A day in Hyvinkää
When I visit another country I always fervently hope that it has a railway museum. Often it is the national railway system in that particular country which runs such a museum. For example the German railway system operator Deutsche Bahn has such a museum next to the central train station in Nürnberg.
It is well funded and also functions as a national archive regarding Germany’s transportation history. It is one of the larger collections regarding rail technology, literature, railway themed art and history.
So far though the largest I have visited is the railway museum in Beijing, China. It has two immense halls chock a block full of rolling stock and rail paraphernalia. Even Chairman Mao’s carriages are exhibited there, lovingly watched over by a few elderly Chinese ladies!
Then there is the tiny little railway museum in Livingstone, Zambia we visited. Just as lovingly watched over by an older gentleman, but with a lot less of a budget than either the German or the Chinese museums.
Not surprisingly Finland has its very own museum dedicated to trains. The Finnish Railway Museum is located roughly 30 miles north of Helsinki in the town of Hyvinkää. Trains from Helsinki Central Station leave every 30 minutes for Hyvinkää station and the museum is just a five minute walk from the train station.
The Finnish Railway Museum is in the original Hanko to Hyvinkää Railway station building and on that railway’s original yard site. The Hanko – Hyvinkää Railway Company was the first privately funded railway company in Finland, but soon ran into financial trouble and was sold to the Finnish State Railways in 1875 after only three years in operation. One of the more fascinating aspects of the railway was the fact they had purchased nine “American” 4-4-0 locomotives from Baldwin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
On our walk from the Hyvinkää station to the museum we ran across this marker.
We have no idea what it said, even our iPhone translation apps were stymied. That was an issue we also had during our museum visit: Some of the exhibits had Finnish, Russian and English language descriptions, but the majority did not have English texts. This is by no means a complaint, after all we are in Finland. But consistency would have been nice.
I really liked this place. There were no crowds, because it seems that in Finland summer seems to end around the 15th or so of September. The grounds were kept up, the exhibit pieces appeared to be in good repair and nobody bothers you wandering around the expansive grounds. My kind of place!
Keep in mind that, as is the case with almost all railway museums, it is difficult to get decent photographs. Every piece is too close to the next one. It is difficult to get a good angle or the proper distance to the subject. It is often too dark. That, in fact, was my major and only complaint about this museum: it was too dark! I had difficulty reading the descriptions! The photographs I could doctor up to make them usable, but why is the place so dark?
So here are my photographs of the Finnish Railway Museum:
The museum also has the only surviving Russian Imperial train coaches in its collection:
1319 is one of the twenty “Decapods” (2-10-0) the Finnish Railways bought from the American Locomotive Company. Originally built for the Soviet Union they were never delivered due to the change of the political climate between the USA and Russia. The Finnish rail system desperately needed locomotives at the time, and since the Finnish gauge is the same as the Russian gauge (1524 mm or 5 feet) they were simply sold to the Finns. Apparently these locomotives’ performance was not as expected and they also proved unreliable.
This freight locomotive (1033) was built in 1941 by Arnold Jung Lokomotivfabrik in Jungenthal, Germany. The wheel configuration is 2-8-2:
The Class Dr13 diesel electric locomotives were built in Finland under license from the French company Alsthom. They had a Co-Co wheel arrangement and the locomotives were used in both freight and passenger services. Apparently this class had a lot of teething problems. One of them being unable to deal with the Finnish winters.
The builders plate of 2349. Alsthom is now Alstom without an “h”. Alstom also merged with Siemens Mobility, to create Siemens Alstom.
And then way in a dark corner was this gem:
There was no sign, no description regarding this locomotive. According to some web sites I believe it is a Class Dr12 Co-Co diesel electric locomotive. Apparently it is in operating condition as seen in the below photo. (Wikimedia Commons Photograph)
Finnish Railways standardized their passenger stations. There were five classes of stations depending on the passenger volume and train frequency. The museum has an example of a station from the early 20th century.
Part of the museum grounds. The live steam 7 inch railway runs during the summer only.
A depiction of different railway gauges used in different countries. Unfortunately only in Finnish, but one can get the idea:
Something I have never seen before in a railway museum. The various rail sizes and rail weights being used for different rail traffic requirements:
On our way back to the Hyvinkää railway station we came across this little church. Apparently it is one of the oldest churches in Finland:
Following is a short YouTube video. It is a bit of a hodge podge. I combined some Finland clips with video from Berlin and then also with some footage of the “Brunswick Railroad Days” in Brunswick, Maryland, USA. Click here for the link to YouTube.
All photographs by Ralf Meier and Brad Wing (Sony a6500, iPhone X, iPhone 7) ©2018