Posts

Railfan Tour of the Soviet Union 1974 - Finale.

Image
Next morning we visited the Novosibirsk Railway Technical Institute followed by a guided tour of Novosibirsk and Akademgorodog.  We were amazed to learn that some 3,000 graduate railway engineers are produced annually, most of then being posted to positions at stations. There seems to be specialists in all aspects of railway work. We met a professor of railway snow protection who specialized in the types of plants and trees that should be used. Hump shunting has been studied sl as to become a high art. The Novosibirsk streetcar system uses single ended, bow collector cars with mainly women drivers. Akademgorodog "Academic City" is very interesting.  We visited the modern faculty buildings and passed through a small section of taiga with many birch trees.   To adjust the heat on our bus the driver had to stop it and make an adjustment outside. We then went straight to the Intourist lounge at the airport where Mr. Bevshenka, Vice President of the Eastern Siberian Railway, gave

Railfan Tour of the Soviet Union - Novosibirsk

Image
W e overnighted in Moscow, then out to the airport Intourist lounge and were boarded separately on the plane for Novosibirsk with a stop at Kubishev. The meal was a cup of hot water with a tea bag, a cup of something sweet, a roll (no butter), a hard boiled egg, piece of cake and a slice of chocolate. We were met at Novosibirsk by the Vice President of one of the railways and given an excellent dinner while our bags were taken directly to our rooms. We started the next day with a discussion with railway officers then we went to the passenger car maintenance shop. This four-wheeled car took us out to the passenger car shop There is a good system for programming maintenance The Siberian We made an inspection of "The Siberian" a train which runs to Moscow.  There are even books provided for people to read. Throughout the shop there was a marked absence of people working on the cars.  In fact the floor was empty.  One of us happened to look up into one of the cars under repair an

Virtual Railfan Tour of the Soviet Union 1974 - Murmansk to Moscow

Image
  We spent the whole day and night in the train, our private car came from the Red Arrow service.  I traveled in the locomotive from Midvirgirgarsk to Kandabolka.  There is quite a lot of room.  A long handled throttle, radio, two brake valves on right hand side.  The only control that the second man has is a horn. The cab was very clean indeed as was the engine compartment.  There was a rear view mirror.  The sound insulation is excellent and crews can talk to each other easily. Good heating. The crew were well dressed with white shirt and black tie.  The countryside was similar to Eastern Ontario with some wooden fences etc.  There were many people working on the track, digging snow from around the posts each tenth of a kilometer.  We received train orders from a female dispatcher.  Heavy snow. In all, I traveled about 100 km (km 560 - km 459) in the cab in about 1½ hours and passed 8 trains on 11 sidings.  One steam locomotive was heading south, a 2-8-0 of the C17 class.  Most of th

Virtual Railfan Tour Soviet Union February 1974 - Murmansk

Image
  Our arrival at Murmansk I had a good night's sleep in the train which was about ten minutes late into Murmansk.  There is a very large railway and dock installation here. I saw two steam locomotives in steam.  First off we were taken for a sight seeing tour of the most northerly city in the world.  Some children were having a great time on a slide. After the tour we were taken to the locomotive running shed.  There were several locomotives ChS2T-364 and VL23-067 in multiple with VL23-195.  The unit numbers were in stainless steel.  One of our group got fresh paint on his hand, it hadn't even dried.   Tools specially arranged for our visit Having inspected some rolling stock we had lunch.  This was a three course meal with cold cuts, lamb soup, meat, coffee and fruit - with vodka. We then went to see a demonstration of snow clearing equipment and a CTC panel. It was then back for another meal with the table groaning under the weight of the food. We presented the railway office

Virtual Railfan Tour of Soviet Union February 1974 - Going north

Image
  Petrozavodsk We traveled overnight to Petrozavodsk where our two cars were taken off the train and we had breakfast.  We were then taken by car to the locomotive shop which repairs diesels, both passenger and freight.  We were taken to a board room where we sat around a large table for a briefing. The meeting was opened by the manager bringing out a bottle of what appeared to be aged vodka and proposing a toast to a successful meeting. It was still very early in the morning,  I assumed I was supposed  to bottoms up. Unfortunately this turned out to be Georgian cognac and I had taken in the whole glass in one go.  It was a happy visit. It was remarkable for the amount of potted plants and cleanliness.  In some areas the paint was still wet.  The locomotives under repair were a twin unit freight TE3-1329 and passenger TEM60p416.  The whole place looked as if it had been specially cleaned for us.  There is not a great deal of standardization between passenger and freight units. We inspe

Virtual Railfan Tour - Soviet Union 1974 - Second day in Leningrad

Image
Leningrad Our second day ay Leningrad was full of activity.  I   know the city name has now changed but I knew it by its earlier name I should have shown this picture as part of the previous day's visit to the Leningrad hump yard. The freight trains had heavy power. From my hotel window I could see the warship Aurora which is now a museum.  A car took us to the Leningrad station where we had a special train to look at a high speed switch at Chudovo.  On the way through the station we could see the beautiful painted ceiling over the concourse and we waited in the VIP lounge. On the way to Chudovo I noticed several hay ricks with a pole through the middle and a roof to keep the rain off.  The roof slides down the pole as the hay is taken from the bottom. Chudovo Moving frog switch. I believe similar frogs had been installed on British Railways. Nothing very special - although a novelty for Canada There was a lot of traffic on the main line, Our locomotive went off to run round its tr

Virtual Railfan Tour - Soviet Union February 1974

Image
 After the ballet we   then moved to the Leningrad station (Moscow) and boarded our private car on the rear of the Leningrad overnight train which left on time at 2340. We each had a full compartment with a shower attached which we had to share with the next compartment. We arrived in Leningrad on time at 0705 and had to get off the car very quickly.  The rear two cars had been taken off the train within five minutes.  We were taken to the Intourist Hotel which faces out over the river.   Our first visit was the Leningrad Hump Yard which was nothing exceptional although we saw a cut of 15 cars being humped.  The cars, in general, were not in good condition although the mechanical parts were well maintained.  I saw a steam locomotive.  We were told it was used to clean cars but I doubt this. View of the hump The hump This switcher looked very similar to an Alco switcher and it was confirmed that it was pretty much a copy of one. The equipment members of our group said "They would h