The International Steam Pages

Steam Survivors in Northern Sweden, July 2016

James Waite writes about another last minute trip to Northern Sweden.

The bruksmuseum (ironworks museum) at Langshyttan

This is 0-6-0T no. 2 "Kloster" (Nohab 303/1890) of the 891mm gauge Byhalla-Langshyttans Jarnvag, preserved at the bruksmuseum (ironworks museum) at Langshyttan. This was one of the last surviving 891mm gauge steam lines when it closed in the early 1970's and much of its equipment has survived. Many of the wagons plus 0-6-0T no. 8 are at the Jadraas-Tallas line while 0-6-0T no. 4 and 2-8-0 no. 5 are on the Uppsala-Faringe line and no. 6 on the Anten-Grafsnas one. This is the only one still at its old home and seems to have survived there because it was named after the Kloster ironworks business in the town which had provided the main reason for the railway's existence. The manager of the Byhalla-Langshyttans Jarnvag was an enthusiast and tried to preserve a stretch of it. In the end the scheme didn't get off the ground, mainly because the line was a long way from any large centre of population.

The bruksmuseum at Iggesund

Here are three views of Iggesund Bruks 762mm gauge 0-4-2T no 2 (later 1) (Nohab 72/1876) at the bruksmuseum at Iggesund. This ironworks was originally intended for closure during the 1910's but kept going because of WW1. It was then again about to close in the early 1940's but won another reprieve because of WW2. It eventually closed in the 1950's and has functioned as a museum, theatre and concert hall since then.

Below are first a steam hammer, built by Thwaites ( and then the water powered hammer which it was supposed to have replaced but which was never scrapped.

The Galtstroms Bruks museum near Sundsvall

The next pictures are all at the Galtstroms Bruks museum near Sundsvall, about 400km north of Stockholm. The locomotive is 891mm gauge 0-6-0T "Loke" (Kristinehamn 45/1887) built new for the line which had previously consisted of a horse tramway about 800 metres long from the ironworks to a small port. The port was unsuitable for larger ships and a line about 4km long was built over a headland to a deeper anchorage to the north. The line closed in about 1932. For its entire life "Loke" was the only locomotive and it only ever had one driver who maintained it in scrupulously good condition. After the line closed he took steps to preserve the loco, initially by dismantling the line leading to the locoshed so that the locomotive couldn't easily be used by the scrap men hired to lift the rest of the railway and thereafter keeping the key and making occasional surreptitious visits to keep the locomotive in good order. In 1955 the museum there was set up and the locomotive became an exhibit. A small preservation society began the overhaul of the locomotive to working order with financial backing from the steelworks company which included a new boiler and some steel platework but otherwise the locomotive is in original condition with all its original parts.

The railway has only about 25 active volunteer members but during the 17 years since the overhaul was completed they have relaid 3km of line on the old route and are working on the remainder. Currently passengers ride on three of the old wagons fitted with benches but the society is building three proper coaches whose bodies are now mostly complete. Their design is based on the smallest coaches on the Jadraas line. The railway runs on Sunday afternoons from late June until the second Sunday in August and on Wednesday evenings in July, the best source of current operational information is their Facebook page.

They are casting envious eyes on "Kloster" which was owned by the same company as the Galtstrom ironworks. If they can obtain it they plan to relay the old line to Galtstrom harbour and run two trains, one with just the old wagons and the other with the new coaches. The bridge over the creek is based on the old design which used a central pier, though now it's in reality a long steel joist and the woodwork is just for show.

The people there were really hospitable and towards the end of the evening treated me to a footplate ride before the locomotive retired to its shed, still the original one). It was a long way to go but well worth the journey.

Nearby at the port, restoration of a steamship, named Ophelia, is being done by a separate society from the railway although quite a lot of the individuals concerned are involved in both.

