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 - Estonian tour 2007, page 1/2   


Welcome to Estonian rail tour report and dozens of pictures from quite a different place within European Union.

 Heritage in pictures
Estonian Railways Soviet heritage can still be seen almost everywhere. Cyrillics are used on most cars and vast majority of the rolling stock originates in the long past Soviet Union! To learn more on the Estonian railways, please see the Estonian Reference page...  

 The Story
The story starts in Tallinn Harbor one stormy morning, with a car and two journalists. Ride in the twin hull fast boat from Helsinki was very bumpy with open seas waves of almost 8 meters. Our target is to catch as many C3X's originating is the U.S., as possible and continue building a roster section for those. Little do we know that C36's and C30's have mostly disappeared after summer. The pictures of the Google Earth showing reasonably well the C3X's in Narva prove to be obsolete as well. There is not a heard of them in Narva, just 2 examples can be found in the whole city!       

During another tour earlier in the summer 2007 there was so much traffic, that we never got further than Tapa, which is only half way to Narva. Now we start driving towards Narva again and hope to have some time to stop on the way back to see local trains and vintage technology items.

Just east of Tallinn next to roads leaving to Muuga harbor there is a connecting line and the yard between the harbor and the east-west main line. And every time it seems like there is a C36-7i on the bridge! Below you can see the stormy weather conditions... 

Click to enlarge any of the pictures. The target resolution is 2560 pixels wide to enable the use as a backrground pictures and help hobbyistis to find details for modeling on the rolling stock.

If you are from the U.S., you'll probabaly notice that there is only one locomotive on the point of a train although the train is kilometers long. In this case C36-7i is pulling the empties, but since the terrain of Estonia is very flat, it would be quite easy with 43'800 kN / 96'000 lbs tractive effort to keep the train safely rolling.  

Our next picture shows the same 1529 starting the roll down the 2 kilometer long gently sloping hill.

Just 5 minutes later we notice from the high way that there is an unknown monster  sitting indling at the Muuga classification yard. We decide to take a detour and are rewarded with another monster 2Te116 from a company Spacecom gliding past (picture below).  

The above and below pictures show where the Soviet Union era locomotive desing ended. The Transoil 2Te116 number 0696 was built in 1981 according to the builders plate visible on the right side of the b-units cab. The units are of 2250kW and their tractive effort 399kN/248kN at 24/2 km/h. The engine is Kolomna type 1A-5D49 4-stroke V16 diesel engine. More on the 2Te116-technology later on the rolling stock reference. Notice the 1940's era U.S. style radio wire on the roof. Pennsylvania railroad had something similar 60 years ago!     

And below a "friendly face" of the 2Te116.  

We decide to continue east towards Narva, especially since it's raining heavily. The road's in Estonia are fairly good, motorways wide, and even on the crowded Saturday morning driving is easy. On the way, there is an elk wondering about crossing across the motorway, but after the hordes of cars stop to look at it, the elk decides to jump over the 1,5 meter (5 feet) fence (just like that!) and disappears back to the forest. 

The drive proves to be quite uneventful with some observations on shut down rail lines that are still visible on year 2007 map, but do not exist in reality. It seems like the rail lines are either well upgraded with (very) heavy rail and concrete ties, or scrapped. 

Nearing Sillamae we notice an ancient (distantly Alco RS-1 looking) switcher crawling across the main road with a few tank cars. This proves to be a tem2 switcher obviously owned or just used by Sillamae Sadam (Sllamae harbor).

Sillamae itself is said to be the most polluted place in the whole Estonia. This is easy to believe, as it seems to be hard to find the prosperity found in other Estonian cities 15 years after regaining the independence. The concrete fences and many buildings are concretely falling apart and look dangerous. Near harbor there are piles of scrap everywhere. Maybe another 15 years will clean the face of the city?

As a contrast to Sillamae, little bit further the road follows the seaside and there are a dozen WinWind wind mills of 3 MW, many still under construction. Surprisingly, the mills in use are almost completely silent, even with their 50-60 meters (huge) blades turning in the heavy wind! Definitely the product develompment of these Finnish built mills has succeeded very well. Driving a little bit further, well start to see the outline of a mountain, which proves to be manmade seen near. The wind mills are replacing the "burning stone" power stations, with their red and white pipes reaching high into air. More on this subject little bit further.

 City of Narva  
Nearing Narva we notice kilometers of trucks lining up for the Russian customs. In Finland this queue was 50 kilometers long from the border at the end of the September 2007, but here the trucks are scattered around the city so the road is accessible at low speeds. The Russia has regained it's strength by exporting oil, gas, etc. and the ever increasing consumption of the everyday goods is well visible everywhere around it's borders.  

The City of Narva proves to our pleasant surprise be prosperous and in a relatively good shape with lot's of construction work going on.

More on Narva history and geography + huge medieval castles on the both sides of the river later. 

Narva station is located just next to the bridge leading to the Russia. The yards are now quite silent, but it's easy to picture the kilometers long tracks filled with coal hoppers, oil tanks, covered hoppers, difco style dump cars, etc. 

All we manage to find are 2 C36-7i's from Eesti Raudtee, TEP70's and 2TE116's from the Russian railways RZD, and more 2Te116 type monsters from the previously described company Transoil. One below, not surprisingly in a heavy rain...

And a familiar shape of the Eesti Raudtee C36-7i sitting next to service facilities. 

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© Railroad Reference 2007 - Updated 2.10.2007  JMcKey