Standard gauge locomotives in Russia and the Soviet Union
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Standard gauge locomotives in Russia and the Soviet Union

Toms Altbergs

144 pages A4, numerous illustrations, hb.

It is well known that Russia adopted a wider track gauge than most of Europe, less that there were also railways and locomotives of the standard or 1435mm gauge in Russia and the Soviet Union. The first was the Warsaw–Vienna Railway and some associated lines in Poland, then part of Russia. Their first locomotives were supplied from Belgium, Britain and Germany, some as early as 1838.

The First World War and its aftermath brought about many changes to borders and, with it, the regauging of some railways and locomotives. Much the same occurred between 1939 and 1945 when the Germans drafted locomotives from across Europe to operate on lines in the Soviet Union converted to standard gauge. At the end of the war, locomotives from many countries remained on Soviet territory as war booty, and yet more were transferred as war reparations. Many were rebuilt to broad gauge. During the Cold War, hundreds of standard gauge locomotives were stored near the border ready to serve in a possible conflict with the West.

This book reveals and illuminates the unusually complicated but always fascinating story of standard gauge locomotives in the USSR, detailing the origin and fate of locomotives of many nations and types. Based on four decades of research in Russian and other archives, it is illustrated with a wealth of previously unpublished photographs. Historians in many countries have contributed information to Toms Altbergs’ work, which has been edited by Keith Chester.

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