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.
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.
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.
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’.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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.)
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.
We hoped to have a report and some photos from a rail-tour that was to happen mid-May, with steam traction for some of the way; but it seems that the TOC didn’t give the infrastructure authority enough time to approve the journey, so it didn’t get approved. A visit was made instead to an open day with another group who planned to run a couple of short return trips with a steam loco the following day (already approved); but we had heard a rumour that Stockholm County had introduced a ban relating to steam trains and other fire risks because the weather was too warm and dry to be safe. So, the plan was to watch the online tracker to see if the first train ran, and if it did, venture out to ride on the second one. In the event, the first one did run but didn’t shew up on the tracker; then there were reports of a lineside fire on the route, which cancelled all trains, including the second trip. As the first one didn’t shew up, we hadn’t ventured out for the second; so we avoided disappointment!
Jeco is now shewing a picture of a model of an Rc4 in Epoch-IV condition to support their proposed release of such model. (Previously, the photo used was an Rc2.) This assures our confidence with the model being correct, and justifies our purchase of one, maybe two!
The rumours have been confirmed; in addition to a 2019 Volvo V60, PCX87 is to produce the 2019 Volvo V90 in four colours, each costing 22,95€, thus: PCX870384 black metallic PCX870385 grey metallic PCX870386 silver PCX870387 beige metallic
Minichamps, who has proposed no fewer than two Saab cars and six Volvo cars, all with four of each, and all past their originally proposed delivery dates, has now added a one-off to the proposals, a Resin version of the Volvo 240 sedan from 1986. It will be cheaper than the delayed ABS models, but whether or not this gets delivered, remains to be seen. (Article D87171400, for delivery 5.2023!)
On this website, we have made some minor additions to the information in our article on the YCo6 (datebox) railbuses; including the classification of the ones that went to Denmark, reference to the fact that some also went to Norway, and that the Finns had their own broader gauge version, built under licence in Finland.
Behind the Scenes
Mini-Series around the FLMJ; F: The Calendar
Home produced for many years, until just before the Railway’s closure, is the calendar. This is now professionally produced, and whilst copies are available for sale (if ordered and paid for in advance), they mainly serve as yuletide ‘presents’ for our Friends. The images would normally reflect the year gone by (usually November to October so that we had a chance to get it produced and proliferated before the end of the year), but of necessity, the recent few years have carried historical photos with a particular theme. One recent year for example, was our trains on tours to other model railways. This year, it was to have been the scenery (not many trains to be seen, but appropriate scenic modelling to be appreciated instead); but the FLMJ didn’t have much of that, and having looked through the selected pictures, we just felt completely uninspired! So, in the 11th-hour we changed it to so-called “runner up” photos; those which are quite nice, but had previously been neglected in favour of other, similar photos. We haven’t decided on a theme for next year, yet!
Of course, the calendars always had a nostalgic and inspirational feeling. Having visited the railway, people would see the images and remember the enjoyment that they had during that visit (and kept them coming back, or so we like to think)! And even today, it keeps people interested, to want to know how we’re progressing with getting a new layout ready to start.
The first copies were printed in exactly the same way as our journals, but everything was printed, inclined at 90°. For a couple of years, we used glued-on colour photos; then colour ink-jet printing became available. Spiral binding was too difficult and costly to manage, so they would be staple-bound with great care to ensure that the staples were precisely in the middle so that the pages folded properly without creasing. A simple single hole was then punched so that they could be hung on the wall. We did experiment one year with a diary instead (month to a view, picture on one side, dates on the other); thus removing the need to hang the item or turn the printing through 90°, but that was not popular. Then, one year, a calendar was received from a friend, professionally printed, and we liked it so much that after a few enquiries, we ’went professional’ the following year. This did push up production costs, but the greatly improved quality is worth it. And, even though these calendars are not especially cheap to acquire (nor to send), we do intend to keep up this tradition.
