First page
First pageSite mapSearche-mail RUSSIAN  

Children's Railways of the former USSR – Past and Present

ATTENTION! The data listed below can be not actual.
Unfortunately, I don't speak English. And I can't update English version of my site on a regular basis.


First train. foto from Alma-Ata ChRW archive, 1952
Opened: September 13, 1952
Closed: July 20, 1997
Total length: 1.47 km
Length of the main line: 1.24 km
It is located in Ak Bobek park (formerly "Maxim Gorky" park)
2 stations: Dostyk, Zhastar (previously: Pavlik Morozov and Komsomol'skaya)
Rolling stock: diesel locomotive TU7A-2921, 4 PV40 coaches; earlier there were the diesel locomotives TU2-124, TU2-209 and 3 Pafawag coaches, steam locomotive YuP-40 (type 63/65) and 2 wooden passenger coaches


In the summer of 1952, on the initiative of young Pioneers and Komsomol of Alma Ata, the building of a children's railway began in the central recreation park named in memory of Maxim Gorky. The solemn opening of the "Minor Turksib Railway" took place on 13 September of the same year.

For the opening a continuous ring of 750 mm track, with a length of 1.24 kilometers, was laid and one station, with a wooden platform and summer-type passenger pavilion, was built on the outside of the line and given the name of Pavlik Morozov. The line's rolling stock consisted of two home-made small wooden cars and a locomotive of the type 63/65, repaired by workers at Alma Ata steam-locomotive depot. The original serial number of the locomotive has not so far been established, but on the ChRW it was designated YuP-40.

Track plan 1958-1997

In 1958 the rolling stock was completely replaced. In exchange for the steam locomotive a type TU2 diesel locomotive arrived (unfortunately, its number is not known), and the old coaches were substituted by three new Pafawag all-metal coaches. In the same year the new building for controlling the line was built inside the ring, and the second (two-track) station Komsomolskaya was built on the southern side of the ring. On the northern side of the ring, next to Pavlika Morovoza station, a level-crossing with an automatic barrier was installed. The section is equipped with semiautomatic interlocking.

In 1985 the Pafawag railway coaches were replaced by four domestic type PV40 coaches.

In 1986 the remains of the diesel locomotive TU2-124 were installed on a pedestal beside the ChRW administration building, and the diesel locomotive TU7A-2921 was obtained to replace it.

In 1991 the station Morozov Pavlika was rebuilt. Its wooden platform was replaced by one made from reinforced concrete. But the diesel locomotive TU2-124 was removed from its pedestal and cut up.

In 1993 all signaling and communications equipment of the children's railroad underwent reconstruction. Instead of semiautomatic blocking system, automatic telephone communications between the line's control room, both stations and post of person on duty at the level crossing were provided.

In the same year the Pavlik Morozov station was renamed as "Dostyk" (which, in translation from the Kazakh, is "Friendship" in English), and Komsomol was renamed "Zhastar" (in English: "Youth").

In 1995 the road was equipped with locomotive radio communication.

On January 13, 1997, on the indication of the management of the Almata railroad (on account of its difficult financial position), responsibility for the ChRW was transferred to the administration of Gorky park, which also did not have the means to maintain it. During half a year the fight for the survival of the ChRW was conducted by the Chief of the ChRW, by instructors, by young railroad workers and by their parents, with the support of schools and circles of Almaty, but their efforts were not successful.

On July 20, 1997, the line was finally closed. Only one month later the completely ruined diesel locomotive and railroad cars were removed from their bogies and used as commercial pavilions.

In 1999 the Gorky park, together with the remains of the ChRW, passed into private property and the children's entertainment center "Ak Bobek" was organized on its territory. The railway was partially repaired and operation began again after one of the stations was restored. A train, which consists of three open railroad cars of Italian production and a diesel locomotive, stylized as a steam locomotive, now runs on the ring, on which all points have been dismantled. However, at the end of August 2001, the station building at Dostyk station burned down completely.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to stress the fact that the Alma-Ata children's railroad has become a typical park attraction, where now the only role for children is that of passengers. The present state of Alma-Ata ChRW can be seen in the photo-gallery "Life after death".


The following material was used in the preparation of this account:
  • materials from Alma-Ata ChRW archive
  • materials given by I.Zagumennikov
  • materials given by V.Mulyarov
  • materials given by D.Klimov
  • Yandex of quotation
    Rambler's Top100 Service

    Hosted by Zenon N.S.P.