The International Steam Pages

A St. Petersburg Railway Miscellany

After many years in Moscow, Harvey Smith relocated to St. Petersburg in 2014. There is a list of linked reports at the bottom.

This page is what the title says, the first two items have been on this site for quite a while and Harvey will add to them as he makes new discoveries. The latest additions are Er785.49 (2nd February 2015), more pictures of Vitebsk station (13th March 2015) and the grave of Nikolai Shukin who was the designer of the E class 0-10-0s..

Finlandia Station

1. At Finlandia Station (Metro station: Ploshad Lenina), you can find a Finnish locomotive. This page originally stated incorrectly that it brought Lenin back from exile. Harvey now tells me that in fact H2-293 is the locomotive on which Vladimir Lenin illegally crossed the border into Finland on 10 August 1917 and then illegally returned to Russia on 7 October 1917, following the issue by the Provisional Government of a warrant for the arrest of the Bolshevik leaders. Lenin was the locomotives fireman for these two trips.

The staff let me on the platform without charging, so they may let you as well.

H2- 293 is the sole surviving example of the Finnish Class H locomotive type. The significance for the railway enthusiast is that by some supreme irony of history the Communists managed to preserve a rare piece of American industrial history.

The Richmond Locomotive Works began operating in 1887 and in 1901 was one of several producers which merged to form ALCOafter which it became Alco-Richmond. Then in September 1927 ALCO closed the works. There is just one odd detail I looked and I could not find the builder’s plate anywhere. Perhaps it exists, but perhaps the Communist’s wanted to keep the locomotives origins secret.

Of the locomotive produced by Richmond Locomotive works prior to merger in 1901 there are only 2 known examples:

Serial Number 

Wheel Arrangement

Build Date

Operational Owner

Current Location




Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railway #769

The Old Coal Mine Museum, Madrid, New Mexico, USA




Suomen Valtion Rautatiet (Finnish Railways) # H2-293

Finland Station, St.Petersburg, Russia

2. Vitebsk Station (Metro stations: Tekhnologicheskiy Institut and Pushkinskaya). The building itself - on the site of Russia’s first railway terminus - is splendid in the Style Moderne of 1904. On the western side, on a raised area at platform level, in a glass case, you can find a mock up of 'Provorny' (= "'Agile') one of Russia’s first locomotives. The original was built by Robert Stephenson. It commenced operation in October 1937 between St. Petersburg and nearby Tsarkoe Selo, being the country's first working mainline locomotive.

As of March 2018, 'Provorny' has moved and is (temporarily) located at the Southern Children's Railway. the depot at the southern end in Tsarskoye Selo. The local mainline station would appear to have been renamed "Detskoselskaya". Mainline suburban trains run from Vitebsk Station. You buy the tickets from a cabin at the end of the western most platform.

Harvey adds (21st January 2018), there is  a second replica at Novosibirsk man station

Harvey has since been back on 8th March 2015. He reports, "The loco is behind the barrier but the nice lady on duty at the barrier let me through and back to photograph the replica loco. Since my last visit 9 years ago, on 30th October 2007 in honor of the 170th anniversary of the Russian railways, they unveiled a new statue of Franz Anton Ritter von Gerstner. He was the Austrian engineer who initiated the idea of the St.Petersburg - Tsarskoye Selo Railway and main line railways in general across Russia. He drew up the plans of the St.Petersburg - Tsarskoye Selo Railway."

These are the replica coaches:

 3. Saint Petersburg Railway Technical College Er785.49 (Oil)

She is not so far from the Moscow Sort depot in St.Petersburg

Go to Lomonsovkaya metro station on the green line.

Enter this in Google maps and you will go straight to her. 
Kursy Povysheniya Kvalifikatsii Tekhnikov I Rabochikh
ул. Седова, 56

There is a photo here -

There is an electric train factory opposite. Do not be tempted to explore it. As of 25 January 2015 there was nothing interesting in it. The security on the front gate was efficient. I followed the tracks down the side that lead to the Moscow Sort depot (see link above) and they were complete overgrown with saplings in the tracks. I struggled through this jungle. The 2 gates at the rear were not so well guarded but nothing is visible.

You are better off going straight to the Moscow Sort depot.

ER-785.49 is plinthed with a van and diesel locomotive . Steps lead up to the diesel cabin so I guess that it is used for training.

Nikolai Shukin was responsible for the Russian Class E locomotive the most numerous locomotive class in the world at slightly less than 11,000 built. His grave in at the Novodevichy Cemetery, St.Peterbsurg. Not to be confused with the cemetery of the same name in Moscow. The Cemetery is behind some Orthodox churches which lie on Moskovski Prospect. Frunzenskaya or Moskovskie Varota (Moscow Gate) metro stations are the nearest. This could easily be combined to a visit to the Grand Maket. Nikolai Shukin's Grave is to the right as you enter. The grave reads "Inventor of the Russian Steam Locomotive"

At the time of Harvey's visit in October 2016 there was a wreath on the grave laid by Russian Railways. A nice touch indeed!

See also:

Rob Dickinson