After several suggestions on the subject, AJK organised a trip to Sweden for the members. Previously this had been done in 1997, but after the initial interest, there were only two members taking part! This year, the interest was greater, but the result was two members again – but with a third joining for the last few days in the Stockholm area.
The Round Trip.
After arriving in Sweden on July 12th, we went to Kristineberg Hotel (recommended). Travel was by the A-Train from Arlanda airport and by T-bana from T-Centralen. It was on the 13th, that the itinerary really began. This day’s activity was a trip on the Lennakatten (Upsala – Lenna Jernväg). Our trip took us only as far as Marielund, but we did have the delights of steam traction. The starting point for this railway is at Upsala Östra – directly adjacent to Uppsala Central, the SJ station. Our onward journey to Gävle was in a new Blue-X train. Accommodation at Gävle was at Hotel Gävle (recommended).
On the 14th, we visited the Railway Museum at Gävle. The history of the Swedish railways is presented here in chronological order. Outside, there is a 184mm gauge miniature railway, but this is not at all suited for adults – it is a very tight squeeze to get seated! We were fortunate to be invited to have a look at the H0 scale model railway downstairs – not normally open to the public. There is a large shop here, selling all sorts of railway related items.
Monday 15th was a day for travel. We took a new ‘Regina’ train from Gävle to Örebro and then a standard InterCity train (‘Rc’ locomotive and coaches) to Göteborg (Gothenburg). Whilst waiting at Örebro, an ‘Ra’ locomotive with ‘Mätvagn’ rushed through the station – a challenge for the photographers amongst us! Accommodation was at Hotel Flora; cheap but not particularly nice, though the staff were quite informative and helpful. The Tuesday was a day to relax – a day to take a break from the railway subject – though the many rides on the trams at Göteborg make the success of that intention questionable! Further, did we really relax? We spent most of the day at the Liseberg Amusement Park – and went on all but three of the rides!
On the 17th, we were back on the train, this time a Danish X31K (Swedish definition) to take us to Ängelholm. This train had an indicator board inside the coaches, announcing destination, time, calling points and so on. However, we noticed that this information was in Danish, not Swedish. By the time we reached Halmstad, the information changed to Swedish! (We can only assume that by the time it reached Denmark, it was probably in Lapp or something similar!) Having arrived at Ängelholm, we spent the afternoon at Banmuseet – a museum about the industrial and technical history of the Swedish railways. A film show is presented in an assortment of languages, and is very informative – and the LGB scale trains on the layout below the screen appear in a sequence to support the film! Accommodation was at Hotel Lilton (recommended) quite near the railway station and museum.
The 18th was another day of travel. We started with a bus journey to Åstorp, and from there, our ‘Y2’ train was replaced with a purple-and-silver ‘X11’ set! We were in the leading coach of the X2000 from Hässleholm – somewhat uncomfortable when the train started from rest. It was as if the power car (at the back) was loose-coupled to the train and we felt the train surging as it pulled away! We met our third member at Centralstation and spent the rest of the afternoon looking at the Tvärbanan (the new tramway running from Gullmarsplan to Alvik) and the Nockebybanan (an older route from Alvik to Nockeby). Accommodation for the rest of the stay was at a guesthouse at Spånga, booked through “Stockholm Guesthouses” (Recommended).
Days in Stockholm.
On the 19th, we went to the Spårvägsmuseet (the museum of Stockholm’s transport). It’s not just the T-bana here; there is quite a history about the buses, trams and trolley-buses also. There is also a 184mm gauge miniature railway with the rails set into the floor, served by a typical T-bana model. The shop is well stocked and is a haven for related books – as one of our members discovered! From there, we went to Stockholm’s main model railway shop, MJ-Hobby Experten. Operated in conjunction with the Swedish firm, Jeco, there is an emphasis on the more expensive models here, but nevertheless, a little shopping did get done! We decided to spend the rest of the day in Drottninggatan and in Gamla Stan (for non-railway activities and purchases), but although we did this, the weather didn’t approve – this was our only day of rain! To get into the dry, we spent the evening riding on the Saltsjöbanan and Lidingöbanan trains / trams. The only route that we didn’t ride on was the Roslagsbanan – but this one isn’t threatened with a major overhaul, new trains, a possible take-over by another service and so on!
On the 20th, we took the Steamboat, “Mariefred” to Mariefred from Stockholm. This takes 3 ½ hours, and being a cloudy day – and quite cold – it wasn’t enjoyed as much as we had hoped. Nevertheless, our arrival at Mariefred was met with a narrow-gauge train from the Östra Södermanlands Järnväg. We travelled only as far as the main station at Mariefred. Once there, we had a look at the museum before venturing into town to get some lunch – and being such a beautiful town, we just had to spend some time looking around! We took the narrow-gauge (600mm) steam train to Läggesta, and then paid the extra for a return trip to Taxinge on this recently acquired standard gauge route in a ‘Y6’ railbus. Return to Stockholm was in a standard ‘Rc’-hauled InterRegio service. We spent the evening at the top of Kaknästornet (Sweden’s Tallest building – a TV tower), where we also had dinner.
The tour was rounded off on Sunday 21st. By special arrangement, we were taken around Stockholm’s main railway depot at Hagalund. Our guide spoke excellent English and it was a nice climax to the tour.
Our return to Arlanda was swift, but whoever designed ‘Pier F’ at the airport needs a check up from the neck up! There is a great distance to walk (and one ‘officer’ was quite proud of the new similarity with Heathrow) and for incoming travellers, the walk includes changing floor levels at least five times – just between two floors!
Back in the UK, we had a very long wait for our baggage, then the bus driver (for those of us on route to Woking) didn’t apply the brakes until the last moment! At Woking, most of the information boards were out of order – yes those new ones recently installed – and the clock times were at most 30 minutes apart! The trains were running late (due to a late running service three weeks previously – or something like that) and there was a sense of being reminded why AJK is about Swedish railways, not British!
SWEDEN 2002 was an enjoyable visit, and already we are having thoughts about our next club trip – probably in 2005. Hopefully more members will be able to join the trip. It was very hard work organising it all, and there were a few minor slips along the way; but on the whole, it all went OK. Adrian had a voucher for use on the T-bana (which he had acquired as a result of SL’s incompetence last year), and although this was presented – and honoured – the staff at the ticket office can only be described as having a belligerent attitude toward tourists! Handle with care!
|Vintage trams at Göteborg||www.ringlinien.org|
|Östra Södermanlands Järnväg||www.oslj.nu|
|Liseberg Amusement Park||www.liseberg.se|
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