Svanda is a joint project by Chris Ford and Nigel Hill. The initial reason for its building was to 'use up' a growing amount of HO scale NSB rolling stock that had been accumulated over several years. Much of this stock has the slightly cruder wheel profiles of earlier times and a decision was made to adopt the more forgiving Peco code 100 trackwork to allow for this.
The scenic work, permanent way and painting was mainly carried out by Chris, with rolling stock, structures and electrical work carried out by Nigel although the lines are blurred in many cases and sometimes it's hard to establish who did what. The baseboards are built from 6mm MDF sheet glued and screwed using timber corner blocks at each joint. While not super-lightweight, this does give a highly robust base to withstand the knocks of loading in and out of exhibition halls. Three boards are used: the two main scenic boards are 45" x 17" plus a storage yard board of 43"x 12" giving an overall length of around 11'
The scenery is a mixture of natural and commercial materials including sea moss and ground foam. The trees are Hebe twigs shaped and covered with Woodlands Scenics foliage material. All the buildings are based on NSB prototypes mostly scaled from photos and are scratch-built mainly from plastic sheet.
Svanda represents a Norwegian secondary line in the 1980’s. Due to high maintenance costs the line has been truncated beyond this point. The traffic is raw timber and general goods with a light passenger service. Locomotives and freight stock are typical of the period with a mix of first generation diesels (Skd 224's Di3's and Di5's) and wood-bodied freight stock. Much of this stock has individual histories such as ex German coaches and ex Swedish Railways railcars and the occasional Dutch Railways MAK diesel - which are all prototypical for the place and period.
Svanda has attended a number of exhibitions and continues to be popular with exhibition managers as it is 'different'.
Photos: Nigel Hill, Chris Ford and Peco Studio.