237/5000 The Museum Railroad Association, which maintains the Jokioinen Museum Railway, received very good news from the Ministry of Education and Culture on Wednesday 3.5: Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen had granted a grant of EUR 25,000 for the continuation of the track renovation of the museum railway.

Just renovated track and rodbed runs through golden fields.
Renovated track nearby Raemäki Halt. Photo: Marko Laine, September 2016.

The railway sleeper of Jokioinen Museum Railway are in urgent need to be replaced as they are close to the ned of their service life. There are a total of 18,400 railway sleepers in the museum railway line, of which approximately 3,500 had been replaced in 2015 - 2016. In 2016, the Ministry of Education and Culture granted a total of EUR 50,000 in grants, and a total of more than 2040 sleepers were renewed and seven level crossings were refurbished. In addition, the lateral clearance areas of level crossings were improved and a historic stone culvert was repaired. The work was done as a paid work, as voluntary work, the refurbishment of the track is too much effort in addition to all other repairs and maintenance work and operating the steam trains.

The Museum Railway Association applied for a total grant of € 50,000 for the continuation of track work for 2017, but received no money targeted for the museums of the transport and communications. The unfortunate decision to not to fund the future work arrived in mid-March and caused great concern about the fate of the track maintenance project. The Museum Railway Association is annually able to invest ten to twenty thousand euros for track maintenance, but cannot invest more than that.

The grant awarded by the Minister of Education and Culture will facilitate the financial burden of the association and ensure the continuity of track work this year, up to snowfall. The repair of the railway track will ensure the continuity of museum rail transport for several tens of years ahead, while the refurbished railroad also keeps historic rolling stock in better condition.

The Jokioinen Museum Railway is located in the Jokioinen and Humppila municipalities. The museum railway is a part of the narrow gauge Jokioinen railway operated between 1898 and 1974, which traveled from Forssa via Jokioinen to Humppila. The museum rail service on this 23 km long track began as early as 1971. When the Jokioinen railway was abolished in 1974, the entire museum operation was at reisk. The dismantling of track as well as scrapping of rolling stock was started. Only six kilometers of track remained between Minkiö and Jokioinen. In 1978, the museum traffic re-started, and since then, steamtrains running on summer months have been part of the Southwestern Tavastia summer landscape.

The total length of the track is currently 14 km. The museum railway is a highly valuable and functional entity of cultural history, because the Jokioinen Museum Railway is the only original narrow gauge railroad left in Finland today.