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Operation “Sverigepilen” has begun. Despite the desire to get the new railway built as quickly as possible (to combat the withdrawal symptoms), an effort is being made instead to build a smaller ‘portable’ railway first, whilst the best options for the permanent layout are considered. If we are able to continue to divide the railway scenically, so that it can represent the north, central and south areas, then the ‘FLMJ’ title will remain. If not, then a new name will be sought. The temporary layout, however, could have a name to represent a remoter area of Uppland (our new location, until a more permanent home can be found)! But, there is also the settling in to be done (and new employment to be found), so progress will be very slow to start with. (Remember, the KRBJ wasn’t started until a year after moving into the old UK address.)
Work continued on T21 64 repairs, and this has become a very big undertaking. In fact, in dialogue with a Swedish railway modeller, it was declared that if we succeed in getting the loco into full working order, it will probably be unique! With no layout, presently, there doesn’t seem to be much urgency to complete the repairs, but this loco is desired for the earliest works trains when we do start building…!
- Brass strips have been added to the steps to strengthen them! The strips are ‘L’ section and fitted to the fronts because the backs are partially angled. A supporting piece going across the bottom joins the two uprights and supports the bottom-most step. Also, using brass strip, a plastic bottom-step has been replaced with a new stronger one. This one went together much more easily than the original Heljan designed ones! Painted dark grey, they can now be seen!
- Completely new handrails have been made from thicker material than supplied with the model. There are two types for the steps, four of each, and these will be fitted once we are satisfied that the rebuilding of the steps has been successful. The few other handrails are also being replaced with the thicker material.
- Larger ‘L’ section plastic has been glued on behind the fuel tanks and some other under-chassis components to prevent them from being knocked off when the loco is handled. We didn’t need to grind these down to stop them being hit by the coupling rods; they are perfectly at the right depth!
- The cause of the motor not turning when the two halves of the chassis were put together was found to be the shaft-mounted gear, which protruded a little too much and was being compressed by the top half of the chassis. This is a very solidly fitted gear and no attempts to move it or remove it were successful; so it was filed down, instead, as well as a little off the chassis. The inside of the chassis has been painted black so that if there is still a problem, we will see it on the scuffed paint!
- Cabling between the top half of the chassis and the motor, and between the top half of the chassis and the pick-up contacts is very flimsy and unreliable. Being directly soldered in place, it is not possible to fully take apart the chassis; however, we pulled these apart so that we could work on the model, and then we will re-solder them as the job comes to a close.
An abandoned project has been resurrected; that of the construction of T45 328. We were thinking of selling this kit, but we would much rather bring it into service. There were only five of these ASEA diesel locomotives, leased to SJ for evaluation, but they did not lead to further orders.
- An evaluation exercise found that only the copper contact strip was missing, but this is easily replaced. The kit was supplied without motor, gears or wheels, and we are under the impression that the recommended ‘running kit’ is no longer produced. We may have a contact in Sweden who can provide one, or we’ll have to go the ‘extra mile’ (or should that now be kilometre) and fabricate something!
- There are some jobs that can be done ahead of fitting the running gear. These included fitting the buffers and the fuel tanks, and preparing the holes for the M2 screws that will hold the model together. Onto the body, the glazing has been fitted, as well as the extra plexiglass which is to be used for securing the body to the chassis. Symoba coupling type 111 is recommended, so that is what we’ll go with.
F 1207 has come into the workshop for evaluation, to see, first, if it has the same type of motor as the T21, being a Heljan model (albeit steam outline), and then to see how well it runs whilst out of the model. This loco runs very well once it has got going, even slowing down to a crawl, but it doesn’t start from rest at all well. Suggestions to the cause originally included dodgy valve-gear, bad connection somewhere in the drive train, or weak magnet in the motor. During the first test, we were unable to remove the motor without breaking cables, so that has stayed where it is; but we can see that it is not the same as in their T21 diesel! We did find, however, a DCC decoder in the tender, and this could be the cause of all the running problems—similarly fitted ‘guests’ to the FLMJ have always been problematic, so when the work resumes during October, this decoder will be removed and any ‘bridging’ pieces fitted in its place!
After a very long wait, Y1 1308 and YF1 1331 arrived from NMJ. These are truly beautiful models and represent these Italian designed railbuses in original condition; without the air intake units on the sides, and of course, in SJ orange livery. If a third unit is to arrive here, it will be with the intakes, because that was an early modification, and everyone involved with the FLMJ has no memory of them without!
From one extreme to another; the almost oldest railbus type is the Hilding Carlsson Yd, and a Perlmodell model of one (with UF2 trailer) has been acquired. Bus and trailer are without numbers presently, but looking at Byggsvenskt’s website, we are intending to go for Yd 343 and UF2 1574. (The UF2 is the same as the UF6, but not modified!)
