Culture & History
Maybe there’s something inside us that makes us feel the importance of the arrival of the railway – something passed down from the generations that experienced this revolution. Being gently rocked in a railcar can be nostalgia squared.
A narrow gauge railway through Småland
The narrow gauge railway Växjö-Västervik was once a lifeline from inland Småland to the sea. It really consisted of two railways – Westervik-Hultsfred railway, which was opened back in 1879 by Oscar II, and the Växjö-Åseda-Hultsfred railway, which was built in stages. They finally met in Hultsfred in 1922. Steam engines operated on the northern part until the 50s but were soon replaced by nippy orange railcars. Passenger traffic operated the whole route – almost 190 km – up until 1984.
Narrow gauge enthusiasts
SJ closed down the passenger and goods services in 1986 in the face of vociferous protests. After strong involvement, a new company was formed that bought the railway from SJ with the station building and everything – VHVJ, which stood for Växjö-Hultsfred-Västerviks Järnvägs AB, was born. The aim was to operate regular and tourist services. After many trips back and forth and bankruptcy, the railway was split again, but 122 km remain.
The Hultsfred-Västervik stretch from 1879 is Sweden’s first listed railway. It winds its way through beautiful nature, taking passengers in the small railcars very close to nature. Today, there are summer tours by steam train on the Västervik-Ankarsrum stretch and by railcar on the Västervik-Hultsfred stretch. Click here for more information and timetable, Tjustbygdens Järnvägsförening.
In the south, the track on the Växjö-Åseda stretch was pulled up. But here too, a non-profit association now operates the Åseda-Virserum stretch with railcars in the summer. It also manages the inspection trolley hire along the narrow gauge track. You can also hire your own restaurant carriage if you want to hold a nostalgia party. For contact details, see Föreningen Smalspåret. Website in Swedish
Train nostalgia in Strömsnäsbruk and Nässjö
In Strömsnäsbruk, a small part of the Skåne-Smålands Järnvägar remains. The stretch Kärreberga-Markaryd-Strömsnäsbruk was completed in 1899. The association now runs services under the same name with railcars, passenger coaches and engines on the Strömsnäsbruk-Markaryd stretch. The main station and engine sheds have been preserved in Strömsnäsbruk. These include railway vehicles as well as buildings. Here you can also hire cycle trolleys, and there’s a picnic area along the way.
Find contact details here.
Nässjö – a railway junction now and then
Nässjö is a traditional railway junction on the southern main line, and there is also a museum. Nässjö Railway Museum was one of the first museum associations in Sweden granted an operating licence from the railway inspection authority. Hire an engine and travel to the end of the line. You can hire a steam or electric engine with old-fashioned carriages from the good old days. Private tours are also arranged.
Find contact details here.
By steam train on Ohsabanan
Take a tour on one of Sweden’s narrowest railways with a track width of 600 mm. It was built in 1902 as an industry track to Bor to connect to the newly built Alvesta-Borås railway. The traffic continued up until 1967, as the roads in the area were bad. The whole stretch of 15 km is preserved. The association now operates steam engines on the track. The Santa train is particularly popular and runs around Advent.