It’s been a low-activity month, again. We won’t bore you with the saga of finding a suitable home for the Railway, because it is just about buildings. But this has taken up a lot of time recently. Desperate to do some model-related activity, it was decided to open some of the housing kits, paint matt black on the insides to block interior lighting from shining through the plastic; and then fit things such as windows and doors. Stopping at this point means that the kits can be put back in their boxes, for assembly once in situ in the eventual location. But we can also use a very low-tack adhesive if we want to put them together for photography or other reasons! During this month, we also took advantage of some good prices on Joswood laser-cut kits, and two have been purchased, ready for the same treatment. We started with the Heljan model of Åmål, as used at Lövhöjden. Our existing model is quite badly weather-damaged, so having found an unbuilt kit on Tradera (the Swedish ‘eBay’) some time ago, we decided that it would be good to replace it. In addition to the insides of the walls and rooves, we painted the gutters and downpipes, chimney tops (and insides), and small details on the main base plate. Looking further ahead, we are intending to not use the printed paper curtains, because the interior lighting shines through the curtains but not the space in-between. Instead, we intend to fit home-made interior walls, basic interior details suitably painted, and have a more authentic appearance. Quite how well this goes will be determined as we do it!
HNoll continues to keep modellers up to date with developments, and despite all the problems being experienced, Rickard remains up-beat, which is good to know. The problems are of course, the delays in China due to Covid; and an enormous hike in interest rates and utility prices, affecting people’s ability to buy the models, and subsequently HNoll’s ability to produce the next round of models. a) The B4/BF4/BF7 are expected late summer. b) The remainder of the A7/B7 and the Special carriages are expected soon after. c) The A11/B11 would be next, but currently there is not enough revenue from existing models to pay for their production. HNoll fears that people will give up waiting and retain their Roco models, but once HNoll’s superior quality is appreciated, we think that most modellers will choose to change them. d) First Generation A7/B7 and the BFS9 are on the drawing board / CAD. e) Other than a mention of the B2/B10, there is, wisely, no further development schedule. (As a point of interest, we are hoping for the following models; A7 (first series), B7 (first series), B2, B4 and UAF7, all in brown, two of each except the UAF7 (one). If HNoll were to produce the R4 in brown without the InterCity chevrons, one of those would also be nice.) There are however, mentions of other, non-1980s carriages; either to accompany the proposed ‘InterCity’ concept train or as requested by modellers. These are the 1940s/1970s BC2 couchette carriage, 1960s R1 catering carriage, and 1960s WL1 sleeping carriage. All of these would suit the FLMJ very well. They would be pricier than existing models because they have very few design details that can carry over to/from other models! (Neither the R1 nor WL1 are in NMJ’s 1960s carriages range.) HNoll still plans to produce a top-of-the-range Ma-loco, despite Jeco’s existing model; and we fear that this would end up in the Brimalm pricing category and attract so few buyers, that it would not be a wise investment. (Why not build an acceptable model of the Mg-loco; that would be much more useful and popular?) And on top of this, HNoll wants to produce the X10 unit and all of its derivatives. Fair enough; the only current models are the kits from SWB/UGJ, but with a Byggsvenskt chassis, these work fine; would the X10 attract enough buyers to be worth producing? We’d prefer the X9; never made r-t-r before, but a good representation of SJ’s rolling stock history.
We’re delighted to re-establish a link to the UK-based Scandinavian Railways Society, now that their website is back under Society control, and looking much better; tidy, readable, relevant, etc…! We’ve also added a link to Model Train Prices on our website. Prices of models are compared between shops, including 20 in Sweden; but it is not just for Swedish models. Try it and see. As a rule of thumb, there is very little price competition between the shops for Swedish models. (Customer service says a lot, here in the Nordic territory.) Swedish models are produced in small batches to match the smaller demand than for other countries like the UK, Germany, US, and so on. Smaller quantities lead to higher prices, so there is very little margin for shops to compete, knowing that the prices have to be low enough to attract customers, but without putting themselves (or the manufacturers) out of business. Look above at the problems being experienced at HNoll, for example.
Behind the Scenes
Mini-Series around the FLMJ; E: The Stocklist
Additional to the Year Book, and with a similar cover photo, we have produced a printed Stock List every year. Its purpose was simply to catalogue all locomotives, units, carriages and wagons that we have here. Even after a computer program became more relevant, this provided a good back-up, quick and easy to read. But only one copy was ever printed, and kept on file. This has been maintained, but this year’s list (as always, correct to January 1st,) could be the last. We also have this information in other formats, formats that are more useful to us with regards to operating the railway; such as a service schedule in Excel. A simplified list is produced in Word and is taken to all events and places where there might be an opportunity to acquire desired models; its purpose is to ensure that we can avoid duplicating existing models! And this copy is sufficient for our insurers. In our previous updates, we considered the future alternative for the Year Book. It could include elements from this book; if we feel that it makes interesting reading.
