The International Steam Pages

Moscow Retro (Steam) Train 2010

Harvey Smith was based in and around Moscow off and on from 1997 to 2014 and has now moved to St. Petersburg. Apart from this report he has also posted information on other attractions in Moscow and the rest of Russia, there are links at the bottom of the page.

Click here for a report by Thomas Kautzor on the Retro Train in Rostov.

Update (27th October 2011) - Harvey tells me that the Retro Train now starts from Richskaya Station at 13.40 and runs to Podmoskovnaya Depot and back. Tickets can be bought on the day at the station.

James Barlow commented following his visits on 19th and 26th August 2012 (added 24th September 2012):

"There is only one train each Sunday. It leaves Rizhskaya around 1.15pm with 2 coaches attached, both well filled. The last 2 Sundays it has been Er 774 38. It backed into the station, loaded up and was off - it does not hang around for too long. Arrival at Podmoskovnaya Depot was about 15-20 minutes later. Passengers could follow the guide or can just wander around. There were 5 other steam locomotives there, Ov-324 under repair, TE-3182 in the turntable area, LV-0182, and L-3653 and a classmate both in steam, although just simmering really.

Everyone had a chance to go up on the footplate while ER-774-38 was taking on water (from a traditional water crane) and waiting to return. The return trip left Podmoskovnaya at 2.50-3pm and got back to Rizhskaya at around 3.15pm, with the locomotive travelling tender first. On arrival at Rizhskaya, the coaches are fairly soon pulled away by a diesel. ER-774- 38 then waited a good 30-40 minutes before heading back to the Depot. The depot looked very run down. The door to the footbridge over the tracks was not locked.

The return trip costs 700 roubles (GB £14/Euro 17.50/US $22). You can pay on getting on the train. You can also buy tickets in advance at the station but I couldn't work out where. Tea and biscuits are sold cheaply on the outward journey.

Kievskaya Station to Richskaya Station by Steam on 11 July 2010

This was a trip organized by the tour company Orfey - 

Sadly they have not yet realized the potential market for British enthusiasts. So the websites are in Russian and the on board guide is in Russian. But they are well organized. The guide was very informative. The train was just 2 carriages and ER-774-38, which is the final manifestation of the Class E series built from 1935 to 1957.

Class ER s were built in plants in the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania. The ďRĒ stands for reconstructed. 2716 were built, and they had a different appearance. Only one elongated dome to the boiler in lieu of three on the EU and EM. There were forward pointing steps to the front, no access platform on the front of the locomotive, and an absence of handrails. The ER have the boiler from the SU passenger locomotive with a larger firebox and hence larger grate area of 5.1m2 and a higher superheat.

We started at Kievskaya at 10.30am and the trip lasted for 2 hours around the Moscow Railway Ring. I think a railway ring in any city is brilliant for diverting traffic and redirecting it. It is a great shame I know of none in the UK. Due to crowds there was some difficulty in getting a photo at Kievskaya so get there by 10.00 at the latest. It is worth it since with the huge enclosed barrel roof in the background behind the locomotive makes a fine photo. The Russians were happy to let people in the cab. At the other end, at Richskaya Station, this was encouraged and the fire opened for all to view. The coaches were old but clean and plenty of old steam photos adorned them. My favourite being of a woman railway worker holding out a staff to a passing locomotive.

We set off to on a very jerky but powerful ride. Class E s were 2 cylinder freight locomotives. They were basic powerful machines. So the ride during periods of acceleration is jerky. But so what that is what I went for. The guide knew his stuff and pointed out small details along the way including a Gaz (Model Ford A) truck plinthed near an old automotive factory and a Class L steam locomotive apparently in working condition at a depot at Platforma Krasni Baltiets which is near Sokol metro station on the green line. There was a nice big turntable there to. The Russians have sensibly kept their turntables. They did not waste money on new sheds for diesels and kept the round houses. I also got some fine views over the river from bridges and my best shots of the new Moscow city yet. The seats were split 50:50 between those pointing backwards and those pointing inwards. Views were on both sides. Refreshments were served. We had to stop for an unexpected stop. The staff allowed us off the train. I recommend taking a good camera. I managed to get shots through some girder bridges by using the multi-take facility on my camera. The staff did not want us on the tracks at the interim stop so a good zoom to zoom in from a distance was a help. I got a rare side on shot of the locomotive in steam. We got to Richskaya station, which is delightful. It has trees on the platforms and the most delightful Russian architecture. See my previous report. After 30 minutes the locomotive set off with another set of passengers in reverse.

I had previously been to the Moscow Railway museum at Richskaya. But I had 2 places I still wanted to go. The model shop in the Russian railways office opposite the museum and the fine model railway. The model shop also sells magazines in Russian on old and new aspects of Russian railways, as well as railway modeling. There are now sections in some of these magazines in English. The model railway is a great computer controlled affair. I was fascinated by the railway models, since many are clearly scratch-built. OO models of Russian Railways stock are something of a rarity. The layout comprised a huge central station, two dock areas and an airport. Other models are contained in the same room, including a model of a road and rail bridge in the Amur region in the Russian far east and an approximately 1.5-2m long model of a P36 locomotive made in 2007 at Kolomna works to celebrate 170 years of Russian Railways.

The metro is on the other side of the road but reached through a tunnel. This map may be useful.


After, you might consider walking to the Museum of The Soviet Armed Forces to see the armoured Ov locomotive, which is visible through the fence or may be the walk down the Leningradskaya to see Leninís coach.

Practical details:

The train runs on the second Sunday of every month  and costs just over 1000 Roubles per person which is about 20 pounds. As Harvey says, a bargain compared to British prices on heritage railways and mainline steam tours. You can book a ticket up to a month in advance at Polezaevskaya metro station on the purple line. See It is a little tricky to find as the office is not sign posted. So take a mobile phone to ask them (in Russian) for directions. On this occasion the train was comfortably full - about 70%.

Kievskaya Station and cab view:

The Moscow River

ER-774-38 at Richskaya and Harvey's lovely wife, Natalya, who organised the trip as a birthday present.

Return from Richskaya

The models


Rob Dickinson