By Geoff Courtney
Railway preservationists in the UK are set to forge closer links with their Russian counterparts following a nationwide conference in the former Soviet country.
The inaugural all-Russia narrow-gauge forum, held in November in Ekaterinburg – Russia’s fourth-largest city located in the Ural Mountains in the west of the country – was hosted by the Sverdlovsk Railway, a 4500-mile long section of the iconic Trans-Siberian line.
The location for the landmark two-day event was an educational centre in the grounds of a 1¾-mile 750mm gauge steam railway, close to which a narrow gauge museum is currently nearing completion after being founded in 2013 by local railway officials and enthusiasts.
With the support of the Sverdlovsk Railway, the museum has acquired rolling stock and a number of locomotives, including a veteran vertical-boilered 0-4-0 steam tram with British connections and a Class P24 0-8-0 from Moscow. The 0-4-0, which was brought to the museum from Volgograd – formerly Stalingrad – was built at the turn of the 19th century by Cockerill, an iron, steel and manufacturing company founded in 1825 in Liege, Belgium, by British industrialist William Cockerill and his family.
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