Welsh narrow gauge on wish list as UK-Russian link strengthened


By Geoff Courtney

CLOSER links between British narrow gauge preservationists and their counterparts in Russia are set to be forged in April, when a small delegation from the former Eastern Bloc country visits the UK.

Sergei Dorozhkov and Dmitrii Kalinovskii, two narrow gauge enthusiasts and specialists from one of Russia’ s leading railway museums, will fly into England to attend the annual meeting of the New Europe Railway Heritage Trust in London on April 7, and plan to follow this with visits to Bressingham Steam Museum and Southwold Railway Trust before returning home on April 12.

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Ready to go: Restored No. Ft-4-028, the only survivor of its class, is readied for work at Russia’s 750mm gauge Pereslavl Narrow Gauge Railway Museum. The 0-6-2T, built by Tampella of Finland (works No. 559) in 1945, operated at a tufa (a variety of limestone) quarry in Armenia before being withdrawn and preserved in 1969 and subsequently donated to the then new Pereslavl Museum in 1990, so becoming the museum’s first locomotive. ARTHUR BERZIN

Sergei, who is director of the Pereslavl Narrow Gauge Railway Museum 75 miles north-east of Moscow, is no stranger to our shores, having visited in 1997, during which time he experienced first-hand the operations of some of the Welsh narrow gauge lines, while a further visit in 1999 saw him visit the 2ft 6in gauge Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway.

“We have also developed co-operation and the exchange of ideas with preservation groups across Europe, including Germany, Finland, Poland and the Baltic states,” he said. “One result of this was the publication of the first volume in both Russian and English of a major reference book on Russian narrow gauge locomotives, and now we are working on two more volumes.”

Of the Welsh narrow gauge scene, he said: “All the comprehensive and diverse expertise is of great value and importance, and is worth our studying and analysing for possible implementation in Russia. In many regions of our country, new young administrative teams have come to power with a more developed outlook and modern attitude.

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