The International Steam Pages

Preserved Steam Railways in Sweden, July 2012

Chris Yapp reports, there are links to James Waite's visits to the narrow gauge lines on the European Narrow Gauge Railways page.

This report covers visits to five heritage steam railways in Sweden made in the five days from 18th to 22nd July. The weather in Sweden was not much different to that in England – not a lot of sun, mostly cloudy and spells of heavy rain, fortunately mostly in early morning and late afternoon.

Östra Södermanlands Järnväg - Wednesday 18th July

The 600mm gauge East Sodermanland Railway is situated about 42 miles (66 kilometres) to the west of Stockholm. The journey from Stockholm Arlanda Airport is about 24 miles (40 kilometres) further. The line runs from Mariefred where the depot and workshops are located for a distance of 3.2 kilometres west to Laggesta Nedre near to a station on the main line from Stockholm and Sodertalje to Orebro. An extension from Laggesta westwards on the south side of the estuary to Taxinge-Nasby opened at the end of May 2011 and increased the length of the line to 11.0 kilometres. Like many other heritage lines in Sweden, much of the extension to Taxinge-Nasby runs through woodland making lineside photography challenging.

In the high season from mid-June to mid-August the railway operates a two train service at weekends and on Wednesdays with four through services from Mariefred to Taxinge-Nasby and two short workings that terminate at Laggesta. On other days of the week only one locomotive is steamed to operate four or five round trips to Laggesta with no service to Taxinge-Nasby on three of the four days.

Trains to and from Taxinge-Nasby have to reverse at Laggesta where the track layout necessitates some interesting manoeuvres when trains are timed to cross there. All three platform roads have direct access to the Mariefred line, but trains to and from Taxinge-Nasby can only use platform 1. The result is that either the train from Taxinge-Nasby runs through platform 1 and reverses into platform 3 before running around or the train from to Taxinge-Nasby propels west from platform 1 and runs forward through platform 3.

On Wednesday 18th July, the two locomotives working the service were No. 4 'K.M. Nelsson' Motala 520 2-6-2T and No. 8 'Emsfors' Hartmann 4290 0-8-0T (a Heeresfeldbahn). No. 4 shunted the empty stock for both trains into position and then worked the second and fourth round trips to Taxinge-Nasby. No. 8 worked the other two trips to Taxinge-Nasby and the two short workings to Laggesta.

The majority of trains operated smokebox first from Laggesta to both Mariefred and Taxinge-Nasby. No. 8 was turned at Mariefred to face the opposite way for only one round trip to Laggesta. There were two more locos inside the running shed - No. 3 'Dylta' OK 7443 0-4-2T and Mallet No. 5 'Hamra' OK930 0-4-4-0T.

4 K.M. Nelsson 2-6-2T near Taxinge-Nasby

8 Emsfors near Mariefred


Anten-Gräfnäs Järnväg - Thursday 19th July

The 891mm gauge Anten-Grafsnas Railway is a little more than 40 kilometres north east of Gothenburg and runs for about 12 kilometres north-south parallel to the shore of Lake Anten. The line is heavily wooded although there is a short stretch where the line runs beside the lake. Access is limited as almost all of the lanes and tracks that lead from the main road to the railway are signed as private roads or have no entry signs.

In the short high season steam and railcar services are operated at weekends and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with steam-hauled round trips leaving Anten at 11am and 2pm. The railcars operate at lunchtime and later in the afternoon. There are turntables at both ends of the line enabling all steam services to be worked smokebox first. Passengers crowd around the turntable at Grafsnas making it a better option to photograph the locomotive being turned at Anten.

The working steam locomotive on 19th July was No. 24 NOHAB 982 4-6-0 looking rather careworn. There were four steam locomotives on display in the building that serves as a museum and the covered accommodation for the railcars. They were No. 4 A. Wilk. Petri Motala 239 0-6-0T, No. 5 Henschel 17869 2-6-2T, No. 6 Motala 566 2-8-0T and No. 35 NOHAB 2-6-0T.

I was not able to gain access to the workshop, but was told that work is continuing on No. 3 NOHAB 951 2-6-0T, a smaller locomotive that will be more economical top operate than No.24, and on No. 31, a Henschel 4-6-0. Hopefully, no. 3 will be ready for service before No. 24 needs any major work.

