The International Steam Pages

Podmoskovnaya Depot, Moscow, 2010 - 2013

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.

Not that there is a later report from Harvey, see the link above.

Harvey reports (24th June 2013) that there have been some changes here.

Part of the depot has been cleared for some redevelopment. New sheds for railway purposes have been constructed. The sidings behind the round house with items awaiting restoration have been removed. The modern workshop where I found Su 214-10 in 2010 has also been demolished. The round house workshops are very much in operation. I can report finding the following:

  • L-2057 Restored

  • L-2344 Operable

  • L-3653 Restored and in workshop

  • L-3654 Under restoration in the workshops

  • L-4045 A newcomer and under restoration

  • LV-0182 Operable

  • EU-680-70 A newcomer and under restoration

  • TE-3162 awaiting restoration

  • A blue crane with the number 429

  • A Blue Carriage

  • There was no sign of the green wooden bodied carriage, green (former) steam crane, and LV-0522

Compare this view with the one below taken in 2010:

(18th March 2013 update) In early 2013, Harvey reported increased security designed to prevent casual access. At the same time he reported seeing the following at work:

L-3653 17th, 23rd and 24th February 2013
L-2344 24th Feb 2013
L-2057 8th March 2013

William Yoder begs to differ on the subject of access saying "The electric locals stopping at Krasny Baltiisk (nearest station) originate at Kurskaya or Rizhskaya station. It's only a few meters from the locomotive depot. Just climb up onto the high footbridge and head south. If the steps down onto the depot territory are locked, then one will need to walk the whole length of the bridge, then turn left, walk past a good 150 meters of storage sheds and enter through the gate on the southeast edge of the depot grounds." As Harvey has said below he finds these trains less convenient. It seems it may depend on where in Moscow you are coming from and whether you can find a map to show where the metro intersects with this line.

Keith Chambers adds "I followed the directions given on your site from Sokol metro station, found the statue of Lenin but then became lost missing the depot and walking a long way past it. I would recommend that visitors walking from this metro station Google 'mapcarta' 'Stantsiya Podmoskovnaya'. The metro station at Sokol is shown as is the locomotive depot which shows up well when you zoom in as a quarter roundhouse & is close to 'Locomotiv Stadion' which is labelled if you change to 'street' view. It is north east of the metro station and takes about 10-15 minutes to walk."

Harvey was back here on 27th May 2012 and reports that after almost a year developments are exciting.

L 3653 is now restored and was running around with a group of parents and children. Such trains can regularly be found running between Richski station and Podmoskovnaya Depot on Sundays between 1.00 and 4.00pm on Sundays. You get a great view from the footbridge at Podmoskovnaya Depot. Where else could you see giant 5foot gauge 2-10-0 running on the main line and be able to stand and watch within just metres?
The other interesting news is that TE 3162 from Roslavl reserve is under restoration. I was told that it may be used in a film. The TE is a modified German DRB 52 Kriegslok. TE-3162 is an oil burner! It also has the Russian rooflight on the roof of the cab.

The full roll call of locos is:

  • ER-774-38 outside the round house and very much operable.

  • L-3348 in poor condition (a runner in 2010)

  • L-3653 Operable and actually running (note it was under restoration in 2011)

  • L-3958 in Barry Condition

  • L-5231 in poor condition (a runner in 2011).

  • LV-0182 Operable

  • LV 0522 in 'Barry Condition, this is said to have been the last steam locomotive built in Russia.

  • TE-3162 under restoration and lacking some running gear

Note that L-2344 is 'missing', presumably on duty elsewhere as LV-0182 was a year before. Also there is now a (former?) steam crane buried right at the back of the yard behind the round house. It is in very poor condition with no identifying markings.

Here is the TE and the crowds present around L-3653:

Tim Littler comments "Whilst I was in Moscow I was told that Roslavl depot no longer has any steam or a reserve but that Podmoskovnaya had 12 locos plus P36-0031. The following other steam locomotives have been reported in the area in recent years to make up the dozen 4674 (8/11), 5289 (11/11) / ER797.41 (11/11), 682.87 (5/11), 684.89 (1/09)."

Harvey has provided this update for locos present on 10th June 2011: Note the changes, but LV 0182 was back here a month later!

