News from FEDECRAIL

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Youth exchange in Catalonia still has a few slots available

There are still a few slots available: The admission of participants to the 13th FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange 2019 from 2 to 9 August in Catalonia has been extended to 30 April. The organizer is the Railway Museum in Móra la Nova. Zaragoza, Rubi and Barcelona will also be visited. The attractive programme includes practical work on historic vehicles as well as cultural visits and socialising. All young members of historical railway associations between the ages of 16 and 25 can take part in the youth exchange. Information at youthexchange@fedecrail.org

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APHTRO Conference 2019 in Amman

APHTRO (Asia Pacific Heritage and Tourist Rail Organisation) invites you to their 2019 Conference in Amman, Jordan. APHTRO is an association of museum and tourist railways in the Asia-Pacific region, comprising the regions of Asia, Australia and Oceania located in or near the Western Pacific. European guests are welcome. The conference will take place from 8 to 11 October 2019 and will be hosted by the Jordan Hejaz Railways. The programme also includes (steam) train rides and a visit to the new railway museum and workshop in Amman. Everyone who is interested in historical railways and museums is very welcome. The details are: www.aphtro.info

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150 years of trams in Brussels

The Tram Museum celebrates 150 years of trams in Brussels. From 1 to 5 May 2019, there will be an attractive programme , including exhibitions and a large tram parade with 40 vehicles representing the evolution of the Brussels tramways, a European TramDriver Championship of Brussels an guided tours on board of a heritage tram. Outside Brussels, other Belgian heritage organizations are inviting to special activities during "tram week" from 27 April to 5 May: ASVi in Thuin, ETG in Ghent, VlaTAM in Antwerp, Tramsite in Schepdaal, TTO Noordzee in De Panne and TTA in Erezée. In addition, The Wallonia Public Transport Museum will be open every day throughout the tram week. More information on www.trammuseum.brussels/150years

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Urgent: Deadline for Conference and Hotel Bookings

It is time to book for our Jubilee Conference from 12th to 17th April in Wernigerode. Bookings are flowing, but plenty of places are still available. The deadline date for the conference booking and the booking your room at our main conference hotel has now been extended to Sunday 31.03. From now on we advise not to use the booking facility of the HKK website, but to book by email: info@hkk-wr.de or Tel: + 49 (0) 3943 941-0. When using these methods, please remember to always quote “Fedecrail 2019” to secure a room from our allocation and for our special FEDECRAIL prices. If you need additional help or advice, please contact the Help Desk on: conference@fedecrail.org

Many delegates will be travelling via Hannover Airport (or longer distance rail journeys via Hannover Hbf). Due to planned engineering works for the week to Sun 14.04, a number of timetable changes have been made to services in the Hannover area and S Bahn trains from the airport have been reduced to generally one train per hour. This will not affect return journeys Wernigerode > Hannover from Mon 15.04 onwards. Consult the Deutsche Bahn website: www.reiseauskunft.bahn.de

The third of our series of special Newsletters giving information about the event has now been published and is available via the "Conference" Page.

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FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange 2019 in Catalonia

Railway Museum at Móra la Nova

Preparations are complete. This year the Railway Museum at Móra la Nova will be hosting the International Youth Exchange which will enable young people from heritage railways and museums in Europe to participate in this international event. The Exchange will take place in Móra la Nova from 9th to 18th August 2019. They visit Zaragoza, Rubi and Barcelona, too. The programme includes practical work as well as cultural visits and sociability. The aim of the youth camp is to promote intercultural understanding within Europe and exchange between young people in the field of railways and everyday life. All young members of historical railway associations in the age between 16 and 25 years are invited to participate in the youth exchange. It is the 13th event, initiated by FEDECRAIL. Information can be found at youthexchange@fedecrail.org

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Jean François Andrist passed away

Jean François Andrist (1946 - 2019) passed away on 8 February 2019. The funeral was celebrated on 13 February in Collombey, his village, in the presence of many friends. Jean François spent his working life in Asia and Middle East. On his retirement, he returned home to Switzerland and he became first a volunteer at the Blonay-Chamby Railway Museum, eventually being elected as President of the Association. He worked regularly on the railway and his wife Annie also worked there as a volunteer in the kitchen or in the restaurant. After Jean François retired as President he continued as a Member of the Council and also as an active volunteer on the railway.