JdrasTalls Jrnvg

I stopped at a hotel near Sundsvall for the night and next morning I headed south, calling in at various places on the way starting at the locoshed at Jadraas on the 891mm gauge Jadraas-Tallas line. It was the first time I've been there since attending a gala day back in 2006 (see the report). This wasn't a running day but happily there were people working there who welcomed me in. Jadraas was the operating headquarters of the old DONJ and nearly all its old buildings have survived. It's a very atmospheric place. I haven't included most of this time's pictures as they wre all taken indoors, but this converted Austin car was not included last time, it was a DONJ inspection vehicle.

Gavle Railway Musuem

I went on to Gavle museum where I met up with Robert Herpai, the archivist here who kindly took me first to the old Uppsala-Gavle locoshed on the museum site which now functions as a store for most of the museum's narrow gauge stock. Another store is in the north west of Gavle and it has been opened to museum visitors this summer, with a railbus running every hour between the museum and the store, stopping at Gavle central station along the way. However, large parts of the store are fenced off.

(I have omitted some of the pictures taken here as they would duplicate those taken by Neil Edwards in 2015 and included in his report on "Celebrating 100 years of the Swedish Railway Museum".RD )

This is 2-4-0T "Rimbo" (Nohab 195/1884) in one of the storage buildings, one of four of these small locomotives built for the opening of the 891mm gauge Stockholm-Roslagen Jarnvag, part of which is now an electrified suburban railway serving the district to the north east of Stockholm. The preserved Uppsala-Faringe line is also a part of the old SRJ.

This is SJ 1067mm (3ft 6in) gauge 2-6-0 no. 4013 (Nohab 836/1907). There was quite a large 1067mm gauge system which served the south east of Sweden with a main line along the south coast. Lots of steam locos ran on it until the 1960's when most of it was converted to standard gauge or closed. This is one of only two survivors, and visiting it was the main reason for going to Gavle. Like "Rimbo" it lives in the old Uppsala-Gavle roundhouse, now used as a store by the museum. (There is one other cape gauge steam locomotive in the country which James visited in 2017.)

The three Beyer Peacock locos on display at the museum. Nearest is 0-6-0 no. 27 (BP 1933/1880. In the middle is 0-4-2ST no. 22 "Thor" (BP 239/1861). On the left is 2-4-0 no. 43 "Prins August" (BP 33/1856) which I guess may well be the oldest surviving BP loco.

0-6-0 no. 390 is Nohab 300/1890.

This is 0-6-0 no. 93 (BP 809/1867).

Back at the museum proper this is 1101mm gauge 0-6-0T "Fryckstad" (Munktells 2/1855), the oldest surviving Swedish-built locomotive and, I should think, one of the oldest narrow gauge locomotives anywhere.

Other Plinthed Locomotives

Moving on, at Bergvik this standard gauge locomotive is Nohab 906/1908, no. 3 "Tyr" of the Marma-Sandarne Jarnvag.

You perhaps need to be a Great Western enthusiast to appreciate the rail on which the Bergvik locomotive stands - it's identical to Brunel's bridge rail with which most of its old broad gauge system was laid. I wonder what it is doing in Sweden!

0-4-0ST "Styrbjorn" from the Sandviken ironworks, at Hogbo about 20km west of Gavle, is Black Hawthorn 966/1890.

the Uppsala-Faringe line

Finally I called in at the eastern end of the Uppsala-Faringe line, the eastern end of which is less than 30 minutes drive from Stockholm airport. This is the SRJ's 2-6-2 no. 28 (Henschel 17607/1920) which boasted the largest diameter driving wheels anywhere on the 891mm gauge and was used on the expresses out from Stockholm. It's now in store at Faringe. It will need a new boiler before it can run again.

The train was being worked by BLJ no. 5, another "Thor" with the first two coaches being ex-SRJ ones. The SRJ had a similar locomotive so from a distance this could be an authentic SRJ train. This isn't an easy line to photograph in the evening as it runs mostly east-west with the locomotive facing east, but for a short distance near Faringe it turns to head north, and this is also the only hilly part, the remainder being more or less flat.

I was pretty pleased with these results from my 36 hours in the country!

Rob Dickinson