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

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Leningrad 1948-1964

Steam locomotive PT-4-089 (PT-02)
Length: 8.1 kms
3 stations: Kirovskaya, Zoopark, Ozernaya
Signaling: Token ring system
Rolling stock: 3 steam engine, 1 diesel locomotive, 1 light motor trolley, 9 coaches, 2 baggage vans, up to 10 flatcars. (details see below)

The decision to construct a ChRW in Leningrad was accepted even before WW2. However, implementation of the decision started only in 1947. The choice of the site was probably determined by the plan to construct a new zoo in the Udelnaya area in due course, as the line was intended to connect the Central park of Culture and Rekreation Kirov named (CPKiO, Elagin island), which was very popular at that time, with the zoo. You see, in those days Udelnaya was a rather quiet suburb which you could get to only by a tram, yes a local train from the Finnish station. That is - you go either to the Central park, or to the new zoo and so the line would offer an opportunity to visit two places in one day.

By 1948 a total of 8.1 km of track and three stations had been constructed: Kirovskaya (near to the CPKiO, approximately where the Novaya Derevnya Metro station now stands), the Zoopark (close behind the 2nd Nikitinsky street in Kolomyaghy at Dmitry Solunsky's church, which despite its proximity to the big community of the rising generation of Soviet people was never closed) and Ozernaya ("Lake") (the unique existing survivor of the original MOZD). Kirovskaya was the line's main station, and its management's offices were nearby.

The plans for the line included provision for the construction of a Strelka station - opposite to the point of Elagina island (CPKiO), to which a foot bridge should be built. The Kirovskaya station was intended to be temporary. It was also planned to construct 2 halts - Pionerskaya and Yuniy ("Youth") (Yuniy was constructed later, but at a slightly different place - a little farther from Ozernaya).

The most difficult site of the line was on the approach to the Zoopark station from Kirovskaya - a very steep slope of about 20 / (up an ancient ledge along the Pro-Baltic coast), which steam locomotives were sometimes unable to climb at the first attempt. Both of the MOZD's routes (Kirovskaya - Zoopark, about 4.7 km, and Zoopark - Ozernaya, about 2.8 km) were equipped with an electric token-ring system, and train movements were controlled by semaphore signals.

track-plan
track plan caption: If you want to see how the track layout at a station evolved, put the cursor on its name and click Kirovskaya station Zoopark station Ozernaya station

The line was constructed in a very short time. This was faciltated because a significant part of the route (beween the Zoopark and Ozernaya) occupied the site of the former pre-revolutionary Ozerkovsky line (Seaside Railway). At construction of the line the old earthen track-bed was used. On the October Small railway even today it is possible to see rails on which the year of manufacture is 1878, 1892, 1901… and to come across many trophy rails with inscriptions in German.

The formal opening of the Small October railway, under the name of 30th-anniversary VLKSM, was held on August 28, 1948, and it carried its first passengers the same day. Although the foreseen zoo was never constructed, since then the children's railway has worked and pleased the Leningrad children.

Steam locomotive VP-1-170

Steam locomotive VP-1-170 on Kirovskaya station. (foto by J.H.Price, July 14, 1957)

In the 1950s certain options for construction of an extension of the line to serve the Svetlanovsky area of the zoo, where there should be a station with provisional name Pioneergorodok, were considered. Two variants for the line were proposed (see the diagram), including construction of a Zoopark-II station with locomotive depot. There were even plans for the electrification of this line. But these plans were not realized. So the October Small railway existed unchanged down to 1964.

The following rolling stock ran on the line in those years:

  • Steam locomotives PT-4-088 and PT-4-089, equipped with autobrakes. They were received from the Baltflot base somewhere near Tallin and on the MOZD they were designated PT-01 and PT-02 accordingly (see the photo at the top of page)
  • Steam locomotive VP-1-170, which also was equipped with autobrakes (in the photo above)
  • 3 20-tonne passenger coaches (probably war trophy). MOZD numbers 01, 02, 03
  • 1 coach converted to soft class, № 04 (on MOZD since 1949)
  • 2 class coaches of the end of the XIX century, № 05, 06
  • 3 coaches of easy type (8 tonns), № 08, 09, 010
  • 2 baggage cars converted from covered vans (formerly used as a storeroom for line equipment) and covered vans like "teplushka"
  • Between 5 and 10 flatcars for freight
  • The light motor trolley TD-5U (a demountable section car with a motorcycle engine), which was received after 1949
  • Diesel locomotive TU2-167 (it was received in 1958, directly from the factory)

The carriages were coupled together in 2 trainset; one train of 3 twenty-tonne cars, the other of the remaining 6. All cars are painted matt-dark blue color.

All rolling stock except for diesel locomotive TU2-167 was removed from operation at the end of the 1964 season.

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