someone who has shewn significant interest and with whom we have regular correspondence. So, we feel that this is a suitable way to move forward in this digital age without causing the specialist Societies, the SRS especially, to suffer.

Next month: the Special Reports and Local Promotion

News from June 2023

Our News

For our heritage fleet we acquired a carriage type Bo14a (a Piko model). There is quite a long history to this type of carriage, and it would have been built for a private railway and later acquired by SJ (which the number, 3867, suggests); indeed the designation seems to relate to various different designs and bodies and so on. This carriage might not even be authentic, but it is a good representation of the type and has similarities with the standard 1930s pattern. Like Roco’s Bo8a from the OKB and absorbed by SJ, it has partially open windows! It is a nicely made model and the job for June was to retrofit NEM coupling mechanisms. We used the standard Symoba device, and subject to testing, all seems to have gone well. However, the wheels….! No, not like certain other recent purchases, these are not ac, but their flanges aren’t suitable for code 83 rails! But so slightly, that we were able to spin the wheels and use a file to marginally trim them! Job done; a bit of a bodge, but not unsightly and no compromises.

We returned to our work on the model of Åmål station building. The enamel matt black paint had seemed to have dried glossy, and indeed light shone through! Searching through a ‘modelling box’ that we had been given, we found some acrylic matt black paint, and this went on with better results. (The gutters and downpipes were left glossy, however.) We also painted the window frames (Humbrol) Aircraft Blue. Åmål station had blue window frames at the time of our visit (about 20 years ago(!)), but we decided that this was too dark, and the colour chosen is quite popular in Sweden for window frames!

Manufacturer News

With such short summers, it is typical that most manufacturers in Sweden shut down for a month or two! Not just model railway manufacturers, but across the country. People naturally want to make the most of the short period of very good weather! (But firmly imprinted on the memories of some club members is a holiday to Sweden, which included a trip to Öland, Sweden’s primary holiday destination, to find nearly all of the restaurants shut for the summer! This seemed a little strange, and greatly inconvenient.)

Other News

Shortly before India’s devastating train crash, there was a high-speed derailment at Arlandastad, very near to where Adrian lives. Fortunately, it was the rear of the train that left the tracks at 150kmh, and only two people needed to be taken to hospital. Had it been the front, the consequences would have been more catastrophic. Already, poor permanent way has been identified as the cause; and just like in the UK, concerns had been raised by workers, which were ignored by managers. It is our understanding that the section is a little peculiar in that it is privately owned and maintained by the company whose train derailed (which is why they can charge a fortune to customers to/from other train operators to use their platforms at Arlanda); and for the endangerment to life, there is a possibility of criminal charges being levied. Of greater hope to all passengers who use the airport is the possibility that they will lose their monopoly; and then travel to and from the airport can be without the extra charges. But, time will tell. Until then, we continue to urge all passengers (as we did even before the derailment) to take the local SL bus to the railway station at Märsta for onward travel, or the direct busses to Stockholm or Uppsala cities.

We’ve added a link to the Model Railway Forum, which is based in the UK, and caters mostly for the UK railway modelling scene. Nevertheless, there is a little continental content there and it is managed by one of our Friends!

On our forthcoming events page, we have sadly had to mark one as “cancelled”. European themed railway events in the UK are dropping in number, and this had been a big event for the Scandinavian Railways Society (along with Global-Rail, which used to be held at Didcot). The SRS will have their promotional stand at the French Railways Society’s event in August, and at the big Warley event in November. Additionally, some of their members with Danish or Norwegian themed layouts are expected at Bridport late July, Comberton early September (not confirmed), Willand mid September, Aldershot in October and Westbury in November.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series around the FLMJ; G: The Articles

Köpingsvik, the KRBJ, the FLMJ, and even Steninge, all featured in glossy railway magazines around the world. Peco Publications’ magazine, “Continental Modeller” is a companion magazine to “Railway Modeller”, but as its title suggests, it’s for non-British railways. The editor has nearly always been grateful to receive articles, and generally does a good job as editor. Köpingsvik was featured as a special feature, a stand-alone railway for indoor use, which was also part of a garden railway. We didn’t write a full article about the KRBJ as we had just extended to Röjeråsen (at the time of the Köpingsvik article), and there wasn’t much to show for it; yet we didn’t want to keep delaying! There existed, for a short while, a similar magazine in the US, catering for non-American layouts. This is a very low-interest area and sadly the magazine did not last for long; but the publication of a similar article about Köpingsvik was well received. In Sweden, the newly built FLMJ was featured in an edition of “Tåg” before they dropped all modelling interest, and much more recently in “Modeljärnvägsmagasinet” (“The model railway magazine”)! A very good dialogue is maintained with the editor there; and he has been keen to translate our English submissions to Swedish, given that it will be a while before Adrian is fully fluent! (Other themed articles have been sent also, hence the plural!) Returning to the UK, it is natural that the Railway has featured in “Skandiapilen”, the journal of the Scandinavian Railways Society. Without doubt, articles about a new railway will be sent to all relevant magazines, when the time is right to do so.

Next month: The Website