The International Steam Pages

Uppsala–Länna Järnväg (ULJ)

James Waite reports:

The Uppsala–Länna Railway (ULJ) incorporates the oldest part of the Stockholm–Roslagens Järnvägar (“SRJ”), once a network of more than 300kms of railways of 891mm gauge (3 old Swedish feet) which served the Roslagen district to the northeast of Stockholm. The first part of this network, from the old university and cathedral city of Uppsala eastwards to Länna, opened in 1876. It was subsequently extended by way of junctions at Faringe and Rimbo until its lines reached the Baltic coast at Hargshamn, Hallstavik and Norrtälje as well as providing a suburban system closer to Stockholm, based upon the present Stockholm East station. The entire railway was nationalised in 1951 and amalgamated into the state SJ system in 1959. Closures began the following year and by the late 1970’s the whole network had been abandoned apart from the lines close to Stockholm which today form a busy electrified 65-km commuter system and are the only narrow gauge lines still in commercial use in Sweden. After closure the line from Uppsala as far east as Faringe was purchased by the Uppsala city council and with their help has been operated by enthusiasts as the ULJ since 1977. The line is nicknamed the “Länna-Katten” or Länna Cat, supposedly from its early days when it ran a small steam railcar that hissed and wheezed as it went!

The preserved line is 32 km long. At first it runs through the eastern suburbs of Uppsala and then enters a stretch of rolling countryside. For most of the distance between Marielund, where many trains are timetabled to cross, and Almunge the line runs alongside a series of three lakes, very pretty locations which are popular holiday and weekend destinations with excellent bathing facilities. Between Almunge and Faringe the line passes through a forest. The loco shed and main depot are at Faringe, a somewhat lonely spot today, although in the system´s heyday, from 1921 to 1950, it was a busy junction station, connecting the northern branches of the narrow gauge network with the capital. Much of the stock was locked away when I called at Faringe. Anyone wanting to see it would do well to try to arrange this is advance.

The ULJ operates during weekends in the summer months and can be easily reached via regular trains from Stockholm to Uppsala. The line terminates alongside the SJ station at Uppsala though for the past couple of years the area has been undergoing major rebuilding and ULJ trains have been operating from a temporary station some distance to the southeast.

The next series of pictures show 5 (see below) at work:

Taking water at Marielund with the 15.42 train from Almunge to Uppsala. A 1955 vintage SJ diesel railcar on the right forms the 15.40 train from Uppsala to Faringe. There are similar railcars at many of Sweden's preserved 891mm gauge railways.

At Marielund station with the 17.05 train from Uppsala to Almunge.

Approaching Almunge with the 13.30 train from Uppsala.

No. 4 “Långshyttan”

This 0-6-0T came to the ULJ from the Byvalla–Långshyttan Railway, an 891 mm gauge line about 80 km to the west of Gävle, where it ran under the same name and number. The BLJ closed in 1964 but internal shunting with steam at the Långshyttan ironworks continued until 1971. “Långshyttan” was built by Motala in 1897 and reboilered in the 1950s. Several of the BLJ´s many locos have been preserved on the steam railways of Sweden. No. 4 has a steam brake and weighs about 15 tons in working order This engine has not been fitted with an air brake system and is used for hauling the line’s “vintage train”, mainly consisting of hand braked four-wheeled vehicles.

No. 5 “Thor”

This 2-8-0 was built at Falun for the BLJ in 1909 and came to the ULJ in 1974. Five engines of this design were built by Falun, including one for the SRJ network, but “Thor” is the only survivor. Has the typical Swedish turbine spark arrester, like no. 4, and retains its original saturated boiler with 12 bar pressure. In regular use on its home line until 1964. Weight in working order about 40 tons including tender. Air brake equipment fitted upon arrival at the ULJ.

No. 16

A superheated 2-8-0T built by Nohab in 1916 for the North Östergötland Railway; ran with SJ markings 1950-60, then sold to the short Hå–Vallvik pulpwood line north of Gävle. Bought by the society in 1970. Currently being restored to working order. Weight in working order about 36 tons.

No. 28

An attractive superheated 2-6-2, one of three built new for the SRJ by Henschel in 1920. Sweden´s heaviest narrow gauge steam engine with a weight in working order of 62 tons. An impressive machine with driving wheels of 1300 mm diameter and once the racehorse of the Roslagen network. The only ex-SRJ engine saved by the SJ after steam disappeared from the Roslagen network in about 1960-62. Operated by the ULJ between 1987 and 2004. Currently stored out of use at Faringe awaiting overhaul.

No. 3132

A superheated 2-8-0 built new for the SJ narrow gauge lines in 1950. Worked the brunt of ULJ’s summer trains until 1978, when “Thor” took over. Weight in working order about 50 tons. Some 15 engines of this type were built in Sweden for both 891 mm and 1067 mm (3´6”) lines between 1916 and 1950. Currently stored awaiting restoration.

No. 11

A superheated, oil-fired 2-8-2T built in 1947 for a 802mm gauge line. Partly converted to 891mm gauge but stored for many years.

My thanks to Kurt Moller, a volunteer at the 600mm gauge line at Mariefred, for his help in writing the greater part of these notes.

Rob Dickinson