2022 – the first Swedish “Staycation”

Having posted articles about railway related trips to Sweden, here’s a related trip “already in” Sweden. Now, visiting the Swedish railways is a so called “staycation” (or “Svemester” in Swedish), and two weeks from the midsummer weekend were spent in that environment. The FLMJ’s former Director General made the trip, but almost every day he was accompanied; anything between one and seven other people.

Nynäshamns Järnvägsmuseum

First point of call; Sunday 26th June; Nynäshamns Järnvägsmuseum. This is a small museum adjacent to Nynäsgård station, housing a number of locos, carriages and wagons; some servicable, others needing work. It is the home of E 1189, of which the FLMJ has a model! Anything that was open was truly open, so we could climb aboard and go into many of the artefacts and have a good look around; locomotive cabs, 1930s (and other) carriages, baggage vans; and one van now containing an exhibit of the Railway’s history (the line from Älvsjö to Nynäshamn) and the museum’s history, including the railtours that have been arranged over the years. Travel to and from was by train (well, car to the local station) SJ regional train to Centralstation, and SL thereafter; and it takes just over an hour to complete the SL part of the journey (worth noting if you intend to visit from central stockholm)! A short walk into centrum for lunch and a stroll along the quayside made for a perfect day out. (The railway makes a turn through 180° from Nynäsgård to Nynäshamn via Gröndalsviken, and although it is quicker than walking the more direct route, it’s an enjoyable walk!)


The second location was the “LennaKatten” also known as the Uppsala-Lenna Railway (Uppsala Lenna Järnväg) on the following Thursday. Travel to Uppsala was by train, SJ regional, that shuttles beetween Stockholm and Uppsala with stops at Märsta and Knivsta. Our train to Faringe was hauled by steam loco “Thor”, and we were in the front carriage, on the open platform, a real treat for the nostrils! The other two trains in service on this day were diesel, a two-car railbus set, and a 2-axle loco with three carriages. Our loco had three bogie carriages, a 2-axle carriage and a small van. We passed the other two trains on route. There was over an hour turn-round time at Faringe, and the nearby “go’biten” cafeteria is recommended by the railway, and now by us. We also tried to have a look around the station building, but understandably, only the waiting room was open. The station building here is modelled by Jeco, and one exists in the FLMJ’s stored ‘collection’! (The building had burned down years ago, but was later rebuilt to the original drawings.) For the return journey, we stayed in the same carriage (now at the back).

Arriving at Uppsala, it could be seen that the return home would be in the usual X40 unit, but being a weekday, there was a possibility that if we waited for the next (an hour later), it might be loco hauled; and it was. However, we were certainly surprised to find in this rake of carriages (for a total journey time of less than one hour) a bistro/cinema carriage type S12! Even the train crew were unable to offer an explanation! So, the return journey was on nicely cushioned seats in a former bistro area. And to make a real comedy of the day, a valuable lesson was to not buy Marabou chocolate, and open it on a warm day. It melted and covered most of the rucksack’s contents, including cameras, in chocolate!

Modelljärnvägens Hus

On the first of July, Modelljärnvägens Hus near Söderby/Alunda was the destination. This venue is quite well advertised and very well signposted from the main road. But, this venue is a collection of assorted train sets, not serious railway modelling; families with young children will find this quite interesting and hands-on (many of the trains can be driven by the guests). There were a few scenically inspirational scenes, so a few photos were taken; but even that was made difficult by the high screens protecting the layout from wandering fingers.

Saturday was a day off – Well a shopping trip to IKEA for some, and then to greet friends at Arlanda airport; the latter worthy of a report of its own due to dysfunctional passport control and broken down luggage belts; but not for here.

Föreningen Sörmlands Veteran Järnväg

Sunday’s trip was to the FSVJ (Föreningen Sörmlands Veteran Järnväg), a.k.a, Oxelösunds Järnvägasmuseum. Oxelösund is the “O” in TGOJ, and this was the inspiration for the visit. Motive Power is arranged in a roundhouse, and most of the carriages were in a newly built shed, including ALL 1950s TGOJ carriages, yes, all four of them! It was nice to be able to walk through two of them, one each second class and first class. As delivered, the latter was ‘composite’ (first and second class), but it was modified in its later days. Four other carriages were in the same shed, but these were former SJ carriages from the 1930s; two of which could be walked through. Fika was taken aboard one of SJ’s earliest restaurant carriages from 1929. It became TGOJ conference carriage number 1001, and after being sold to the (national) railway museum (presumably Gävle), it came to Oxelösund to serve as the cafe! Outside also, there was a collection of three carriages, the F5/FV1 luggage carriage, a WL12 sleeper, and an unidentified carriages used now for personnel, but previously a ‘sjukvagn’ complete with operating theatre – please, not on the move, surely! Sadly, many of the artefacts were without their numbers, so it was difficult to catalogue what had been seen or to conduct further research to better identify them. Furthermore, aside from two 2-axle ore wagons, very little of TGOJ’s goods history was presented here; we had higher hopes for our visit to Grängesberg two days later!