His illness was painful but he was full of hope with projects until his last day. (During the week before his death he asked me to book for him the Harz Conference at Wernigerode). He participated in many Fedecrail conferences to represent his Railway and was happy to discuss any subject with anybody (he spoke French, German and English fluently).

As a Member of UNECTO, he also participated regularly in their Congresses.

Jean François we will all miss you.

Our condolences we send to Annie whom we hope to meet at our future Conferences.

Jacques Daffis (Vice-President)

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A big success in Spain

The Spanish federation AGRUPACIÓN DE LOS FERROCARRILESHISTÓRICOS ESPAÑOLES (AFCHE) obtained a big success in its country. The deputies have voted in December 2018 a Proposal on the Historical Railways (HR), presented by the socialist party in the spanish parliament. The text allows them among other things to run heritage and tourist trains on closed lines: “Agreement (…) to promote, in collaboration with the regional and local entities, the enhancement of the old disused railway lines no longer belonging to the RFIG (…) as key elements for the protection of railway heritage.” RFIG means “Red Ferroviaria de Interés General”, the Spanish railway network of general interest. To run heritage and tourist trains on closed lines was forbidden, when they have lines closed since many years, although they were still in acceptable condition, due to Spanish climate.

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Jubilee Conference with "Flexi Options"

Photo: Volker Schadach

2019 will be a very special year for Fedecrail marking the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Federation on 16th April 1994 in Belgium. Each year since 1994 FEDECRAIL has organised a combined conference and visit programme to member railways, tramways and museums in a different country annually in collaboration with one of our national umbrella organisation members. The Jubilee Conference 2019 will be held in collaboration with VDMT (Verband Deutscher Museums und Touristikbahnen) at Wernigerode in the Harz Mountains of Germany. This is the home of a remarkable steam train operation in Europe, HSB (Harzer Schmalspurbahnen) who will be the local host.

The programme will feature a Business Conference (Mon 15.04) with a wide range of speakers and other elements; General Assembly (Sun 14.04); sessions of our specialist Working Groups (Fri 12.04) and of course useful study visits (Sat 12.04 - Wed 17.04) to see how heritage railways, tramways, museums are flourishing in this part of Germany. The “Jubilee Day” Tue 16.04 will be marked by a special HSB steam train to see the dawn rise on the summit of the Brocken Mountain.

This year FEDECRAIL will be offering a wide range of ‘Flexi Options’ for participation, ranging from just a single day to the full programme - aiming to match participation to both budgets and diary pressures of potential delegates. A special invitation is extended to younger active members of rail and tram heritage organisations for whom a number of places will be available at special discount prices.

A series of special Jubilee Newsletters will be published over the five months leading up to the conference date giving latest news on the conference business, visits programme, booking arrangements and other useful information.

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Success through international cooperation

A promising example of the success of international cooperation and contacts is the restoration of a former International Ferry Van for the railway museum at Primolano (Società Veneta Ferrovie/SVF) in Veneto, Italy. The vehicle is a former international ferry van used for freight between Italy and Great Britain. There was one problem as vehicles working to the UK at that time required to be fitted with the vacuum brake in addition to the continental air brake. After closure of the train ferry service the vacuum brake was no longer needed and the end fittings were removed for the rest of its life. In order to complete the restoration of the vehicle, the railway museum volunteers have to restore the vacuum brake fittings, which no longer exist in Italy. An advertisement in HRA News and a contact to a former NRM colleague brought success. The necessary replacement pipes and fittings have been donated by the Derwent Valley Light Railway near York and will be transported by road to Italy in the coming months.

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For the 25th anniversary the "Harz Conference 2019"

Photo: Volker Schadach

2019 is an anniversary year for FEDECRAIL. The European Federation of Museum and Tourist Railways is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the "Harz Conference 2019" in Germany from 12 to 17 April. In keeping with the occasion, participants can look forward to a particularly attractive programme including the anniversary general meeting, the anniversary conference day, an extra 25-year event, excursions on the Harz narrow-gauge railways and study trips to Saxony-Anhalt.

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Andras Szendry – Former Director Budapest Railway Park died

We have received the sad message that our friend and long-time FEDECRAIL supporter Andras Szendry died of cancer on Saturday 3rd November 2018. Andras had hoped to come to join our Edinburgh Conference in April (his daughter and her husband live near Oxford) but sadly he was not able to manage it.

