Locomotive-monument on Ambarnaya river has no northern experience
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Locomotive-monument on Ambarnaya river has no northern experience

March 29, 2022

All Norilsk residents know the collection of railway rarities, which stands near the building of the former railway station.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. This steam locomotives collection began to be created in the summer of 1992, when a narrow-gauge Gr-274 steam locomotive was installed at the bridge over the Ambarnaya river on the Railwayman Day in memory of the first and most difficult years of the Norilsk Railway (NZhD) construction.

The place was not chosen by chance. It was at the Ambarnaya station in 1937 that the rails of the Norilsk-Dudinka narrow-gauge railway under construction from both sides closed.

Seven steam locomotives of the Gr series ran in Norilsk during the entire existence of the narrow gauge railway – from 1939 to 1952. All of them were received from Germany as compensation to the Soviet Union for the destroyed economy. In 1953, after the transition of the NZhD to a broad gauge, those Norilsk steam locomotives were sent to the mainland, to the existing narrow gauge railways.

In the late 1980s, the railway workers decided to set a monument to the NZhD builders, and then they began to look for a suitable narrow-gauge steam locomotive throughout the former Soviet Union.

Here is how Nikolay Yakushin, curator of the Norilsk Railway Museum, recalled it:

“The Norilsk railway workers, going on vacations and business trips, were ordered to find a suitable narrow-gauge steam locomotive. It was found in the ukrainian Gayvoron. They paid for the steam locomotive as for scrap metal, and gave a Belarus tractor in addition”.

Our locomotive-monument does not have its own northern experience. But it is the twin brother of real Taimyr Gr-type steamer. Initially, it was supposed to become only a small part of a large memorial complex in honor of the railway builders.

Nearby, they planned to set a monument-stele and a symbolic bent rail with years of narrow-gauge construction. But the 1990s turned out to be not the best time for monuments, and the memorial complex did not happen to appear.

In the last issue of the History Spot photo project, we told about how nails were made from electrode cinders at the Mechanical plant.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

March 29, 2022

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