My words, thoughts and photos from a Swedish perspective

I’m a nerd!

Dear Reader,

I am now about to reveal one of my secrets: I like railways and am therefore a bit of a nerd. It all began 33 years ago when a friend of mine persuaded me to follow him to a tiny little spot on the map called Anten (about 12 km from Alingsås or about 50 km från Gothenburg) where a vintage railway society had its main premises. It didn’t take long before I was an active member of that society. I’m still a member, but I haven’t been active for years but I still go there now and then. I decided that it was time for me to hit the road and go west again; last time I set foot there was two years ago.

I’m not that kind of freak who appears in too small trousers, a worn out coat, a funny little hat, thick specs and at least one camera – all gone out of fashion decades ago and in colours that don’t go well together. Ok, I usually bring my camera but that’s where the similarities stop. Nor do I know all types and serial numbers etc by heart, even if I have managed to learn a few facts of which many are related to my work. To me, the most important thing is to show how we travelled in days gone by and what the railway meant to people in its early days. The possibility to send goods quick and easy between two places must have meant a slight revolution for many that probably opened a number of possibilities. The cities could easily get what they needed from the countryside and the other way round.

Taking a trip on a vintage railway is not only going by an antique train. We travel back in time and can see technical solutions of the past being displayed and used. For those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, all objects are telling stories about the old days.

They can tell you about life at the railway long ago. Working at the railway meant social status and a good job back then, while it’s regarded as “nothing special” today. The personnel took great pride in their work and it was more of a commitment than a job for many.  Despite the lack of modern inventions such as annual leave, scheduled rest days and working hours, minimum rest time between the shifts etc and sometimes under conditions nobody would accept today they devoted their active years to the railway.

These are the stories and facts that I am interested in. The stories about the daily life and they are told by the things that many think of as either a steam engine, a railway car or what may look like something ready for the scrap yard while waiting for someone to take care of it. They all had their specifik functions and they all made life easier one way or another.

Knowing the history and the past means that one better understands the present even if it may not hold the magic key to the future, or…? Maybe it does after all, because there are a number of lessons to learn from mistakes made. If not, I guess that’s what people usually refer to as “history repeating itself”.

This is was the nerd in me is interested in and this time I wanted to get some pictures of the small details that make a railway work rather than the traditional shots of rolling stock, even if I couldn’t resist the temptation to take some shots of that kind. It was an interesting experience and I made a number of discoveries while listening to their stories through the camera lens (beat that if you can) and I have now shared a couple of them with you, hoping that you enjoyed it.

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4 responses

  1. I like railways too… fascinated with them and trains, of course. And I haven’t seen anything like in these photos. Great detail shots and I really like the B&W with color.

    13/08/2010 at 23:02

  2. Staffan H

    Anna: Welcome – glad you could join the club. 😀

    Some of these objects are probably very Swedish while others are more “international”; the only thing is that they were have not been in use for decades.

    15/08/2010 at 02:31

  3. Ok – I’m a nerd too, but I thought that was because I like computers and other electronic gadgets. I guess it’s time to add liking trains to my nerd list. I really like this series of photos – wonderful.

    16/08/2010 at 16:53

  4. Staffan H

    Lynn: Sincere thanks.

    20/08/2010 at 00:20

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