Swedish Tramway Association: Youth Camps in Malmköping

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Youth Camps in Malmköping

The Swedish Tramway Association is an organization in Sweden that preserves the moving cultural heritage within tramways and buses. All activities are conducted entirely on a non-profit basis and there are no employees within the activities. The business is a member of the National Association of Museum Railways (MRO) and through it also a member of Fedecrail.

The Swedish Tramway Association has for almost 20 years run youth camps for young people aged 12-18 interested in public transport. Even during the pandemic, the organization managed to hold its youth camps with corona adaptation. Over the years, the number of participants has varied between 10-25 young people who come and live on the Museispårvägen in Malmköping for a week together with dedicated leaders from the association.

The museum has more than 40 carriages from Sweden’s once total of 12 tram towns. A third of the carriages have so far been renovated for museum traffic in Malmköping. The oldest is from 1903 and the youngest from the 1950s. Some 25 buses are also included in the collections. The tram ride to Hosjö and back goes along sparkling lakes and through beautiful nature with meadows and forests.

The museum railway was inaugurated in 1969 and runs on part of the former Stålboga-Skebokvarn railway, originally the Mellersta Södermanland Railway. The approximately 2.6 km long course runs from Malmköping to Hosjö by national road 55 and has two meeting points. Gradually, the originally railway track has been rebuilt into a more authentic tramway environment. A tramway square in Malmköping is almost complete, and recently the track has been given turnstiles at both ends to enable traffic with more modern one-way trams, such as Mustangs. The organization runs and owns its own infrastructure and has also maintained, built, and managed facilities and trams over the years with non-profit efforts.

In 2022, a total of 20 young people participated and the demand for places was high. The Swedish Tramway Association, which operates the Museispårvägen in Malmköping, not only collects trams but also buses that are connected to Swedish local traffic history. The association was formed in 1959. The Swedish Tramway Association sees the camp as a vital part in bringing in young members to become active, learn the organization and skills of operating a heritage tramway. This is also the future of the association and the museum. The camp has not only generated young people active in the tram side, the young people also apply to various veteran railway associations to become active.

Today, the tramway museum has many young active members who participate in the museum activities all year round and not only during the camp. The camp gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the museum’s various tasks and it increases the interest of the participants to come back.

Over the years, the association has learned how to capture the interest of young people. An important part is giving young people confidence and responsibility within the organization and museum, it makes them grow and creates interest for them to stay and continue to develop their skills in the field.

During the week, the young people participate in traffic, technology such as maintenance for trams and infrastructure, educational sessions, evening activities and a camp excursion, among other things. The young people are also offered the chance to test drive a tram one evening with a qualified instructor.

Getting to try means curiosity is awakened. Everything happens under the supervision of a more experienced leader.  At the camp, they find like-minded people to network with. Every year there are new participants as well as those who have been around for a while. They are promoted to leaders of the camp.

The technical work that took place during the week included overhauling a tram, clearing trees and weeds, repairing benches for visitors, painting the interior ceiling of a trailer and so on. The young people circulate between different jobs on different days, so they get to try different things. They even support the running of the café and shop.

The young people in Malmköping can train to be conductors at the age of 16. They wear uniforms, so they look authentic to the activity. The young people not only sell tickets on board, but their task is also to guide along the course.

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