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

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Gorky 1948-1965

Frame from 'Malaya Gorkovskaya' diafilm, 1961
The Gorky Minor railway named in favor of Maksim Gorky
November 8, 1939
Full length: 11.2 kms
Length of the main line: 9.1 kms
3 stations: Pushkinskaya, Schastlivaya, Rodina halt: Mayakovskaya
Rolling stock: steam locomotives 157 type and Kp-4-430, Diesel locomotives TU2-155, TU2-233, Pafawag type coaches
Signalling and communications: Automatic locking, semi-automatic block, railway radio communication.

At the end of the 1940s the management of the line was changed and the Gorky ChRW again became a conventional children's railway in which the main part is played by young railwaymen. The museum located at Rodina station (the Native Land), again became a museum of railway transportation in general, as well as a museum of history of the Gorky children's railway.

In 1958 re-equipment of the line began. New equipment appeared, like Diesel locomotive TU2-155, inspection car TD-5u, new coaches, stations and locomotives are equipped with railway radio communication. Slightly later one more diesel locomotive - TU2-233 - was allocated to the line. As by that time the electric token ring system had become outdated, it was replaced with automatic locking on the route Rodina - Mayakovskaya, and by semi-automatic block on the route Mayakovskaya - Pushkinskaya.

Young railwaymen have designed and have made devices for automatic opening doors in station buildings.

foto from A.K.Filippov's private archive. 1950s

The railway developed and gradually returned to itself a rank of the best in the country. But in middle of the year 1965 the destiny of the line changed abruptly. The event which caused this to happen could become a monument to Soviet nonsense.

One Sunday morning, when the train which was carrying out the first journeyhas passed a curve on the first kilometer of the line, it had to stop - the track onwards had been completely dismantled by employees of the trust "Stroygas". About their actions, the trust's chief engineer N.Kolganov said they were covered by the instructions of the chairman of the City executive committee (mayoralty), A.D.Proskurin. It appears that, owing to the beginning of housing construction in this area, in February, 1965 there was question of a project to change the ChRW. A line was authorized by the City executive committee. As it was then found out, for its realization it would be required to demolish 48 apartment houses. Who was engaged in its development and thus were guided remains a mystery, but naturally such a project was not realized.

In any case, development of the new project began. Without waiting for its end, A.D.Proskurin made the privately-owned decision about dismantling the track of the children's railway, which was done efficiently, worthy the best application. For their destruction of the ChRW these officials did not incur any punishment. And for their full rehabilitation, the City executive committee rapidly approved the decision - backdated - on August 6, 1966 (ie within one year!).

Track plan. 1965

From a length of over nine kilometers the line was cut back to only one and a half kilometers with a single station - Rodina. The station Schastlivaya was transformed into the "Palace of wedding". What had been the best children's railway of the country at any time practically ceased to exist.

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