The ‘accessory bag’ for the Dm3 loco arrived during March, so we set to work fitting as much as we could. First, the good news; there is a kinematic coupling attachment that is suitable for the dummy SA3 couplings, so these have been fitted and the Kadee devices will gradually be removed. There was an amount of frustration and confusion with the contents, however, and as an example, the loco needs four mirrors, the pack contains seven, four black, three body-colour. None of them are a good fit and we had to widen the holes in the body-sides and trim the fittings. Worse however, was the fitting of one of the buffer-beam level brake hoses, a tight fit, and as we were pressing it in the locomotive body cracked – right across the front! Thankfully, with a bit of penetrating glue and then a little superglue on the inside once dried, the crack is almost invisible – until we ever need to remove the body! (How does a feeble brake hose do that much damage? Maybe the loco was already damaged and that is how it ended up as a second-hand sale item!) The handrails went in beautifully, and as a tip to anyone who has one of these locos; there is a right way up for the hand rails; the top fitting and the lower fitting are not the same!
Having fitted the SA3 couplings to the Dm3, it was natural that the two ore wagons, each with SA3 at one end and standard H0-pattern at the other, should be modified accordingly, and now they both have SA3 at each end.
PCX87 is understood to have had on display at the Nürnberg trade fayre, a Volvo V90 (see last month about the V60). Again, too modern for our epoch, but nice to see that modern cars of this brand are beginning to appear. (Still, there’s roundly ±25 years gap of history to fill!)
Rietze has produced a model of the Solaris Urbino 12 Hybrid in modern X-trafik livery, and for good measure, an electric version for neighbouring Norway. Furthermore, with local sponsoring, they have produced the MAN Lion’s City E 18 bus in “Gamla Uppsala Buss” livery from 2018.
The old Lidingö Bridge for trams on the Lidingöbanan will soon be replaced by the new Lilla Lidingö Bridge. Before the replacement of the bridge, some special tours were run with the Lidingöbanan’s veteran car, SSLidJ car 17, which was packed full. The trips ran between Ropsten and AGA, and featured three return workings and a one-way final trip to AGA, where the depot is also located. The new bridge is subtly arched, so it needs no lifting section, and is double-track over its entire length. Some tight curves (well, not tight for a tramway) at the Ropsten end will lead the new alignment into the existing station.
Behind the Scenes
Mini-Series around the FLMJ; D: The Review of the Year
By about now, we would have produced our annual review, and its title would have been “FLMJ 2022”. (Well, it exists on computer, but not in print!) Inspired by the lamented “Nordens Järnvägar” series by Stenvalls, it would report on all new rolling stock arrivals, new equipment, withdrawn and sold items, operational challenges; and mostly as a colour photo album with very little text. Earlier editions were also bi-lingual. Although none have been physically printed since the FLMJ closed, they have continued in digital production, and a PDF version is available upon request. Recent editions have said very little more than the stock changes (but they do have a look at the modern railway scene to provide inspiration), and even once the new railway gets started, we are wondering if we want to continue with this publication? Following the demise of Stenvalls’ year-book, they produced 6 editions of “Lok & Vagnar” at sporadic intervals. These carried less information about stock in and out, but more about themed items, technical details, usage, and in a relevant format. Might this work for us, too? Whilst online updates are timely, the purpose of our book was to summarise the year, a record of that year, a keepsake. Is that really necessary and of interest? Or do people still enjoy the nostalgia of something in print to discover when having a clear-out? We are discussing this with our friends. On thing that the Review was intended to report on, was the so called, “2020 Vision”, the great plan for the Railway to reach Fjällnäs by (or during) 2020. It would have been a timely record of how well we did and ultimately tell the story of how the FLMJ finally reached Fjällnäs, the ‘F’ in our title. So, this is something to discuss among our Friends. We already have a template for a different way of reviewing the Railway’s development; but will it be just a new name for an old format, or will we be able to find something more relevant? The key difference, of course, is that the internet has changed the way we do almost everything these days. With the former FLMJ’s Director General now working in a book warehouse, there is an element of empathy towards that medium, but relevance is key.
