THE Haapamäen Museoveturiyhdistys ry (HMVY) railway museum, at Haapamäki, central Finland, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
And at the start of the anniversary year, an ambitious five-day rail tour ran in late-April, covering many freight and secondary lines in central Finland.
The tour was run as a joint venture between the HMVY and the Branch Line Society, which attracted bookings from not only the UK, but several other European countries.
Several long freight lines threatened with closure, because of falling traffic volumes, were visited.
The HMVY also promoted the trains in several towns the train passed through, giving residents the opportunity to travel. For many locals, it was train travel for the first time as passenger services on many of the freight-only lines were withdrawn more than 50 years ago.
The train was hauled by former Finnish Railways (VR) Alsthom-designed diesel Dr13 class No. 2343, built in Finland under license by Lokomo (as were 52 of the 54 locos built), with carriages from the HMVY museum collection.
The tour successfully completed almost all sections on the itinerary (one line was not passable because of damage from melting snow), but on the first day the museum loco was used to rescue a VR freight train, stalled in icy conditions some 60km ahead, leading to several hours delay.
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