Category Archives: AJ News

News from Adnalms Järnvägar

News from June 2024

Our News

Through June, our primary task was to modify the two Pocher carriages so that they can be brought into service. The work required both to be retrofitted with NEM couplings. But the DF5 needed some extra work including repainting the roof to a satin finish, putting a correct interior inside, and turning down the wheels; and it needed a new box. Both models had already been heavily modified before we bought them, so doing this work wasn’t invalidating any heritage value that they may have had.

Our versions of the models are from the mid-1960s, but the body-moulds go back to 1958 and 1959. The C3b dates from 1904, and in 1911, 20 C3c carriages supplemented the 99 C3b. The C3c had a toilet at one end. Curiously, Pocher’s model is number 1449 and correctly has the C3b interior, but the markings are clearly C3c (which we will change when we can get suitable decals). The DF5 dates from 1929 and 30 were built. Differences within the fleet were slight, but Pocher’s model, number 2884, comes with passenger seating which is totally wrong, hence the extra work required!

Also during June, we assembled our model kit of a Skånska farmhouse. This was an old kit from Heljan, so it didn’t go together very well and the instructions were quite hopeless; but job done and it actually looks quite nice. It is a little under-scale, but for an old Skåne farm, that is probably not much of an issue!

Manufacturer News

In an update from HNoll, sales of the B4, BF4 and BF7 have been slower than desired (obviously due to the economy and modellers not having as much money to spare as previously) and need a real boost. There have been issues with the labels on the BF7 carriages being wrong and new ones were to be manufactured. Unfortunately, this has dragged on and will not be continued. Quite simply, the carriages are correctly marked but the labels (on the boxes) were wrong. Labels have also been wrong on some earlier carriages.

Other News

At the end of May, a large part of the board at the heritage railway at Nora resigned after a protracted conflict with the foundation that owns the tracks. At an extraordinary meeting on Saturday 29 June, the association’s future was discussed and a new board was elected. Their three main aims now are to work for a better cooperative climate with the Foundation, to improve their economy, and to restart museum traffic as soon as possible.
The association Nora Bergslags Veteranjärnväg (NBVJ) and the foundation Nora Järnvägsmuseum och Veteranjärnväg (NJOV) jointly manage the Nora-Järle and Nora-Pershyttan railway lines. The Nora-Ervalla railway was the first standard gauge line in Sweden for public traffic, inaugurated in 1856. NBVJ is a non-profit association that owns most of the vehicles and runs the traffic itself. NJOV is a foundation that owns the track. The foundation was started by Region Örebro County and Nora Municipality, among others.

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about the new railway; 7: Zätaspåret

When we selected H0e for the Fenixås Jernväg, this was because our preferred industrial gauge, 600mm would have been much more difficult to model, especially the different gauge crossings. Nevertheless, space permitting, Kållstorp (along the H0n3 Stuverydsbäckens Järnväg) could have a narrow gauge line using H0n2 (7mm gauge) to represent Sweden’s 600mm gauge (not exactly, but close enough). 600mm was certainly the most popular gauge for industrial railways, and it ought to be represented if possible. But for Epoch-IV, its industrial use should probably, quite authentically, give way to tourist traffic! Train models for this gauge all seem to be American-influenced, so some modifications to make them acceptable, would be necessary. This narrow-gauge line is probably the least likely to be built (of the ones discussed so far), but it will ‘remain on paper’ until development of the RTJ has reached a stage where a firm decision can be made. The name has a local reference, and should not be confused with ‘Z’-gauge, which is actually 6½mm.

Next Month: Trams?

News from May 2024

Our News

T23 120 was taken onto the workbench during May. We removed the ‘chip’ and the circuit-board that it was connected to; and then connected the cables from the wheels directly to the cables to the motor. This done, the loco gave a very smooth performance; and that is before low-speed running-in or the fitting of a suppressor! Now that we KNOW the problem lies with the chip (or circuit-board) we can ask Jeco to fix the problem. We were unable to tell if it was the chip or the circuit-board that was at fault because there was no means of hot-wiring the circuit-board with the chip removed!

Manufacturer News

We have no news from the Manufacturers, this month.

Other News

Nässjö Railway Museum held an open day at the beginning of the month, where amongst other attractions, the steam railbus from the former Halmstad Nässjö Railway was giving rides along Nässjö station, and there was an opportunity to get photos of a T21 diesel loco ready for when we make new handrails for the Heljan models!

Nearer the end of the month, the same museum celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Nässjö Oskarshamn Railway, a line which passes through the village where we are now located, so a day out was organised with them. Because today, there are no turning facilities at Oskarshamn, the steam loco (SJ class A5 number 1545, formerly Kalmar Railway number 17) at the front was assisted by a diesel loco (SJ T41 200) at the back, and the diesel headed the train on the return, at least as far as Berga. The train was delayed at Berga, so with sufficient loops at the station, the steam loco was moved to the front, albeit running tender-first. There had been a fear that the steam loco would not have been allowed to run, due to the hot dry weather (and line-side fire risk), but thankfully there was quite a lot of rain on the day before…!