February was quite a busy month, for the wrong reasons. The employment was being wound down (not enough orders coming in) and being on a time contract, being sent home (or just told not to come in) became very much the rule. This provided time to apply for better employment (and accommodation), and in order to break up the stress, a lot of modelling! T21 87 was reassembled in a whole day! Only five things fell off during this process, two of them cab windows. Ordinarily, one should not need to remove the B-end motor cover (unless access to the DCC loudspeaker is required), and having been glued together by Heljan, we can aver that it is impossible to get off without damaging it! The fibre-optic rods go from receptacles in the body into the chassis, horizontally; but the body can only be removed vertically! The trick was to prise off the (glued on) front panel and try not to lose the upper lamp pieces! We were fortunate in that only one tiny part got lost, and that all five lamps (if you include the red) at this end work, albeit, one of the whites dimly (which is not inauthentic)! The A-end was much easier, though again there was damage to the fibre-optic rod to one of the lamps because it is fitted horizontally in a body/chassis that separates vertically! Gluing it back on was not a viable option, but pressing it into the receptacle in the chassis for its ‘mate’ to meet up with it when we mounted the body was better. (To remove this end, the part of the body nearer the cab needs to be inclined as per Heljan’s instructions, to enable the tabs to clear the chassis; but tilt it too much and the rods break!) This is being typed whilst we wait for glue to dry before refitting the last handrail (to a step that was one of the items that fell off); but there is no guarantee that this will go back on without issue or complication! [Stop Press: Yes, sure enough, the steps fell off, the nearby buffer beam fell off, and during handling to put these right, the exhaust stack fell off. No other manufacturer could make a model with so many ‘issues’!] The N 1304 steam loco had its couplings refitted, with the Roco receptacles mounted onto plastic blocks (but not with the kinematic mechanism). At the front, this sat in a small gap between the frames and behind the lighting resistor that was behind the buffer beam. At the back, there was a lot of space, so a plastic block was bolstered by some washers, but it all fits in quite nicely. There was a plan to replace the buffers with the sprung ones that we had recently acquired; but we decided that this was less urgent, and that when it is done, we will re-seat the headlamps at the back so that they don’t overhang the buffers! When BC4R 5467 was delivered, two drainage pipes had been knocked off. Comparing this with number 5476, we were able to see where they should be fitted, and this was finally done. Examining this carriage afterwards, we noticed that it too, has M84S bogies with real coil springs, but these are less flimsy than on the newer A7R and B7R models, and not so obvious. One of the Ugkkpp wagons, being so short, has been used as a test model for coupling compatibility tests with the steam loco above, and with the T21 and T45 diesels; but we found that it was much more delicate than we had realised, and a pair of components near one of the wheel-sets had got knocked off. These were refitted, and all four of these wagons are now declared unsuitable for ‘test’ work! Our relatively new (Norwegian) NSB ‘Hbikks’ van was finally fitted with its required handwheels, small ones for the parking brakes, and larger ones for the opening doors. These hadn’t been missing; they were in a bag with the model. We just needed to find the time to fit them!
