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Jakob Ehrensvärd | profile | all galleries >> Trains (mainly from Sweden) >> Malmbanan June 2004 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Malmbanan June 2004

Saying "Malmbanan" (the Ore-line) to a Swedish train geek, usually leads to some flickering in his (yes, it is typically a "he") view, and in top of his mind is then the impressive class Dm3 locomotive. The class Dm/Dm3 locomotive with its 1'D+D+D1' wheel arrangement is a beast of some 32 meters (106ft) in length and a weight of 273 metric tons (601,300lbs). The locomotive is actually built of three sections (Dm+Dm3+Dm) with a combined tractive power of 7200kW / 9800hp. The Swedish State Railways (SJ) was a devoted believer in locomotives with coupling rods rather than with bogies as it was seen to provide superior performance in terms of avoiding wheel slips. However, the Dm3 was the last locomotive to feature coupling rods, and is also the last one of the more traditional Swedish electric locomotive style, known as the D class.

Europe's largest iron ore mine is located in Kiruna above the Arctic Circle. The ore line connects the mine with the Narvik harbor in Norway. Some 20 million metric tonnes of iron ore and pellets are produced each year in Kiruna and nearby pellets works at Svappavaara, and the Dm3's roll 24x7 on the single track line Kiruna-Narvik, where each train has 52 cars, each car carrying 80 tonnes of ore. With the tare weight of the car itself, each trainload comprising some 5200 metric tons. The top speed for a fully loaded train is 50 km/h, which gives that the 170 km journey from Kiruna to Narvik usually takes about 4 hours.

As the dependable class Dm/Dm3 locomotives from 1953-1971 are to be gradually phased out, it seemed to be high time to perform a dedicated photo excursion to their home turf. The following photos are from a tour (with fairly poor weather) on the section Abisko-Katerat in June 2004.

If you're not into trains, this may just sound weird. However, anyone having just a faint interest in large machinery is likely to be somewhat impressed when a 5200 ton train passes by. Still not convinced? Try this sound clip from Björkliden, where a loaded train gains speed as it exits the yard: (MP3 file approx. 850k) Tell me what you think !
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