Friday, 28 October 2016

THE BEGINNING



Since 1970 I have had a dream of building the Norwegian narrow gauge line Urskog Hølandsbanen in model. 


In 1970 I had some experience with modelling in H0e and I had built a scale model of the Bridge of the River Kwai (from the movie).


I had discovered code 40 rail on a trip to London and found it was correct for 9mm narrow gauge. But I did not at the time know that there had been a tiny narrow gauge railway only an hour drive from where I live (Oslo).

I dicovered the 750mm gauge railwayline Urskog Hoelandsbanen in 1970. At the time it had been closed for 10 years, but some enthousiasts had started a society to save some of it as a preserved railway. Today it is a popular museum with steam trains running in the summer. Five of the seven locos are intact and three of them are in working condition

LINK TO THE PRESERVED RAILWAYS HOMEPAGE 

LINK TO FORVALTNINGSPLAN FOR URSKOG HOELANDSBANEN 

(See further links at the bottom of this page. Contains a lot of info for modellers of the line. Also a map of the entire railway line and air photos of the entire line in sections (after abandonement)

In the early 1970-ties I did several excursions to the line in company with friends and photographed and made sketches of some of the railway buildings still standing. I was especially imposed at the station Finstadbru up the line. It had close to it several sawmills and a huge amount of sawed plank in stables. Also a huge sawdust pile. 


At Bjoerkelangen I found a very interesting coal house and water tank. 

LINK TO WATERTOWER AND COAL SHED AT BJOERKELANGEN 

Also the stationbuilding was intact. There were traces of a siding crossing the nearby river to reach a sawmill. The locoshed I found about 1000 m up the line just before the line enters open landscape with farmland

LINK TO BJOERKELANGEN AIR PHOTO 1953 

The Air photo also show two other small sawmills. One is reached by a siding branching out from the mainline near the coalshed. The other further up the line to the upper right in the air photo

In 1972  I  made a model in H0 (1:87) of the station building at Finstadbru. 


 
LINK TO FINSTADBRU STATION AND GROCERY BUILDING

Then I did some work on the coal shed at Bjørkelangen. 

 

Then it stopped. No locos, no wagons, no nothing  was avalable and along came N scale---

LINK TO RENA1900 

So, in 1995 a young man, Hans Henrik Riddervold,  announced four of the locos and many different wagons as precise scale models in H0e. All made by Ajin in Korea.


This boosted my interest for UHB again, and I bought some of the models to start  with. I took contact with Hans Henrik and suggested a loosely organised module/section group aiming to recreate parts of the UHB line in H0e.
He liked the idea and we found a few more modellers interested.
I designed a module /section concept and we started building of the first three sections of the station Finstadbru. Knut Tore Tronrud helped with carpentry of the first section, Stein Ragnar Pünther made a model of the building next to the stationbuilding at Finstadbru and batches of resinmodels of small buildings along the line.

 
LINK TO FINSTADBRU STATION AND GROCERY BUILDING

 



and Christer Ritterberg helped with producing piles of sawed planks----


 

while I made a model of the water tower at Finstadbru

 

We took it to a few exhibitilons in and around Oslo, last time in 2000. 
Then life took us in other directions until  Hans Henrik in 2006 announced a big sale of all the remainig models. 

 Crister and I and many others grabbed the opportunity to complete our collection.  Hans Henrik could concentrate on his other model enterprice:

AMERICAN Z-LINE 

In the meantime Christer had been involved in a group of modellers in the Oslo region namely the "Skaarerbanens venner".  

LINK TO BLOG SKAARERBANENS VENNER 

The group models Skaarerbanen, a frelance Norwegian branchline, as part of Fremo Norway. FREMO is an international european module group.  

 LINK TO FREMO NORGE

He saw the potential in adding a narrow gauge line based on UHB and built a combination station loosely based on Bingsfoss at UHB. Here standard gauge Skaarerbanen meet narrow gauge. He named it Blingsfoss. Then he started adding modules and soon he had a modul based on Killingmo, a small station up the line. 

Christers H0e station based on Killingmo UHB. Picture borrowed from Skaarerbanens venners blog 2011


I was impressed with his work and when he asked me to join Fremo with Finstadbru I could not resist. At that time (2014) the rail at the Finstadbru sections were in bad condition, 

 

but I managed to repair it. I then rewired it to DCC digital control.
 


 To link Finstadbru with Fremo, I built a transition module. 





At the big Fremo meeting in Arendal in march 2016 we operated an about 10m  long H0e branch. To make this lenght we also had two neutral modules built by the young fellow FREMO member Magne Lundgaard.