Tag Archives: Volvo 343

News from September 2022

Our News:

With the purchase of suitable materials, work continued on the T45 locomotive. A plastic block was inserted at each end under the body, at chassis level, and suitably glued, drilled and tapped, we are now able to secure the body to the chassis at the ends. This eliminates the visual effects of the slightly bowed chassis. The locomotive is now almost ready for running in. The bogie sides and bolsters (cosmetic items on a model) seem to have been put in a safe place, so they will be fitted later; but for now there is no further work to be done to this model. This does not mean it is complete, however. Not purchased all those years ago when we bought the model were things like handrails, wipers and suchlike; so we hope to acquire these in the coming months (preferably as an add-on kit, but scratch-built if not available), probably from ‘Hjulmarknaden’.

Manufacturer News:

HNoll has been hit by further problems, some with much wider knock-on effects. The 3D CAD designer at Dekas, who draws HNoll’s models, has resigned, and will not be replaced. The models that have been drawn will be manufactured, but what is on the drawing board will need to be completed, probably by another party. This means that the delivery of carriages will be further delayed indefinitely. Furthermore, prices are going up; materials, labour, freight and increased living costs in Sweden. The prices of HNoll’s models will be adjusted. The passenger carriages that are on their way (currently held in Chinese customs) will be able to keep their recommended price of 995:-. But, the B4/BF4/BF7 carriages will be adjusted to 1195:-, and there is no known delivery time!

Last month, we announced the availability of the PCX87 Volvo 343, but ours didn’t get delivered until September, so we had no picture. Here is one of two of the models: to advertise the 343 as a cheaper model than the 240 which was available at the same time, Volvo produced them in primary colours.

Other News:

The model exhibition at Kårsta, as mentioned on our website, didn’t exist! (We won’t be promoting Staffshobbyhörna again!) Their advert didn’t give a specific address for the event, so we went to the only address given on their website, Kårsta stationsväg 16, 186 60 Kårsta; which seems to be a residential property, not the venue of an event with at least 16 traders! We were not the only ones to go there. One other punter made a few phone calls (none to the organiser because no number was given) and found out about a rumour of an event near Vallentuna, not so far away; but with no address, we (and the other punters) abandoned the mission and went home! (By the time we realised that this was a spoof, the train that brought us to Kårsta had departed, and it was an hour to the next one, so the general mood was not good!)

On to a nicer item; we have discovered what seems to be a new website in Sweden, which we have linked to from this website. It shews the Swedish railway map and the location of nearly all trains in traffic, colour coded according to how well they are performing in relation to the timetable. This is useful for passengers who might be wondering where their delayed train is, and interesting for enthusiasts for all sorts of hobby related reasons. (We can now see when a goods train is about to run past our window and therefore be ready with a camera!) The unusual URL is 1409.se.

Behind the Scenes:

Mini-Series about the FLMJ, 10: Track and Infrastructure

From inception, the FLMJ used Peco Code-100 track. Code-100 refers to an imperial measurement of rail height, 100 thousandths of an inch (one-tenth is easier to read)! This is a little overscale, and Peco has subsequently created Code-75 track, which is actually a bit too small for European standard. Roco, among others, created Code-83 (which Peco also does, now), and with which the KRBJ experimented in 1992. (The KRBJ’s experiment failed because the points had inbuilt contacts that were not weather-proof!) We also had a particular liking for Code-100 because its bulkiness resisted the problems of the uneven nature of the garden-located railway, it resisted moving with the deteriorating baseboards and resisted vandalism from the local cats!

But, the way forward is different. We have no desire to build the railway outdoors again (and here in Sweden, H0 scale would not be compatible with the weather). So, we are confident about moving down to Code-83. This gives us the opportunity to investigate other brands alongside Peco, and sadly, it seems that the best producer of Code-83 was Shinohara, who closed down in 2018. We also investigated Tillig for their dual-gauge elements, but they only feature H0e (9mm) and H0m (12mm), not H0n3 (10,5mm), which would be best for representing the very Swedish gauge of 891mm. So, that brings us to Roco. Their finer-scale turnouts (points) are at 10° instead of Peco’s 12°, but curiously, not their diamond crossings which are at 15°. This was the biggest cause of hesitation with Roco, but there is an interesting consideration that the final form of the FLMJ in the UK had no diamond crossings; so we could still move forward with this brand. There is also an absence of three-way points in Roco’s range, but this does not create any major problems for us. As with Peco, everything is produced with timber profile sleepers (actually made of plastic, of course), but the long flexible panels are also available with concrete. (Tillig, whose range is very limited, also offer imitation steel sleepers!) We have four short panels for display purposes, and a point will be purchased before too long to experiment with. Peco has had to be ‘dropped’, due to the higher costs caused by Brexit from the EU (but more due to the subsequent departure from the EEA as well); and supply problems due to their difficulties in finding a way to produce materials during the Covid pandemic, which other manufacturers seemed able to do.

The FLMJ, for a few years, was fitted with a not-quite-complete catenary system. We had purchased the somewhat cumbersome Jeco variety instead of finescale Entec, due to considerations of cost (so much needed) and the ability to stand up to the cats! The system was not completed due to issues with stability and rust; but, even without the contact wire, images of the railway at this time are impressive and inspiring. Some of the catenary bridges across the station layouts had been made to our specification, in terms of track spacing; it is doubtful that we’ll be able to use them again, but this is also something that cannot be predicted. Towards the end of the double-track main line era, we received some ready-made Entec masts. These were much stronger than we had thought they might be, and so there is a fair possibility that any new layout will have a mixture of the two marques.

Next month, we’ll pay tribute to the team who made the FLMJ what it was!