Two Museum outings for Quickie and the 3003

Both the Finnish Railway Museum in Hyvinge, and the Municipal Museum of Ekenäs, a smallish town along the Hangö-Hyvinge route, have asked me to run my train on their premises this summer. The Finnish Railway Museum has a track of their own, but for the run at the Ekenäs Museum, I had to pack up my portable track, which was then transported and re-erected. Here's more than 550 kgs (1,200 lbs) of track, ready for pick-up:

Note the stack of short track pieces on the right, necessary to have available when building a sinuous loop, since it is unlikely that the tracklaying will succeed with only standard length pieces.

Since Ekenäs was (and still is) one of the important stops on the Hangö-Hyvinge route, the museum put together a 130-year anniversary exhibit about the H-H railroad, with the aid of the RR Museum, who lent them many items for exhibit, among them the 1917 model of the 3003. (I lent them an original timetable from 1901, printed on canvas.) Many local dignitairies visited the inauguration of the exhibit:

I had put up the track (almost all the 150 meters / 450 ft. of it!) onto the gravel walks of the Museum yard - again, one-way only, since the grade was well over 10% in one place. "Quickie" ran almost continuously during the days I had my track there, and managed to haul up to two 10-year-old kids all around the loop, albeit straining a bit on the up-grade. Here it is running along the exhibit hall:

Due to the grade, I could only run the 3003 solo, without extra cars (the propane car is mandatory), and no passengers. But despite that, people were very interested in the model, and especially in the steam technology, which many of the onlookers wanted me to explain in layman's terms. One of the visitors got a shot of yours truly coming up the grade, the 3003 barking loudly:

Note the buildings in the background - the very old, red house contains recreated rural abodes (using original antiques) from the 18th & 19th centuries, complete with an integral cattle shed with cows (sculpted from styrofoam, alas, but with mooing activated by infrared sensor when somebody enters - I suggested the sensor should also trigger a spray of cow odor, but my suggestion was vetoed by the museum people...) The blue house is somewhat more recent (19th century), and contains a photographer's studio from the 1940s, including a complete darkroom. A lot of familiar photographic paraphernalia is exhibited there - among them leather-covered box cameras just like my grandfather used in the 1920s, as well as more recent stuff similar to what my father and uncle used in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Finnish Railway Museum in Hyvinge had a "Tractor Day" with some 40 antique Ferguson tractors on display, and almost 1,000 visitors.

Their brand new 7-1/4" track (ballast still missing in places) was put to a real test for the first time, with two locomotives - the museum's own 1:4 scale narrow gauge diesel switcher (battery operated, elecronics fixed at last), and my 3003. The switcher is a good bit larger than the 3003. As can also be seen here, I coupled one of the museum's riding cars behind the propane car of my loco, in order to carry young passengers safely:

Note the very similar type and coloring of the buildings at this museum - typical of Scandinavia in the 18th and19th centuries. The buildings at the RR museum have all been in use as stations, living quarters and storage sheds during the early railroading era in our country.

Unfortunately, the grounds here, too, have difficult grades. Despite considerable excavation, it was still hard to get past the problematic spot shown below. I just managed it with two kids on the riding car... But, to my consolation, the switcher had the same problems - its engineer had to use some footwork every time he went around this corner:

The museum plans to do some further digging, to enable runing with a few more passengers...

Here we are at the still unbuilt "loading platform" in the "station" area:

Follow these rules!
- sit steadily in your seat
- hold on to the car
- do not run along with the train
- do not walk on the track
- for 3 to 10-year-olds only
- you travel at your own risk

(the last obviously aimed more at parents than 3-year-olds...)

There was some slight disobedience - a few kids running along the train or leaning out during the run, but all in all, the crowd was rather disciplined...
A considerable queue formed despite the slight drizzle - I ran absolutely non-stop for almost three hours, the only pauses were for filling the tender and the lubricators! I must have run at least 50 laps (I lost count early on) on the almost 400 meter (1200 ft) long track...

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