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

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Unfortunately, I don't speak English. And I can't update English version of my site on a regular basis.


Komsomolskaya station. 1967
Opened: July, 26, 1953
The line is 5.8 km long
Three stations: Komsomolskaya, Pionerskaya, Kirovskaya, 1 signal-box (Dubki)
It is located along the bank of the river Ural
Rolling Stock: diesel locomotives TU2-008, TU2-086, 5 coaches PV51; formerly: steam locomotive Kv-4-017, diesel locomotive TU2-083, 8 Pafawag coaches and 4 freight wagons.
Civil engineering works: formerly 3 water-carrying pipes, 2 crossroads, retaining wall.
Signals and communications: automatic locking, semi-automatic block.
Address: 460000, Russia, Orenburg, Street Kirov, 37
Phone: +7 (3532) 79-39-88
Chief: SOROKIN, Gennady Nikolaevich<


The Orenburg Children's Railway was constructed at a record-breaking speed. Construction began on 19 May, 1953, and in 68 days, 26 July the same year, its formal opening was held! Five kilometers of track were laid (later another 0.8 km was added). Three stations and 2 intermediate stations on which there were wooden station buildings and high wooden platforms were constructed (in 1957 the platform at the "Plyazh" ("Beach") was closed).

track plan
track plan - caption: If you want to see how the track layout at a terminal station developed, click a mouse button under its name. Kirovskaya station Dubki signal-box Plyazh intermediate station. In 1957 was closed Pionerskaya station Komsomolskaya station Bridge over Ural river. see foto

The Children's Railway line passes along one bank of the river Ural from the city up to an area in which 33 Pioneer camps were located. The ChRW was one of the most convenient ways of getting from the city up to the "Pioneer campground". This provided the line with a constant volume of passenger traffic. On holidays the trains were overcrowded.

At the same time, it is impossible to say that the route of the ChRW was chosen successfully - the line runs through a zone that is flooded in spring every year. The track level is usually not less than 1 metre under water then, and even 2-3 metres at Komsomolskaya station. After the floodwater has run off, the track reappears buried under a thick layer of clay and mud. Some consequences of the high water-level can be seen in the photogallery.

For prevention of washouts of the slope on the stretch Komsomolskaya - Pionerskaya (2.1 km), there is a concrete retaining wall about 5 meters in length, which it would be desirable to extend up to 150 meters.

retaining wall

The rolling stock is also liable to suffer from the spring flooding. At Komsomolskaya station, a steep siding heading abruptly upwards on a slope with a gradient of about 150-200‰ was constructed specially for the storage of locomotives in winter. However, during the last 10 years this siding has not been used for this purpose because of the danger of vandalism of the diesel locomotives. Now the rolling stock is stored near the signalbox at Dubki (the highest point of the line), and in winter diesel locomotives are raised on a wooden supports about 1.2 meters high. Such storage of rolling stock under unsuitable conditions over winter results in it rapidly becoming unfit for operation.

Originally one train consisted of three hard-seated coaches and one soft-seated one, hauled by the steam locomotive Kv-4-017. In 1958 all this rolling stock was written off and replaced by two diesel locomotives - TU2-008, TU2-083 and 8 Pafawag coaches. After 1972 this allowed operation with two trains which passed each other at the Pionerskaya station to be organised.

At the end of the 1980s the line received one more diesel locomotive - TU2-086. At approximately the same time the Pafawag coaches which had become unsuitable were replaced with five type PV51 coaches. Since then, only one train has been running. Diesel locomotive TU2-083 is now already removed from operation.

After transition to diesel locomotives the reversing triangle at station Dubki was completely disassembled and parts of it were installed at station Komsomolskaya. Now the triangle at station Komsomolskaya is used for storage of the removed from operation coaches. Since then, the points connecting the main line to the triangle are fixed by a screw.

From the moment of opening and till 1967 regulation of movement of trains was carried by electric token ring system. Subsequently on the stretch Komsomolskaya - Pionerskaya automatic blocking, and on the others stretches - semi-automatic blocking was installed. Thus, operation of points has remained manual for reasons of electrical safety, as all the route passes through a zone of flooding

After the "perestroika" period the Pioneer camps were closed, the volume of passenger traffic declined and so the line began to fall into decay. In 1993 a fire destroyed station buildings at Komsomolskaya station, and in 1997 at the signal-box Dubki. At roughly the same time buildings at other stations have completely decayed. Nevertheless the line continues to operate. At Komsomolskaya station, a temporary stopping pavilion, presented by the Autosan firm which supplies buses to the city of Orenburg, has been installed instead of a station building.

Autosan's stopping pavilion on the Komsomolskaya station

In May, 1999, the mayor of Orenburg, Gennady Donkovtsev, signed the order "About the sanction to the Orenburg branch ChRW of designing of 4 stations and carriage depot of the Children's Railway". It is possible that in the year 2000 projects for new buildings at all four stations will be ready, under a tripartite contract between the Administration of the Orenburg area, the Administration of Orenburg and the Orenburg branch of the South-Ural railway (YuUZHD). According to this contract the area Administration will acquire 8 coaches (probably of Polish manufacture) and build the depot for rolling stock; the city will design 4 stations and allocate the money to construct one of them (eg Komsomolskaya); the branch railway makes major overhaul of case ChRW (repair has already begun), builds 3 stations, makes major overhaul of the track and two diesel locomotives, restores communication and automatic locking.


The following material was used in the preparation of this account:
  • 25 years Orenburg "Southern Ural Small Railway", Orenburg, "Southern Ural" publishing, 1978
  • Materials given by V.Bojarkin, the instructor Orenburg ChRW
  • Materials of the Central museum of a railway transportation (St.Perersburg)
  • Yandex of quotation
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