Östra Södermanlands Järnväg

On the way home from Oxelösund, (having decided that 90 minutes including Fika was enough,) we detoured to Läggesta and a ride on the 600mm gauge Östra Södermanlands Järnväg to Mariefred and back (we didn’t bother with the route to Taxinge for this visit). Being a smaller gauge, there were no open end plaftorms to stand on and enjoy the atmosphere, but our train had the most ‘open’ carriage possible in it, so that was good enough. For the return, we found cushioned seats in an enclosed carriage, so just for a treat…!

Grängesbergsbanornas Järnvägsmuseum

On Mondays, many museums are closed, so after a non-railway day, a group of us met at Grängesberg, some to visit the museum there, the GBBJ. Once home to a fine collection and a well kept site, it seemed lacklustre now; what little effort was being taken to cut the grass during our visit was not going to make much difference! In the roundhouse, there were several fine examples of mostly TGOJ steam locos, including two of the steam turbine locomotives class M3t; one of which is said to be the only working steam turbine locomotive in the world, now. These locomotives were in various states of repair, but all looked promising. Outside was a different story; it looked more like a railway graveyard, with many artefacts rotting away. Sadly, aomg them were all but one of the TGOJ 1940s green carriages, and the green F5 (FV1), of which we have models, and the V3 diesel locomotive number 803, of which we had a model! There was an assortment of ore wagons in the sidings including a rare SJ type ‘Uads’ and one of the equally rare TGOJ bogie-ore wagons. Very little could be climbed on, no hands-on policy here: one steam locomotive cab and a rake of pre-TGOJ carriages (the TGOJ was formed by merging a few smaller companies, one of them the OFWJ). There were a few SJ items (including a WL2 sleeper and another sjuk-vagn – read our review from the FSVJ above); and three of the short length 1960s former F5/F6 baggage wagons, one of which was in the TGOJ early green livery to match the 1940s carriages, although none were ever in this livery in service! One of us posted a google review, since when the address has been added to the website (previously it was on the FB page only), and the correct entry fee is now shewn: but 80kr is not unreasonable. Overall, it was a good day out, well worth visiting, but needs some serious investment if the artefacts are to be saved!

Hallsbergs Modelljärnvägsförening

Three nights in a hotel at Örebro made sense for the next few visits, and with Wednesday’s attractions less than five minutes walk from Hallsberg station, and the hotel less than five minutes walk from Örebro station, the car was given a day off! The venue was Hallsbergs Modelljärnvägsförening; a significant model railway layout, open to the public, adjoining the Bergöövåningen exhibition. The main feature of the layout is the diorama of Hallsberg’s station, both the railway and the environment around it; and all of the local buildings have been faithfully recreated in miniature. And that includes the building in which the layout is housed! However, there is not enough length to recreate the entire marshalling yard also, and a sign on the backscene declares that one way leads to factual representation, and the other leads to ‘fantasy’. But, once the railway has navigated the 180° turn, there is a good representation of a marshalling yard (rangerbangård in Swedish), and the overal presentation is impressive. After a few circuits, the trains stop at the station, and anyone viewing the layout can operate a press-button to start any of the trains again. Start-up and stopping is authentically smooth. Operationally, it is just through trains, no shunting takes place; but with such an impressive set-up, we wondered if such refinement is saved for certain events or extra busy days?

After little over an hour, back to the 1:1 scale Hallsberg station for a few hours taking photographs, mostly goods trains, but the arrival of a Y31 DMU for the return to Örebro was a nice surprise, even if the fare wasn’t! (At Örebro, a one way ticket was bought from a machine for 55:-. However, at Hallsberg, like all SJ stations, there are no manned ticket desks, but there are no machines either. The only way to buy a physical ticket is at the Pressbyrån in the station building. However, not only do they charge more for the journey, they add a surcharge, so the return trip cost 66:- plus 8:-! One can use an App to buy directly from the TOC, but your writer’s new Doro phone is very temperamental about when it wants to work or not, and it was too risky to start using such an App on this device! Furthermore, visitors to Sweden who do not have a Swedish number, will not be able to use the App, so visiting Sweden is getting more and more expensive all the time!) Back to the trains: Rc-locomotives in an assortment of liveries came through, including a former ÖBB version of the Rc2; as well as Hector Rail locos and a few that we were not familiar with. Photos were also taken of FlixTrain and MTR-X, and even loco-hauled SJ trains!