Those of us who attended the Budapest Conferences will remember the enthusiasm with which he helped to arrange our Hungarian visits. Andras was also extremely helpful with both our applications for EU funding to establish a permanent FEDECRAIL Secretariat based in his Railway Park.Sadly neither were successful as at that time. Culture did not include Mobile Heritage in the Brussels mindset but it proved to be a wake-up call for us to lobby and participate in pressure to gain a wider acceptance of our vital Heritage role.

The Railway Park in Budapest will be a lasting memorial to the vision and determination of Andras, its creator.

(John Fuller, Conference Manager)

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16 young people at the 12th Youth Exchange in Sweden

The 12th international FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange took place in Sweden. The meeting started on Friday 3 August in Uppsala. 16 participants arrived: 13 boys and three girls. They came from Spain, Ukraine, Great Britain, Germany and Romania. They spent the first days in Uppsala-Lenna. All the young people worked in the technology and in the trains to help the staff on board.

This summer there were problems with the hot and dry weather in Sweden, so that steam trains were not allowed to travel at first. Fortunately, rain started early enough so that the participants of the youth camp in Uppsala could still use the steam trains. Trips to the Swedish railway museum in Gävle, a tram excursion in Stockholm and the visit of a military fortress in Oxelösund were undertaken during the week.

The second half of the exchange was spent in Malmköping in the Tram Museum. Here, too, the young people worked in technology and sold tickets in the trams. The closing dinner traditionally took place on the last Saturday evening and was attended by FEDECRAIL Vice President Heimo Echensperger.

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“The Peace Train” in Alsace in November

For the first time, the Unecto congress will begin with an event international: “The Peace Train”. The descendants of Germans and French who fought each other in suffering, will meet in Alsace to celebrate Peace. This railway event will commemorate the end of this terrible conflict that has seenour two countries fight each other for for many years, but which are now become partners of a united Europe. Here is the programme as well as the booking form for the event and accommodation. These are in French language, but translation in the language of your choice is possible with any internet translator.

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Steam Gala in Poland in early September 2018

Since 2011, the Museum of Industry and Railways in Silesia has been organizing the “Steam Locomotive Gala”, the international meeting of historic locomotives. The Gala has a form of an outdoor exhibition organized on the premises of the former locomotive shed in Jaworzyna Silesia (nowadays the Museum’s headquarters). The exhibition 2018 on 8 and 9 September is accompanied by full day presentations of locomotives – on the turntable and train journeys on the most picturesque railway tracks around Jaworzyna Śląska. This year in addition to steam locomotives, there are also invited vintage utility vehicles – agricultural tractors, road rollers, locomotives or military vehicles to participate in our gold rush. All will be presented on the premises of the Burghaus grange and palace complex in Piotrowice Świdnickie, about two kilometers from Silesian Jaworzyn. (www.muzeumtechniki.pl)

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Next FEDECRAIL dates have been set

The next FEDECRAIL dates are set: After the annual general meeting in Edinburgh in spring there will be a second meeting this year for the representatives of FEDECRAIL members in Luxembourg on 6 October 2018. This extraordinary general meeting offers the opportunity for an exchange with the executive committee about current developments within the federation.

2019 is an anniversary year for FEDECRAIL: The association turns 25 years old. The celebrations will be held during the Annual Conference 2019 in April in the Harz area (Germany). A series of special "Jubilee News Bulletins" will be prepared and distributed to keep members informed on the preparations for the conference and celebrations. Suitable facilities for the conference and accommodation for delegates have been identified in Wernigerode. The celebration of the 25th anniversary will take place on Tuesday morning, 16 April 2019. The Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, 14 April, and the conference for Monday, 15 April. Care will be taken that delegates can return home before the Easter Weekend.

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Two new faces on the FEDECRAIL Council

David Morgan gets a farewell. Photos: John Crane

At FEDECRAIL's 2018 General Assembly, held in Edinburgh (Scotland) in April, the first and long-serving President David Morgan has resigned from the Board and two successorsnew faces were elected to the Board: Peter Ovenstone (Scotland) and Jonas Svartlok (Sweden). David Morgen had already resigned as Chairman in 2017 after 23 years at his own request. Since then Jaap Nieweg has headed the European Federation of Museum and Tourist Railways. With a very personal gift from the board and deep thanks, David Morgan was said goodbye as one of the founding fathers of FEDECRAIL.

