The International Steam Pages

The Gotlands Hesselby Railway, 2017

James Waite writes

Here are some photos from our trip to Gotland in July 2017. The preserved railway there is 891mm gauge, like all the islandís public railways, and started operations in 1972. Until recently it only operated for a few hundred metres out of Hesselby station but two years ago its preservation society completed an 6km extension through Tule station to Roma which used to be the Clapham Junction of Gotland as four railways, run by three different companies, met up there. The lines were nationalised and became a part of the SJ in 1947. Two of them, the Klintehamn-Roma and Slite-Roma Railways, closed in the early 50ís and were soon dismantled. The longest and oldest line, the Gotlands Railway, opened in 1878 and closed in 1960 save for a short stretch in Visby, the capital, which kept going for another two years.

This line is a part of the Slite-Roma Railway and the working locomotive and the first van in the photos also came from the Site line. The locomotive is their 2-8-0T no. 3 (Henschel 18152/1920). I think it was the only locomotive not built in Sweden to have run anywhere on the system. The blue 0-6-0T is Gotlands Railway no. 3 (Nohab 89/1877), one of the lineís first three locomotives. When new it was exhibited at the 1878 International Fair in Paris and when withdrawn in the early 1950s was bought back by Nohab and restored to its original condition. It later became an exhibit at the Gavle museum and is now on loan from them to the Hesselby society. The black 0-6-0T is Klintehamn-Roma no. 1 (Kristinehamn 59/1897). Itís also on loan from the Gavle museum. Iím not sure whether either of the 0-6-0Tís has worked in recent years - certainly the 2-8-0T is the only steam locomotive currently working. The old Gotlands Railway coach also dates from the lineís opening and is in running order though not in use on Wednesday when we were there. I couldnít make out any builders details on the portable engine. The only other steam locomotive there is a OK 0-6-0T which originated at the Limhamn cement factory near Malmo. It has worked there in the past but is currently dismantled and missing its boiler. The original station building and what I think must be the goods shed survive at Hesselby along with the original building at Tule, midway along the line.

The final photo is in a small museum in the old goods shed at Hesselby. SJ 3060 was a 4-6-0, formerly Gotlands Railway no. 12, and was the largest locomotive to run on the island. The SJ sent it to run on the mainland and scrapped it in the 1950s or 1960s. The photo under the plate shows the locomotive running alongside Visbyís mediaeval city wall which still almost completely encircles the town. Many if the buildings inside the wall are also mediaeval and itís a remarkable place - tourism there is very low-key except for the days when a cruise ship is in port, perhaps because itís not very easy to reach. 3073 was the SJ number of the 2-8-0T and underneath its plate is a photo of it as delivered. So far as I could tell it is now identical to how it looked in the photo save that it now carries an air brake pump, a great credit to the members of what I think is a small society with limited resources. I suspect the air braking was fitted at a fairly early date as there are photos of the locomotive carrying the pump in its SJ days, though I haven't found any earlier photos. There are lots of photos around of Gotlands Railwaylocomotives fitted for air braking in the years before the SJ took over.

We really enjoyed the trip. Gotland is a delightful place, though itís more or less flat and there isnít really much scenery along the railway, just trees and some clearings. I thought it was a most attractive line all the same!

2-8-0T no. 3 (Henschel 18152/1920)

Note the portable engine in the background, it's Marshall 61674/1913.

Hesselby goods shed is in the background

Th is Gotlands Railway no. 3 (Nohab 89/1877), one of the lineís first three locomotives

This is 0-6-0T is Klintehamn-Roma no. 1 (Kristinehamn 59/1897).

Gotlands Railway coach

Ready to depart from Hesselby

The original station building at Hesselby,

Typical scenery.

This is Tule, midway along the line

Arriving at Roma station.

More trees...

Inside the musuem in the Hesselby goods shed.

Rob Dickinson