The International Steam Pages

Behind the Scenes at the Hamar Railway Museum, Norway

James Waite follows up on his original 'Hamar Railway Museum report

In July 2010, I took up an invitation from Roar Stenersen, the director of engineering at Hamar museum, to have a look at its various behind-the-scenes collections. I got up at 3.30 (ugh!), drove to Stansted airport for the flight with Ryanair and arrived at Torp airport, about 110 km south of Oslo on the west side of the Oslo fjord, at 9.15, well ahead of time thanks to their more than punctual operation! There's normally a through express train service between Torp and Hamar though in July the line was closed between Drammen and Oslo Sentral for engineering work and so this leg of the journey was by bus. I arrived at Hamar station at 13.00 and Roar met me there.

Our first port of call was at a shed about 1km east of the station which contained no. 2770, the Kriegslok in the first two of these pics. The German army left more than 70 of these locos behind in Norway at the end of WW2 and they formed a large part of the country's loco stock until the end of steam in the early 70's - so much so that Norway was one of the few European countries which didn't need to build any new steam locos at all after the war. No. 2770 is the only survivor in Norway (there is another at Bressingham in the UK) and is supposed basically to be in working order. However there are no plans to run it again in the foreseeable future.

The same shed also contains no. 3.629, one of the GM-NOHAB diesels like the ones donated by the NSB to the Kosovo railways. This one was operated by Ofotbanen, one of the country's open-access operators with which the museum shared the use of the shed but unfortunately it ceased operations a few months ago.

The next few photos show 750mm gauge 0-6-0T "Urskog" (Hartmann 2102/1895) running in the museum grounds. The loco comes from the Tertitten line running south from Soderstrom, east of Oslo, a short portion of which is preserved. The leading coach also comes from the Tertitten line and the other two very pretty varnished wood coaches come from a long-closed line near Bergen. As you can see I was treated to a footplate ride on one of the runs. The loco was given a heavy overhaul last winter at the Speno works in the east of the town. Their main business is overhauling the country's tamping machines. Speno provided the staff and engineering facilities and the museum oversaw and directed the work. It's the first time the loco has received a heavy overhaul since 1931! She used to have a peculiar device which shot a flame from an external oil fired contraption into the firbox. The firebox has now been completely redesigned to facilitate firing with agricultural bio-pellets and I guess that the loco's now as carbon neutral as any steam loco can be!

The next few photos are of "Caroline", the 1861-built Robert Stephenson 2-4-0 and her train in her shed. She still runs on the main line out of Hamar a few days each year along with a train of contemporary stock, a mixture of 4-wheeled and bogie coaches, all beautifully restored as you can see. Most of them are third class with bare wooden seats but there's one 2nd class coach with the dark red plush seating. Roar very kindly had the loco pulled outside for some more photos. There's also a photo of an old wooden coach bogie which is from a bogie coach in the final stages of restoration in the museum's workshop. Norway was one of the first countries to use bogie coaches and this is one of the earliest ones.

The final group of photos are in the old Hamar roundhouse which the museum used to share with the Ofotbanen. The large wooden bogie carriage is Norway's royal saloon and the locos include no. 1 from the Rjukanbanen (as in "The Heroes of Telemark") built in 1911 and the country's oldest high-voltage electric loco), two elderly ex-NSB electric locos and two more of the 3 class GM-NOHAB's.

We stopped for a coffee at Hamar station (an Art Nouveau building dating from 1895 which would stand comparison with anything in central Riga) before I caught the 17.00 train back to Oslo and then a fast train on the Gothenburg line as far as Rygge airport. Got back home around midnight.

Rob Dickinson