Russian man making own steam train, and tracks, to enjoy in back yard

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Terry Pratchett would be proud. :slight_smile:

Terry Pratchett, Raising Steam


Delightful. Another wonderful thing!


We need to get these two guys together…


What happened to building a model railway in your basement? :smiley:
Seriously, that’s pretty dang cool. :slight_smile:


On my wife’s sixtieth birthday, I got her a “drive a steam engine” experience from East Lancashire Railways . You should have seen her… She was jumping up and down like a little kid. She is SO into steam engines. They also took us on a tour around the resoration sheds. They have engines, coaches and odd bits and pieces that have been there for decades, and are still being restored. It can take that long. The people who own them - yes, own them - seem to be millionaires and/or aging rock stars. It takes serious money to run an operation like that. The “Driver’s Experience” was expensive, and it’s eye-opening to understand that the major cost was the coal. They had to start firing up the engine at two in the morning to have it ready for eight o’clock that day. All credit to this guy for making his own engine, but he must have some serious resources himself, to have laid whatever, fifty feet of track with junctions.


That’s quite a narrow gauge. Interoperability with other railways could be a problem. /s


This hobby is collectively referred to as “live steam” and millions of folks are into it. It’s a common trajectory for hobby machinists, because steam engines are a sweet spot of something you can build with basic machine shop skills, while also being functional and awesome. Most private citizens don’t build locomotives as large as this man, because most developed countries have tight regulatory controls on large boilers. You need to be certified to build them over a certain size and they need to be inspected and approved regularly (for obvious good reasons). However steam is so efficient that it doesn’t take a very large one to build a vehicle that can pull you around in delightful fashion.

The most common route into this hobby is to buy casting kits. A company makes the cast iron parts (which are pretty prohibitive to DIY) and you make all the other parts and do all the machining. These kits range in scale from little bookshelf stationary engines all the way up to one quarter replicas of real mainline locomotives, accurate to every detail. These larger kits cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and can take decades to complete. All for the love of steam. Plus you need somewhere to run them, and laying track is a huge amount of work. This is typically where the clubs come in. Join our club, run your locomotive on our rails, etc.

Thus concludes your context for this particular Wonderful Thing. Boing on.


I for one welcome our Russian overlords.

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Like any good piece of Russian technology, looks kludgey, works perfectly.


That’s so awesome! What a great experience.

I got together with my dad for his birthday a few years ago at a full-sized steam operation in Tennessee. We just rode as passengers, then we were sitting around in the cafe after, looking at their literature and it said Cab Rides $20 Add’l. I was like holy shit, we have to, we’re here now, there’s no way we can pass this up, we may never pass this way again, etc. etc. So we took another ride, this time up front. Something I’ve wanted all my life but never thought I would do. It was so cool, and a reminder that there can be something unexpectedly great around any corner.

The engineer was a type-A, cock of the walk, captain on deck kind of guy, which was funny because he had no idea who he’d let into the cab. My half-Aspie dad knows all the train stuff. No matter where the engineer steered the talk (while driving the train) my dad casually replied making it clear he already knew all about that. I was like, that’s my dad. I wish I’d shot video for that alone


She shovelled a fair bit of coal that day. She said the best bit was blowing the whistle.
I got to ride on the footplate for half-an-hour or so, too.


Want. Want. Want him as a neighbor.


I like how even the heading for this piece sounds Russian. Good job!

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Time for a training montage!

A common issue for Russian railways:


The changeover is interesting, at least. I’ve traveled between Romania and Moldova a couple of times. They allow passengers to stay in the carriages while they change out the wheel trucks (terminology?).

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