Swedish museum makes way for iconic train

Railway buffs in Sweden are on track for a treat as a rare Swiss locomotive is set to roll into a Swedish transport museum in the coming days to celebrate a century of electric trains in the Nordic country.

Swedish museum makes way for iconic train
The iconic Swiss locomotive. Photo: SBB

One of Swiss Federal Railways' (SBB) emblematic locomotives headed out of the country on Monday for a final trip – to a transport museum in northern Sweden.

The 'Crocodile' electric locomotive, built in 1925 to haul freight through the Alps on the Gotthard Bahn, began its journey to the museum from Olten on Monday morning.

It was to be hauled to Germany where it will be pulled by another locomotive to Poland and then transferred to a cargo vessel to Sweden.

After a trip of eight days it will be transported to Sveriges Järnvägsmuseum (the Swedish Railway Museum) in Gävle, about 170 kilometres north of Stockholm.

Painted green, with yellow trim, the locomotive will go on display for a week as the museum celebrates 100 years of electric trains in Sweden.

“Generations of Swedish children grew up with a toy model of our 'Crocodile' and the model today in the bedrooms of many Swedish children and adults,” SBB said on its website.

The 20-metre-long train engine is particular for being composed of three sections hinged together to navigate the curving rail routes wending through mountain passes.

The 131-tonne locomotive is being accompanied by three dozen travel enthusiastists, 20 Minuten newspaper reported.

They are paying 2,900 francs for the one-way journey, which includes meals and stops in spa hotels.

The locomotive is set to arrive in Gävle on September 7th and is scheduled to be returned to Switzerland on September 22nd.


Train staff threaten wildcat strike in Skåne on Monday

Trains could be disrupted across Skåne in southern Sweden on Monday after the SEKO transport union threatened a wildcat strike over an attempt to remove a troublesome union official.

Train staff threaten wildcat strike in Skåne on Monday
Arriva, which operates the Pågatåg train network, faces a strike. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
The union has set up a strike committee after Arriva, the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary which runs the Pågatågen regional trains, offered Ola Brunnström, the union's health and safety official, two years of salary if he took voluntary redundancy.  
“For us, what was the straw on the camel's back was the attack on the right to self-organisation, that what they are doing is actually breaking the law,” a member of the new committee told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
“Ola Brunnström is a chief health and safety official and he should be protected under the Trade Union Representatives Act.” 
Brunnström has denied the offer, but Arriva wants to push ahead nonetheless and is set to meet him, together with Seko representatives on Monday. 
According to Seko, the meeting between Brunnström and Arriva will centre on an  email he wrote to other Seko-affiliated staff on October 9th, when he wrote: “We are not afraid of the bosses, they should be afraid of us.” 
Jonas Pettersson, Seko's head of planning and communication, told Sydsvenskan that Arriva had been trying to silence a high profile union official with a long hisotry of pushing for better safety for the company's employees. 
Arriva would only tell Sydsvenskan that they had had a discussion with one of their employees. 
Brunnström has in recent months been a vocal participant in a struggle with the company over equipment to protect staff from being infected with coronavirus, over loo breaks, and also over Arriva's moves to unilaterally reduce employees hours and salary. 
Pettersson said Seko would do everything in its power to prevent Brunnström losing his job, but said the union could not support a wildcat strike and encouraged its members not to take part in it.