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Russian Retro Steam Train Returns to the Tracks

An old-fashioned steam-engine locomotive is back on the tracks in Tver region making it the first steam-powered scheduled train in Russia since 1976.

The train is amusing passengers on Bologoye station in Tverskaya region (about 350 kilometers from Moscow). It began to run again last autumn: first steam-powered scheduled train in Russia since 1976.

The railway line from Bologoye to Ostashkov was built in 1907. It used to be a strategic route but today it's very quite and just some diesel-electric trains circulate here.

Which turned out to be in favour for this project. Though this area was under Nazi's bomb attacks during World War II, many historical buildings along the tracks remained intact, have never been modernized and look exactly the same as 100 years ago when the steam era has just began. On September 29, 2018 they all heard a familiar sound of a train whistle.

Since then every Saturday one of two steam locomotives pulls two coaches from Bologoye to Ostashkovo. It runs 113 kilometers - about 3.5 hours one way. Tickets cost about 300 rubles ($4.5) - the same price as for electric train but with additional features. For instance, all attendants and the train master himself are dressed up in historical uniform of the 1940s.

The steam train was brought back on route by local enthusiast, head of Russian Railroad Amateurs Society Alexey Voulfov. Former locoman himself, he persuaded the Russian Railway company (RZD) to take a chance. They choose this line so relatively slow steam trains (60 kilometers per hour) won't interrupt traffic. And it's a beautiful area, too, - Alexey Voulfov explained: "I took a ride along this road for the first time in winter, and the second time it was in spring, when everything was blooming and the forest was all around, and it sank deep into my heart for good."

Old-fashioned steam trains are becoming more and more popular in Russia. One of the biggest railway museum in St. Petersburg occasionally runs steam train tours.