Some updates have appeared from HNoll (one seemingly backdated) in which Rickard takes stock of events over the last six years. To date, HNoll has sold roundly 5,700 sleepers and couchettes in 51 different configurations (liveries and running numbers), 2,600 restaurant carriages in 18 configurations, and 9,300 ordinary seating carriages in a presently undetermined number of configurations, with more to follow. However, despite these latest carriages selling in the greatest number, it represents roundly 50% of those received from China and sales have, after the initial rush, stopped dead. Rickard wonders if they were not as interesting as models as he had hoped (given that these are the closest competition to the Roco models), or if it is for economic reasons. We are convinced beyond doubt that it is for economic reasons. Food prices in Sweden have almost doubled in the last year; electricity costs have more than doubled. People are struggling and having to divert hobby money to basic survival. And to a greater or lesser extent, this is true around most of Europe regardless of political position. Since the start, HNoll’s operations have been 100% based on home loans and other favourable loans. This was because the interest rate had been very favourable for a long time. The situation has clearly changed for the worse financially as the monthly cost with interest has noticeably increased. The revenue is eaten up by the interest and there is great uncertainty about expected sales volumes. Volumes need to be kept at a high level to generate enough revenue which have the risk of turning into loss if sales volumes are less than expected. There may need to be a halt in tool manufacturing as the loans must be prioritised. The ‘generation-2-blue’ (A7/B7) carriages that were missing in the latest delivery should arrive together with the B4/BF4/BF7 carriages in the summer. Maybe also the long-awaited Blue-X carriages, but that depends on the sale of the carriages in stock. There is currently not enough money to bring the Blue-X carriages into production this spring. (They have, among other things, differently opening windows!) It is hoped that the special carriages (S1, etc) can be delivered in the Autumn. It is of course, our hope that Rickard is able to keep the production running, even if there has to be a delay with the next round of models. But people’s private economies need to improve before this can happen; the interest and other financial problems that Rickard has experienced, have also been experienced first hand, by a vast majority of the Swedish population (and his other worldwide customers). For the FLMJ, we are looking forward to the B4; and hoping for B2, UA7X (aka AFM7), and series 1 A7/B7. (Assuming that we haven’t misinterpreted an earlier comment by HNoll, we are also hoping for one R4 (which would be original brown without the InterCity chevrons), to go into one of the night trains; but we fear that might be a misunderstanding!)
In other news, and really too modern for the FLMJ’s station car-parks, PCX87 is to produce a 2019 year model Volvo V60 in four different colours, in H0-scale.
Forever breaking the tiniest drill bits that we have, we are now experimenting with 0,2 and 0,5mm bits made by Tamiya; which have a 1mm shank. This prevents us drilling too deep with the finer bits and will maybe last a lot longer. Previously, we had been given something similar by a dentist friend, but the dental bits have much longer fine sections. Time and usage will tell.
We have searched for a long time for an official meaning of the letter ‘h’ in the wagon type ‘Uh’. In ‘SJF 637’ from 1971, we have found that it simply means, “for liquid and gaseous substances”, or in other words, ‘tank wagons’. We have updated the relevant section of the website!
LEG’s film series, “Svenska Tåg” is no longer available in the shops, sadly; the DVDs can only be purchased from one ‘approved’ supplier. Thus ends our association with them (we have editions 1 to 51). We will not endorse any action that potentially leads to the closure of Railway hobby related shops.
Behind the Scenes
Mini-Series around the FLMJ; C: The Newsletter, AJ-Nyheter
AJ-Nyheter was a less glossy and more formal newsletter created for the people who were regularly active upon the railway. Instead of book and video reviews, this would have explanations to the changes in the operating rules, servicing instructions for the various models, and anything that was more appropriate to the operation of the Railway than the promotion of it. It also promoted the same for the club’s other activities, including the outings and exhibition layouts (Köpingsvik and Steninge, for example). This newsletter changed format several times, from A4 printed single sheets, to staple-bound magazines, and various alternatives in between! And whilst the main journal was leaning towards colour production, this one certainly wasn’t. With the closure of the Railway, this newsletter was naturally obsolete. However, in fact, it had stopped in production earlier because it was considered superfluous; internal issues were best talked about, not written; and any written communication that was necessary was enacted by email. It is envisaged, that when the new railway does get started, an online presence will be more likely, and that AJ-Nyheter will not go back into production. Online communication already exists among some of the Friends of the Railway, who are keen to build their own Swedish model railway dioramas, and naturally have our full support. One key area for this is the Swedish equivalent of eBay, where some very good models of Swedish rolling stock often appear, but the sellers will ship only to Sweden, or the EU, or the EEA (and some couriers will not operate in the UK now). So, delivery is taken here in Sweden, and we arrange (with the Friend) for onward delivery (or collection during a visit)! So now, two key journals have been stopped, ‘FLMJ-Nytt’ and ‘AJ-Nyheter’, and both are very unlikely to restart; but that’s not bad news! We abhor change for change-sake; but change for improvement has always been encouraged and as we will discuss during the year, we are taking advantage of this quiet spell to prepare for a new means of printed communication in support of our online presence, Next month: our Annual Review.
And finally: We aim to post our updates on the first day of the month following (February’s news on March 1st, for example). So be aware that if looking through archived news, our host records the archive date as the ‘date published’, not the date that the news is about. (Thanks to one of our readers for this enquiry.)