0 Stalins Locomotive Rescue Operation

Stalins Locomotive Rescue Operation

Posted on January 8, 2014 by team


The musum of military equipment located in Pyshma, Russia is going to get a new interesting exhibit – a Stalin’s locomotive of the post-war epoch. But the way of the locomotive to the museum is rather hard – it required helicopters, trains, cars, many workers and several months of stay at the polar circle.

The trucks have brought huge fragments of rusty mechanisms to the museum of Pyshma.

Looks like scrap metal but in fact this cargo has a high value. For its delivery dozens of people had been living and working in tundra for months.

In some months skilled restorers will assemble the locomotive “OV” of the Stalin’s epoch from these details.

An ordinary forest at the bank of Taz river. Here, many kilometres away from the nearest settlement, in full isolation, old locomotives have been decaying for years.

In 1947 Joseph Stalin ordered to begin a grand construction of the “death railroad” codenamed 501-503 here on Yamal peninsular.  It had to stretch from Salekhard to Igarka. Historians still argue what the railroad was intended for – fo reasons of strategic defence of the country or for taking natural resources from the north.

It was prisoners of GULAG who were made to build the railroad. They managed to build barracks, a depot, part of the railroad and to bring locomotives to the northern forests. But they did not finished what was started. The construction stopped straight after the death of the leader. The wooden structures, the railroad and the locomotives simply remained to decay under the open northern sky…

Until they aroused interest of the museum. It was decided to disassemble and take away one of the legendary locomotives for its further restoration.

The special operation was started in summer. Specialists came to develop the plan of “evacuation” and to prepare the vehicle for the trip.

First of all, the abandoned locomotives were covered with antirust black lacquer.

Then one of them was disessambled into seven parts to be further transported by helicopter.

To make it all come true the workers spent here in tents more than a week. They unscrewed over a hundred of firmly rusted nuts, cut dozens of rivets off and literally by hands pulled the massive fragments of the locomotive apart. It had not been possible to bring a mobile crane here for this work.

Another group of specialists had to take the demounted parts of the vehicle out from here by air.

They had everything they needed for life in tundra. And they had steel-wire ropes which were used to carry the heavy parts of the locomotive with help of a helicopter to the nearest railway station.

Before the transportation the specialists had to remove all protruding or loose fragments. This is actually why the locomotive, for example, lost its funnel.

Removing ashes remaining in the locomotive since the 50s.

Finally cargo helicopters have come.

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