Monday, September 23, 2013

Degefors Cykeldressin (Day Excursions & Rail Cycling)

photo: Mine
For the past year or so, my wife and I have been coming up to the small town of Björneborg which is over an hour's drive north of Gothenburg, to care for her father who is now almost 90 years old and with cancer. He is now doing much better as he has moved out of his home and living in a care facility. But along the way to his town and back, we always past by this sign which said Högberg. I always joked let's stop, because we have friends with the same last name. This place of course is not really a proper town or city, but merely a tiny country rural community with store, some residents, etc. But back in July, we finally made the turn and drove down the narrow gravel road which went through tall trees and finally opened up into meadows and pasture lands. I made my wife get out and take the photo with her Mobile Phone. We didn't expect taking pick & Camera was at home.
image: Mine
One of the other (selfish) reasons I always wanted to stop here is that there is an abandoned narrow gauge railing line which runs through here whose tracks we always crossed to the north of here and saw along the highway further south. I'm an old railway nutcase. I love anything trains after plants. So this gave me an opportunity to see if there was any older train station along the tracks running through this village. There wasn't any, but there was a typical Swedish Rail Crossing warning sign which we did see ahead like the one pictured to the left. These signs are everywhere and collectible to German Tourists who like to steel them on their way driving back home. Actually the German favourite sign to take is the Moose Crossing warning signs. But I have previously been to other locations where abandoned former railway sections have been turned back into running Stream Engines again. It was fun.
This one intrigued us however because we could see as we crossed the railroad crossing that the rails were somewhat shiny as if the were used on a regular basis. On the way back towards the rail crossing again, we saw a family of three riding and almost bicycle pedaling this three rail wheel contraption with ease on down the rail line. Wow, that looks kool. I wanna do that. But where do you pick up these cars for cycling ? There was nothing around here and it looked as if you had to drive back up north towards Björneborg or further north to find out. So we drove up to a farm and turned around and went inside and old General Store turned into Crafts and Nick-knack shop to ask what where and how can we do this too.
We went back to the Store to inquire about the Rail Cycling we just saw and the woman explained there was a rail station stop in the town north of there called Degefors. The converted General Store to gift shop had many antiques and crafts. Out back of the store in the meadow were several Alpacas for which they made rugs and other things from the wool to sell in the store. We only purchased an ice cream each and sat on the benches outside watching the animals and then headed for Degefors. At least I finally had the satisfaction of seeing what Högberg was all about after so many trips up this way and being told we don't have time for side trips. It was fun though.
We've often only traveled through the city of Degefors to visit my Father-In-Law when he was sent to hospital just north of there at various times. But this was the first time we actually slowed down and turned left instead of blowing straight through to the north. We made it to a Degefors Public Park and beyond that out in the country again was a little red quaint Rail Station House next to the old narrow gauge train tracks. I parked the car on a grassy car park and walked up to the railroad crossing and photographed north up the track a ways where they had all the Cykla Dressin vehicles park and ready for release. I really wished we had had more time to engage in this activity, but there was no time, we had to get back home to Gothenburg. But we vowed one day soon.
Surprisingly there were several families who had taken off from here on their way south to Ottersbäcksbanan. You can stop along the way and the cycle cars are light and easy enough to take off the tracks to allow others to pass from either direction. Many stop along any point on the right of way to have their pack lunches. Looking at the people using these cycle cars and the modest way they were dressed just brought back some memories of the kind of things families did back in the 1950s. That kind of outdoor adventure entertainment often seems to get a hands down with most modern younger generations who normally have to be forced to leave city life and get out in the country into an activity they often view as boring. Below here are some close up photos of the light rail cycle cars and close ups of the maps and prices with rules. 
image: Mine


image: Mine

image Mine
Map of rail right of way route along the lake


image: Mine
 Booking Rules. Rent by the hour or whole day.
Below I've given a couple of links to this type of fun entertainment for families. The bottom link is most extensive in that it reveals around this entire region there are other abandoned rail right of ways which are now used for this purpose. Lots of photographs and explanations, although they are in Swedish, but it doesn't matter. The pictures are worth a thousand words.
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Some reading references for Tourists:
Youth Hostel and Train Station for Cykla Dressin at the southern end in Gullsspång
http://www.gullspangsvandrarhem.se 
Here is a site referencing all the Cykla Dressin places to visit in Sweden
http://anders.hultman.nu/dressin

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