The International Steam Pages

Steam in Southern Russia, January 2016

Richard Brown sent me a list of news items about this area in December 2015. He has now provided a detailed update on the various steam locomotives in the Tikhoretsk area. There is a further update for May 2016.

UK citizens should note that while Tikhoretsk is not 'listed' by the Foreign Office unfortunately it recommends against travel to Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia where many of the special trains run.

The Tikhoretsk Steam Fleet:

Working Order

P36-0218 - Restored to working order 2014. Had been used previously for excursions in the 90’s. Currently used on excursions from Rostov.
SU250-64 – Long time resident of the area, originally as a memorial at Kropotkin. Restored to working order about 2000 (Kropotkin acquired L-0239 as a replacement) and has been used for excursions since then with a few gaps for repairs. Currently located in Rostov Museum (presumably only for the winter).
LV-0233 - Came from the reserve base at Urdoma in 2009. Currently used on excursions from Rostov. Restored to working order in 2010. Has been used on local freight trips including one where it hauled 4,000 tons! 
L-0073 – Came from Chir Reserve Base 2006 (Volgograd Region), restored to working order 2014.
L-2055 – Oil fired, came from Chir Reserve Base. Restored to working order 2006. Disappeared in 2009 but back in working order late 2015.
L-5259 – Oil fired, formerly based in Moscow. Overhauled at Tikhoretsk in 2013 and has remained in the area. Seems to be normally based further east, possibly in Mineralnye Vody.
L-5282 – Oil fired, restored to working order in 2008. Had its cab replaced after a fire, presumably associated with oil firing, between 2009 and 2013. Normal L cab has a curve between cab front and roof but now has right angle join.
ER-769-17 – Restored to working order in 2011 after a prolonged restoration. 
ER-739-99 – Restored to working order 2014. Originally displayed at Rostov Museum, then as a memorial in Volgograd. Recovered in 2013. Currently located in Rostov Museum (presumably only for the winter).
ER-797-15 – Restored in 2007, used for local excursions. Used in 2013 to replace local diesel roster for crew training.
FD20-1679 – this locomotive is actually FD20-1562. The two locos appeared to have swapped identities prior to the restoration of 1562: 
This is the real FD20-1679: 
Different ‘cowcatcher’, different chimney! Restoration commenced in late 2014. The loco required extensive work on the firebox and combustion chamber, a new cab and virtually a new tender tank. Currently located in Rostov Museum (presumably only for the winter).
9P-22518 – Restoration started in 2010, finished in 2013. Required extensive firebox repairs. Now the shed pet, probably in steam most days.

Non-Working Order:

SU252-20 – formerly a memorial at Bataisk. Now being restored to working order. Extensive corrosion found. Replaced at Bataisk by L-3155.
ER-775-04 – Stored outside.
ER-774-98 – Was used as stationary boiler.
L-0074 – From Morozovsk reserve base, formerly at Rostov reserve base. Probably to be used as a memorial at Derbent, Dagestan.
L-1177 – From Chir reserve base. To be used as a memorial at Adler (Sochi).
L-2046 – From Morozovsk reserve base, now a memorial at Nazran.
L-3155 – From the Chir reserve base, to be the replacement for SU252-20 at Bataisk station.
L-4132 – From Morozovsk reserve base.

The major factor that determines a locomotive’s future in Russia is the state of the tyres. Russian Railways does not currently have the means to fit new tyres over around a metre in diameter. This may change in the future, but without this facility, the future of working steam in Russia is bleak; Tikhoretsk has recently fitted new tyres (Russian made) to Gr-185, a 750mm loco used on the Rostov Children’s Railway, so they do have the technology. The same loco also received a new boiler (made in Czech Republic). A ground lathe has also recently been installed in the depot. At present, locos with thin tyres are used as memorials. One, L-5231, a former working loco in Moscow was cut up in 2014: 
Its tender survived.

Locally, all the reserve bases are now empty of steam locos. There may be other ER and L type locos stored at Tikhoretsk, which are listed on but there is no photographic evidence to support this. L-2055 was out of sight for six years, so who knows? For the answer to L-2055's whereabouts see the May 2016 update.

Rob Dickinson