Peter Ovenstone (Scotland) succeeds Sten Erson-Wester (Sweden), who was unable to stand for re-election for health reasons, as third Vice-President. Peter Ovenstone was already FEDECRAIL Officer by then. He has been involved since inception with the development of the European Federation of Museum & Tourist Railways, and his principal role has been as a member of the FEDECRAIL conference organising team. His commitment to the historical heritage was and is multilayered and extensive: Current principle executive HRA roles are as Company Secretary, Chairman of the Heritage Committee and of the Scottish Committee. Within the UK, he served as Chairman of the former statutory Railway Heritage Committee [RHC] and continues to be involved in the statutory protection scheme as a member of the successor body to RHC, the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board.

For many years, he has been actively involved in the work of the Association of British Transport & Engineering Museums and he currently serves as its Vice-Chairman. A more recent European involvement has been with Europa Nostra - the pan European body for all forms of the built and natural heritage: He is now a co-secretary of the Industrial & Engineering Heritage Committee of Europa Nostra.

On the right Jonas Svartlok and Peter Ovbenstone.

His formal professional qualifications are as a Scottish solicitor, albeit he retired from practice many years ago, and he also worked for a few years as a manager of an industrial heritage project in Scotland. He also holds a post-graduate Diploma in Heritage Management from the Ironbridge Institute.

Jonas Svartlok (Sweden) is Secretary of FEDECRAIL's Heritage Operations Group (HOG). He started working for the Stockholm steam engine company SÅS as a twelve-year-old railway enthusiast and participated, but after the birth of his first child - today there are six of them - he was more or less away more or less from the railway in the age of 23. In 2004, however, he returned with the foundationing of the Landeryd Railway Museum. The following year he became chairman of JHRF, the Swedish umbrella organisation, from which he resigned after ten yearsin 2015. Jonas Svartlok earns his living as a driving instructor for the Swedish railway company Swedtrac and has been a locomotive driver including authorization for steam locomotives on public lines since 2009. He also runs a small company for the sale of steam locomotive accessories and "know-how".

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Support for the Strasshof Railway Museum

In a letter to the Austrian Federal Chancellery in Vienna, FEDECRAIL has lobbied to support the Strasshof Railway Museum in Lower Austria. The museum is located in the listed hall and the historical railway installations in Strasshof. This would provide the ideal conditions for a modern Austrian railway museum of international standard in an authentic environment (including a wooden water tower, coal elevators, water cranes and turntable).

The current operator, 1st Austrian Tram and Railway Club (1.öSEK), has already created a solid basis (eight operational steam locomotives, over 150 rail vehicles). The non-profit association has not yet received any support from ÖBB or the public sector. Therefore, FEDECRAIL proposes to financially support the association in the construction of a depot hall, in order to tackle the conservation problems and to enable the storage of the valuable exhibits at Strasshof in a protected location. An important second step would be the construction of an exhibition hall in which the exhibits could be presented appropriately for a museum.

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Four new FEDECRAIL members

Four new members joined FEDECRAIL. They were introduced at the 25th annual general meeting, which took place at Edinburgh/Scotland in April 2018: "Detská Zeleznica", Kosice, in the eastern part of Slovakia; "Agrupación de los Ferrocarriles Históricos Españoles" (AFCHE), Laguna de Duero (Valladolid), Spain; the "Museum of Industry and Railway" (Silesia) in Jaworzyna Sl, Poland, and the Croatian railway museum HŽ INFRASTRUKTURA d.o.o. Hrvatski željeznički muzej in Zagreb.

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Museum Railways and the European Cultural Heritage 2018

Photo: Kees Wijnnobel

2018 has been designated European Year of Cultural Heritage. The European Commission's aim is to get more people interested in Europe's cultural heritage and to give them a sense of belonging to a common European area. The motto for the year is: "Our heritage - link between past and future". The historic railways are also called upon to place their activities under this motto in 2018. Here is an example from the Netherlands: The "Stichting Museum Buurtspoorweg" (MBS) uses a banner to draw attention to the Year of Cultural Heritage.


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updated 12.04.2019