24 being turned at Anten

24 leaving Anten

Skara-Lundsbrunn Järnvägar - Thursday 19th July

In the high season the Skara-Lundsbrunn Railway operates steam and railcar services on Sundays and steam trains leaving Skara at 5pm and 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The line is 70-80 kilometres north east of Grafsnas and a drive of about 70-75 minutes making it possible to see the 3pm departure from Grafsnas and the 5pm service from Skara.

Normal procedure on Tuesdays and Thursdays is for the locomotive to emerge from the shed soon after 3pm and to run to the station in Skara well before the 5pm departure time. A 4.30pm arrival at Skara meant that the depot was locked and deserted. The line runs north from Skara to Lundsbrunn, a distance of about nine kilometres and the locomotive faces north. As a result, the light is best for lineside photography in the late afternoon.

The working locomotive on 19th July was no. 4 Motala 2-6-0T. The 5pm service was well-loaded but the 7pm train carried few passengers, probably because of the torrential downpour that started around 6pm and last for an hour and a half.

There are a number of level crossings where photography is possible, although the crossing bells will be an aggravation for users of video cameras. The problem in July is the height of the grass at lineside which obscures the wheels and motion for all but three-quarter front views.

Jädraås-Tallås Järnväg - Saturday 21st July

The 891mm gauge Jadraas-Tallas Railway stages an annual gala event during the third weekend in July and the 21st July was the first day of the gala weekend. The line normally operates only on Sundays possibly because it is relatively remote, being located some distance to the north west of Gavle. The normal Sunday service consists of five round trips and requires two locomotives. A much more ambitious timetable was operated for the gala event with no fewer than 13 passenger-carrying services in each direction in less than six hours.

The line runs in a north westerly direction from Jadraas to Tallas and then curves to the west to reach the terminus at Svartbacken Nedre – which means that northbound trains have the sun behind them until early afternoon. Like most other heritage railways in Sweden, the line is hemmed in by trees for much of its length making photography challenging but not impossible.

There were three locomotives in steam – the Mallet No. 12 Atlas 114 0-6-6-0, No. 4 ‘Sigbjorn’ Motala 273 0-6-0T and No. 2 ‘Korsan’ Vagn & Maskinfabriks, Falun 21 0-6-2T plus the small Atlas Works steam railcar ‘Majorn’. No. 12 worked three round trips from Jadraas to Svartbacken and No. 4 worked two; No. 2 worked two round trips between Jadraas and Tallas; and Majorn did three shuttles from Tallas to Svartbacken. In addition, three different diesels worked trips between Jadraas and Tallas.

On a normal Sunday, locomotives may be turned at both Tallas so that southbound workings are smokebox first opening up some photographic opportunities through the forest. However, the intensity of the gala timetable resulted in both tracks commonly being occupied at Tallas, limiting access to the turntable. Only No. 2 was turned for the second of its return trips.

2 at Tallas

12 at Jadraas

12 crossing the river bridge at Tallas

12 at Finkelboda

12 arriving at Svartbacken

12 crossing the river bridge at Tallas

Uppsala-Lenna Järnväg (the ‘Lennakatten’) - Sunday 22nd July

The 891mm Lennakatten runs east from the main railway station at Uppsala serving a series of small settlements including Barby, Lenna and Almunge before reaching its eastern terminus at Faringe, 33 kilometres from Uppsala. The round trip by steam takes around four hours. Faringe was once a busy junction station and is now the headquarters of the railway with a carriage shed just west of the station and a roundhouse some way further to the west along the remaining stub of one of the other lines that used to radiate from the station. Services terminated at a temporary station in Uppsala whilst the main line station was undergoing renovation, but access was restored in May of this year.

On a Sunday in the high season, the advertised timetable shows five round trips by steam and three by railcar. The first trains leave Faringe at 8:30am and 9:18am with the last steam due to return to Faringe at 6:35pm and the last railcar trip at 7:24pm. Trains cross at Marielund and sometimes at Almunge. Steam trains take water at Marielund where a small cafe seems to be busy all day. Normal practice is for steam trains to work smokebox first eastbound.

Only one steam locomotive was working on 22nd July, No. 4 ‘Langshyttan’ Motala 176 0-6-0T. During the day it worked two smokebox first trips, one from Marielund to Almunge and the other from Uppsala to Faringe. It was being worked hard and displayed a fair turn of speed for an engine built in 1897. Steam was replaced on the second diagram by 3515, a Maschinenbau Kiel 2-6-2 diesel. The third diagram was worked by a trio of railcars.

4 near Almunge

4 near Selka

Rob Dickinson