  • ER-774-38 Operable, protruding from the round house

  • ER797-41 tender only near the turntable

  • L-2344 Operable, in steam ready for the morning

  • L-3653 in workshop under renovation. Dilapidated

  • L-5259 Operable, in steam ready for the morning

  • L-5231 on the tracks near the workshop. Needs a paint job.

  • LV-0522 "out the back in a yard behind the round house"

This has to be the second best place to go for steam locomotives in Moscow after the Richskaya Railway Museum. You might even see a locomotive in steam.

As of 1 August 2010, when I visited,  Podmoskovnaya Depot has the following steam roster:

  • ER-774-38 (Operable) My wife and I rode behind it.

  • L-2344 (Operable)

  • L-3348 (Operable)

  • L-5231 (appears to be under restoration)

  • L-5259 (Operable)

  • LV-0182 (Operable)

  • SU214 10 (from Kievskaya Railway Station, currently under restoration) - this is now complete and the locomotive is at Richskaya Railway Museum (26th October 2011).

Apart from Su 214 10 the others are from Roslavl Depot.

The depot appears on the Russian Wikipedia websiteПодмосковная (станция) (Note, I have a 10 year old HTML editor you'll have to copy and paste this link). 

The depot is very easy to get to. Take the green metro line to Sokol (or Cokol in Russian). Perhaps admire the fine metro station. Come out of the station (turn right at the shopping centre door and go up the steps), and then walk due north. Follow your nose through the maze of residential streets. You might even find the statue of Lenin that I found (turn left if you do!). Keep the sun to your right and you should finally get to the railway line. Look for a large footbridge. Walk over the footbridge and about a third of the way across you will find the old depot buildings to your right with a staircase conveniently descending to the left.

Alternatively, you can get the train to the local suburban station from Richskaya Railway Station, but I would not recommend that on a Sunday. In one hour I did not see a single suburban train. The local station is Platforma Krasni Baltiets

One word of warning; photographing railway installations and metro stations is still illegal in Russia. But the law is generally ignored. Russians are generally respectful to westerners and foreigners in general, and quite often very friendly. But it does help to be discrete and keep your camera concealed in a bag and to be respectful. When officials appeared I asked permission to take my photographs in a very respectful manner and they agreed. I hope all others do the same, and that our interest is not spoilt by a few.

When I was there L-5231 was standing outside the pre-revolutionary depot buildings. These buildings and the water tower are of note and interest as they are some of the oldest to be found around Moscow and between Moscow and the Polish Border. Such is the price of war. They are architectural gems in their own right. L-5231 was a bit dilapidated and evidently lined up for restoration. Some of the motion was missing, but clearly well greased. I proceeded passed the small war memorial and the apple trees. Also of interest, since one of the benefits of a worker peasant state is that the management provide the staff with apple trees. A nice touch I think, and very typical. I continued to the turntable and roundhouse. This is still used. The Russians had enough forethought to keep some turntables and use the roundhouses for the maintenance of diesels. On the way back I saw a diesel being turned. I then walked through an arch and continued between the new maintenance shed on the right and the side wall of the roundhouse on the left. L-5259 (oil burner) and L-2344 (coal burner) were between the two buildings. L-2344 looked particularly fine and possessed some of its CCCP emblems on the cab, plus polished copper straps over the boiler. I then continued over the road to a yard behind an old steel gate. There I was reunited with ER-774-38 and found L-3348 and LV-0182. The tender of SU214-10 was also there. I found SU-214-10 in the new maintenance shed. The builder’s plate on the steam dome shows that it was built in 1930. When running it might well be the oldest operating locomotive in Russia. It is important since it is the only complete Su in Moscow. Richskaya Railway Museum is without an Su, which is a serious omission. The Su is regarded as the last truly Russian Steam locomotive designed before the US influence in Russian design came into effect. There is a tenderless Su at the Sacco Venzetti factory, which I personally hope finds its way to the Richskaya Railway Museum.

The depot...

Su 214-10

L- 5231



L-5259 and ER-774-38.

Editor's note:

All of which begs the question as just where and when these L class earn a living. And equally, given the historical significance of Russia's railways and the steam locomotive in particular, there must be a large number of such beasts being looked after all over the country and what we read about in English must represent 'the tip of the iceberg'. I am sure Harvey would welcome snippets of information which he can do his best to follow up, although it is a vast country.


Rob Dickinson