AP Photos: Russian enthusiast builds his own mini-railway

July 26, 2020 GMT

ULYANOVKA, Russia (AP) — For Pavel Chilin, building his own railway was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

It took the 62-year-old electrical engineer more than 10 years to build a 350-meter (383-yard)-long narrow-gauge railway twisting through the grounds of his steads about 50 kilometers (some 30 miles) outside St. Petersburg. It has various branches, dead ends, circuit loops, and even three bridges.

The design of his steam train is based on a classic example from the early 20th century. Chilin built it with the help of a few other enthusiasts and railway fans, and some neighbors who brought him metal parts and other materials.

Pavel Chilin, left, and Sergei Terekhov prepare his steam locomotive to run along the miniature personal railway in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
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“I’ve been excited about railways and trains since my childhood and always wanted to have my own one,” Chilin said. “Finally, I my dream came true.”

His railway quickly became a hit with both adults and children, who are eager to test the train and enjoy a slow journey.

One of the visitors, 9-year-old Alexei Lebedintsev, was delighted to find that the train was “like a real one.”

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“It was very interesting for me to try this train because I also want to become an engineer,” he said.

Chilin said it took him a lot of resolve and determination to complete the project.

“Another little secret is to switch off your computer and a smartphone for a while in order to be able to concentrate on one important thing,” Chilin said.

He said he and his friends are now busy building a steamboat and are also planning to make a steam plane.

A steam train travels at a private railway near Pavel Chilin's cottage home in Ulyanovka village, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of St.Petersburg, Russia on Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A man plays accordion while riding on Pavel Chilin's miniature steam train in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Pavel Chilin's assistants Sergei Terekhov, center, and Vadim Gukov drive a locomotive on Pavel Chilin's personal railway in Ulyanovka village outside St.Petersburg, Russia on Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A miniature steam train travels along Pavel Chilin's miniature personal narrow-gauge railway twisting through the grounds of his home in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Sergei Terekhov drives a miniature steam train traveling along Pavel Chilin's personal railway in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Pavel Chilin explains to children how his steam locomotive runs along his miniature personal railway in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A miniature steam train runs across a bridge on Pavel Chilin's miniature personal narrow-gauge railway twisting through the grounds of his home in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Pavel Chilin explains to children how his steam locomotive works at his miniature personal narrow-gauge railway twisting through the grounds of his home in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Pavel Chilin drives his steam locomotive along his own miniature personal railway in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A miniature steam train runs across a bridge on Pavel Chilin's miniature personal narrow-gauge railway twisting through the grounds of his home in Ulyanovka village outside St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)