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about the new railway; 6: Sörlidsbanan

A third narrow-gauge element is possible, at Rickbacken, to be seen as a remnant of a much larger system, but now only permitting a shuttle service between the station and the town’s main school. But why? Well, this would be H0m (12mm gauge) to represent Sweden’s 1067mm gauge (not exactly, but close enough), to add to the variety. This section would include, using commercially available components, a dual-gauge section (H0+H0m), because that is so Swedish, and is therefore, the reason that we want to do this! Given that this will be a graded line (station level to town level), Sörlidsbanan seems a good name (and it has a local connection). We mentioned earlier that 891mm was seemingly Sweden’s most popular narrow gauge, and it is one of the two where railways were absorbed by the State. Some of the 1067mm gauge railways were also absorbed by the state. At the very minimum, we would need one railbus, a YBo5t which would have been regauged from the 891mm YBo5p!

(As a rule-of-thumb, the final SJ suffix ‘p’ indicated trains gauged for 891mm, and ‘t’ for trains gauged for 1067mm. Other narrow gauges did not have a suffix, but were also not owned by SJ. Pre-1970±, the small ‘o’ indicated rolling stock fitted with bogies instead of 2 (or 3) axles.)

Next Month: Zätaspåret.

News from April 2024

Our News

Steam loco N 1304 has been given a repaint. On closer inspection, we have identified that Swedish steam locomotives are not gloss, so it has been given a matt black coating. Pipework and other add-ons are being picked out in bare metal colours so that they can be seen and appreciated without compromising the visual appearance of the loco. Being a kit-built model, it was also due its 3-yearly overhaul, which for a model that hasn’t yet been run-in, didn’t amount to much work taking place!

Manufacturer News

ACME has produced two sets of carriages for the current day (Epoch-VI) SJ international sleeper train, which uses former German and similar stock. Article ACME55311 contains one WLABmz Type MUn sleeping car and three Bvcmz248.5 couchette cars in blue livery with SJ logos. Article ACME55315 contains additional carriages for the Euronight consisting of a WLABmz Type 32s sleeping car and a Bvcmz248.5 couchette car in blue livery with SJ logos. The train operates Berlin – Hamburg Hbf – København L – Stockholm; and uses an Rc6 for the Swedish portion. It is much too modern to run here on the RTJ!

HNoll has reported that after a great start in 2024 with the new B4/BF4/BF7 carriages, all sales of their products have stopped completely! They are going to try Tradera (the Swedish eBay) for a trial period to reach out to more customers who haven’t found HNoll’s products yet. Customers who already know HNoll are referred to the retailers who do a great job stocking all their products.
HNoll’s Blue-X/IC-11 and Special carriages will be manufactured during the summer and should appear in the early autumn. The production of these carriages is almost halved to adapt to anticipated sales volumes. There are no started or finished tools for other carriage types in the 80s series and HNoll will not start any more 80s carriages in 2024. (However, there is another carriage project where tool manufacturing will begin within the next few weeks, but HNoll is not letting on what it is!)
Currently, there are over 2500 HNoll carriages of various designs in stock. The series B4/BF4/BF7 carriages released in February 2024 have not yet recouped their investment cost, which means that HNoll has to slow down spending for the time being. People are being urged to take a closer look at the A7/A8/B7 with ASEA bogies, which have never been correctly produced before. They have correct window placement, correct undercarriage, correct window size on doors, and many fine details such as transverse grooves on the roof, shunter steps and a really nicely painted interior; somewhat superior to similar carriages that have been in production from another source for a few decades.

Other News

This year’s Hjulmarknaden has been advertised for one date on their website, and another date in the press (in Tågsommar). In a Facebook post as April ended, they have confirmed that it will be on November 23rd, not the end of the month (30th).

Behind the Scenes

Mini-Series about the new railway; 5: Fenixås Jernväg

Last month, we told you about the potential for a narrow-gauge railway in H0n3. There is also a plan for a much smaller railway, and actually much easier to create, using H0e (9mm gauge) to represent Sweden’s 802mm gauge (not exactly, but close enough; see below). This small railway is the ‘extra’ plan that was hinted at for Skarpa Gård, and it will be said that the narrow-gauge line runs between the manor house and the nearby beauty spot at a local lake. The line’s imaginary history suggests that the house was formerly a mining office, and the lake was the mine; thus justifying the line’s existence!
Using commercially available track components, it is intended that this line shall cross the standard gauge line on the level, thus a special ‘diamond crossing’ with one gauge crossing the other! The few 802mm gauge railways were mostly industrial, so it would be easy and appropriate to find a suitable European or Soviet steam loco (or diesel) to provide the main motive power. There is even a consideration for a British 00-9 scale “Fairlie” loco; as standard gauge versions had been used on the railway that passes near the house where we are!
H0e is normally associated with the central European gauge of 760mm, but this gauge is very rare in Sweden (we’re not convinced that it was used at all, in fact). However, the track gauge (9mm) scaled up from 1:87 is actually 783, so 802mm gauge is close enough! The name is a translation (from Welsh) of a similarly gauged (00-9) model railway in the UK (Rheilffordd Bryn Ffenics / Phoenix Hill Railway), whose owners are Friends of the RTJ, and were instrumental in safeguarding the Railway’s artefacts when the FLMJ closed.

And, having mentioned the owners of the Rheilffordd Bryn Ffenics, we would like to extend our congratulations to them for their wedding (or coupling-up) during April! The ceremony took place at the Talyllyn Railway, very fitting.

Next Month: Sörlidsbanan.

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 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