Tuesday 17 May 2022

FISAIC Technical Commission for Railway Heritage & Model Railways meets in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Spain)

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After a two-year delay due to the pandemic, the Railway Museum of Catalonia hosted the annual exhibition of railway models and a meeting of the FISAIC Technical Commission for Railway Heritage & Model Railways in Vilanova i la Geltrú from 29 April to 1 May 2022.

In a symbolic connection of both railway heritage and models, the event brought together railwaymen from the Czech Republic, France, Germany and Spain at an inspiring museum, a centre of museological reference in the field of railways in Catalonia, that stimulates participation, dialogue, curiosity, enjoyment and learning in the railway educational cluster created in Vilanova i la Geltrú.

A group of FISAIC historians and modellers organised an international exhibition of an interoperable junior modular railway network with unique historical vehicles. The exhibition took place under the auspices of the International Association for Art and Culture of Railway Staff (FISAIC).

Modellers presented to the general public the interoperable network at a 1:87 scale (H0), consisting of a record number of 73 single and double-track junior modules with a total length of over 70 m. The interoperability of the modules enabled model trains of various European railway operators to travel through a varied model landscape across Europe.

Junior modules are usually associated with the meaning of “young” and “beginner”, and it must be said that FISAIC fully supports work with young people and their engagement in railway communities. The initial cooperation of BSW (DE), ČD (CZ) and UAICF (FR) has been gradually extended, and other countries such as Hungary, Latvia and Spain have joined in the activities of FISAIC with their own modules.

Taking into consideration that the group is focused on railway legacy and model railways, Spanish railway workers prepared a trip on the regional Barcelona – Cremallera de Montserrat narrow-gauge railway (FGC, 1,000 mm) - https://www.fgc.cat/ for their FISAIC colleagues.

Another highlight of the trip was a visit to the Montserrat Rack Railway Museum (Exposició del Cremallera) https://www.cremallerademontserrat.cat/cremallera/exposicio/ and the model railway club (Amics del Cremallera de Montserrat) http://www.trenscat.com/montserrat/expocremi05_ct.html

The group enjoyed the rack railway to Montserrat and the Sant Joan funicular railway, a unique experience with the best panoramic views of the mountain and the monastery https://www.cremallerademontserrat.cat/en
In addition, the Railway Museum of Catalonia presented a ride on the MATARO replica steam locomotive. The group enjoyed the park railway for children at the seaside, and finally met friends with their model networks at the Associació d´Amics del Ferrocarrril Barcelona – AAFCB.

FISAIC, the Federation of Railwaymen for Culture and Leisure, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UIC on 1 December 2016. FISAIC aims to promote and support cultural activities for railway personnel of all nations in their leisure time, establish relationships among the creative railway personnel of national associations and unions in order to organise cultural events, and contribute to the development of culture and activities. An international cultural organisation, FISAIC was founded in Strasbourg in 1952.

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Group picture of all participants © SZCZ
Reception of delegations in museum library
Construction of model network
Czech group at exhibition
French interoperable module junior at scale H0
Coach BB-2597 Harlan, first bogie coach in Europe imported from US (1878)
Replica of the first locomotive in the Iberian Peninsula to serve the first Barcelona – Mataró line (1948), originally from 1848
Park railway in Vilanova
Logo for FISAIC's 70th anniversary