We also acquired, quite a long time ago, a couple of ‘Yd’ railbus kits in almost scrap condition! One is in Hilding Carlsson cream, and the other in HNJ red. But, we found that the models are actually of the Yp railbus (for narrow-gauge), of which only three were ever built. We have found a new home for the HNJ one with a friend, but the HC one could be rebuilt to H0n3 gauge for a later FLMJ diversion!
- The HNJ one has been stripped back to bare metal and the new owner is certainly hard at work making a decent model of it. A new test-chassis has been 3D printed, and as this is experimented with, it is likely that a more robust version will follow.
- Our model fell apart as we started to work on it and we found that instead of being assembled with glue or modellers’ putty, it was held together with Blu-tack! This all needed cleaning off, and the badly cut glazing pieces (which left gaping great holes) have been thrown away. New glazing will eventually be provided with Micro-clear compound. The roof was the biggest surprise, it is made of balsa-wood! The worst of the excess material was cleaned off, and we still have a roof to refit when the model gets to that stage. The model has been glued back together so that we could see where modelling putty needs to be applied, and it seems that the roof is going to be the biggest area for this—we may even consider building a new one!
- Holes were drilled through the headlamp mouldings so that we can retrofit working lights. The hole is small enough for a tiny LED, but the headlamp is bigger, so it has been drilled rather like a counter-sink, and a lens cam be placed over the LED to give the effect of a bigger lamp. But we need to sort out a motor, chassis and wheels, and other electrics before any of that happens.
- The model will certainly need repainting, but we declined to remove the existing paint until a can of the correct colour has arrived (we’d need to order it especially; the Stockholm Model Railway Club has had the colour produced), just in case we end up having to colour-match because the colour is out of stock! We already have the correct number transfers; it is only the green lining that might end up being hand-applied!
- There used to be in stock at the old FLMJ, some H0e models for an eventual narrow-gauge extension, which never got built. The models were sold off when it was decided that H0 in the garden was difficult enough without going any smaller! At 9mm gauge, H0e would be too small to represent the 891mm gauge, and too large to represent the popular tourist gauge of 600mm. Therefore, H0n3 has been desired (at 10.5mm) to represent the 891mm gauge. Moving the new railway indoors might see the possibility of such an extension.
We are pleased to have been able to help some of our friends acquire Swedish models. A standard Y7 from Jeco needed sorting because of a conflict between the English and Swedish banking systems; but also, two rare X10 units were procured! These models had been owned by SJ (despite being in SL livery) and were used on a demonstration layout at the ‘Tågetsdag’ event every summer for a few years, several years ago. They were well worn out, but had been renovated and offered for sale. Like the FLMJ’s X10, they have the terrible Tenshodo motor bogie, but Byggsvenskt produces a motorised chassis kit for these units, and this was recommended by the seller; so the FLMJ unit could be upgraded at the same time! The second FLMJ unit will remain without a motor so that it can run as a double whenever necessary.
We have recently been saddened to learn of the passing of friend, Richard Stokes. Whilst Richard had no direct involvement with the FLMJ, his profession as a Railway Signalling Engineer combined with his hobby interest at the Great Cockcrow Railway, led to much of the inspiration for Adrian to create the plans for the authentic signalling proposed for the FLMJ (as well as several other projects). Through Richard’s friendship and guidance, the proposed signalling was based on absolute authenticity and not merely for decoration, which many other layouts have succumbed to. This influence was about to be realised upon the former FLMJ (all materials had recently been purchased) when the sudden closure had to be implemented instead. It was hoped that Richard would see the results of his kindness in the near future on the new layout. Richard died in September after a short illness, aged 78.
Aside from his influence upon the FLMJ, Richard’s railway history is a story worth telling. Richard’s background was as an S&T engineer. He worked on the Hixon level crossing crash inquiry in 1968, and was Assistant S&T Engineer at Liverpool Street and the New Works Manager on the SW Division, where he was instrumental in resignalling Brockenhurst signalbox whilst still maintaining a near normal service. Richard subsequently went to the LM region before joining Eurostar, where he went on to become the Production Manager on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
He was one of the first senior BR managers to help start up European Passenger Services. He helped plan and develop the new Eurostar trains and service patterns through the Channel Tunnel to Paris and Brussels. He used his extensive contacts in SNCF, TML and SNCB to build strong relationships with counterparts across the channel, and helped to bring together the teams needed to design the new fleet of trains and create joint technical standards for that project.
After his retirement from CTRL in 2006, Richard worked on a number of projects including at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, and working with the European Cab Design Group to establish a standard cab design for all new trains throughout Europe. For many years Richard’s hobby was developing the signalling system used on the Great Cockcrow Railway near Chertsey, which is where he and Adrian met.