Nora Bergslags Veteran-Jernväg

For the Thursday, the car was essential, the Nora Bergslags Veteran-Jernväg (NBVJ) is not accessible by train. An E2 locomotive, repainted with a light grey boiler(!) was our motive power, and the train comprised a teak-planked Co4a carriage, and two Norwegian (NSB) B22 carriages! Although they were both B22, one had a ‘normal’ curved roof, the other was clerestory! The journey from Nora to Järle took about 20 minutes, and after a 50 minutes stop out in the sticks with nothing to appreciate, the train returned. A look around the yard was interesting in that we were able to look over Oa/Oam wagons (essentially ‘O’ wagons with a third axle, ordered by the army for carrying tanks); but also sad in that some of the relics were clearly in the process of being scrapped (A Y6-generation railbus was clearly ‘cut-down’)! There is mention on their website of a railbus operating along the section to Pershyttan / Gyttorp, but there was no evidence of this at Nora station, but by taking a scenic detour in the car, we did find a couple of carriages stabled in the Pershyttan area. The Railway is a lot smaller than we had been led to expect; with so much said about it’s historical relevance we were surprised at how small the line is. But it was an enjoyable day out.

Miniature Kingdom

Friday was the final day, and back to the H0-scale scene; the Miniature Kingdom at Kungsör. Unlike the diorama at Hallsberg, Kungsör’s layout does not represent one area in particular, although there are elements from Kungsör; and Stockholm, Örebro, Norrland, and so on. Lots of famous and ‘typical’ landmarks and buildings are dotted around the layout, at the front of the baseboards there are small signs telling you what to notice especially. There are also a few push-buttons to operate a few accessories. Like any layout of this nature, it is automated and DCC, and this enabled the Rc-hauled Tågab passenger train to crash into the back of a stationery X2000, making a lot of noise as the wheels kept turning, grinding on the rails! But the technician was nowhere to be found for several minutes after the ticket clerk had been informed. Sadly, this did prevent several of the other trains from running for a while, so our photo opportunities were restricted. There are some stand-alone dioramas also, Eskistuna, “Köping in the 80s” (used in the Swedish film, Tårtgeneralen from 2017), and “Storm on Lugna Gatan” (from a Swedish Television’s Christmas series from 2018).

And in addition to all this, there are cameo scenes, including ABBA standing in front of a helicopter (as depicted on their ‘Arrival’ album), a scene from the film “The Hundred year old who climbed out of the window and disappeared”, and Swedish celebrities such as Greta Garbo, Jussi Björling, Loreen, Greta Thunberg(!) and so on. There is even Gävle’s burning goat with a copious smoke unit!

Returning home later in the day, the chassis for the T45 had been delivered, so there was now work to be done, but that is another story!

Photography was quite a challenge during this tour. We had available a traditional Fuji camera, good for stills but poor for video. There was also a GoPro ‘Hero’, and a dubious Doro mobile phone. Remembering to bring a USB power pack with us ‘just in case’ and a lead suitable for the mobile phone, we weren’t expecting the GoPro to have no power, so a new lead had to be purchased so that this device could be charged; but more on that in a moment. Using the GoPro’s Wi-Fi, we were able to connect with the mobile phone, useful considering that the GoPro does not have a screen to shew what is being seen by the camera. This has always been difficult to use. With an old Alcatel, we had some success, but the Huawei phone would only connect via BlueTooth. With the new-but-unsatisfactory Doro, we were back to Wi-Fi, but it took a very long time to connect, causing the GoPro to just switch off (assuming that it was not being used), and then the phone would declare that it was unable to connect because the camera was switched off! But eventually, by playing with the controls on the GoPro, it stayed on long enough for the phone to connect with it. Back home, the miniature SD card was placed in the main computer, where the video and audio didn’t seem to synchronise very well; and then it all just disappeared off the disc and nowhere to be retrieved from! We were later to find that these videos had transferred to the camera’s internal memory (didn’t know it had one) when we tried connecting it to the computer via USB instead of moving the SD card! And now, the audio and video synchronised properly. Thankfully more than 100 stills were safely retrieved from the conventional Fuji camera. On another day, there was further equipment failure; empty batteries in the Fuji (for stills) and GoPro (for film), and the Doro phone’s gallery is usually not compatible with the computer, so any photos taken with that cannot be transferred! It had been forgotten that the Fuji camera drains batteries even when switched off, so leaving them in overnight was a mistake! And it seems that the GoPro needs charging every morning before it is to be used. But, at least if one is patient, the GoPro will eventually communicate with its App on the Doro phone and can be controlled from there which is a great help – once it has started working! The Doro phone has two sets of settings controls, and one of them leads to the option to transfer files when connected to the computer. But it has to be in this mode before plugging it in, otherwise it simply says that the folder is empty. We have been able to retrieve all of these images now, but some of them only by emailing them from the phone to the computer! Not-so-curiously, there are plans to replace the Doro, despite being only two months in service!