Wrench Sizzles And Doesn't Twist

Far gatehouse on the edge of the path

The sound of wheels. This is a typical phenomenon on the railway, its eternal symbol, most often perceived by people either romantically or purely prosaically. Under the knock of wheels it’s good to think and dream. And another passenger is annoyed; “If only there was less of this knock, so as not to interfere especially with resting.” That’s all.

This knock can tell a lot only to an experienced ear.

. In the late 1950s, a handsome steam locomotive of the PZ6 series sparkling with dark blue varnish, ready for departure with the Red Arrow courier train Leningrad. Moscow, came the master of the inverter (in the old the railway) Placing himself in a spacious booth of a steam locomotive, he pulled out an ordinary faceted glass from his bag and poured water from the locomotive drinking kettle almost to the brim. Then he put the glass on a perfectly flat place at the tender, and he himself sat on the “perfume” (“saddle”) next to the driver. The steam engine rushed into the night, went to the stage and raced at a speed of "over a hundred". over 100 km / h, without slowing it down almost anywhere. The master silently rode next to the driver and “listened to the way”. it was the sound of the wheels, listening to every small blow, an impulse. At such moments, he glanced at the glass. had water spilled out of it? If this happened, he took out a notebook, pen and asked the driver: “Where are we going, Ivan Yegorych?” He called him a kilometer, a picket, and the master wrote down in a book. Sometimes, the drivers themselves said to the railway masters who rode with them: “Listen to this place. Here we are always a little shakes. And here it passes from side to side. ” So the master listened to this voice, the music of the way.

The next day, a repair crew led by the foreman went to the place of the noticed problems. pounding (I remind you that this name of a small unit of the track service dates back to the Nikolaev era). She identified a defect and eliminated it, if it was possible to do so in a short period of time of the provided “window”.

What kind of “window” is this? Many people know that in the schedule of commuter trains on weekdays from 10.00 to 13.00 there is an interval in which trains do not go. For some passengers (especially those who really need to go), this causes severe irritation. Near the schedule poster there are replicas: “What they want, they do it!”, “Why do they need this ?!”, “They do the best they do,” etc. Actually, “windows” exist just for the sake of interests passengers, more precisely. their safety.

Earlier in this book, the Tiligul disaster of 1875 was already mentioned. one of the worst in the history of our transport. So, it happened precisely because such “windows” were not organized on the line. The road foreman decided to change the rails, just not knowing about the actual time of the trains on the site and not coordinating the work started with the station manager. As a result, the train, in which recruits and wagons with grain were transported, went off the track at the place removed for replacement of the rail (the place of work was also not sufficiently shielded by signals), fell from a 50-meter embankment, flared up from overturned wagon furnaces and burned for the most part composition. Incidentally, the movers sent the train an hour ahead of schedule, not agreeing with the travelers on the possibility of its unhindered movement.

The whole history of railways is the story of an uninterrupted war of railwaymen and movers over “windows”. Movers are interested in passing trains, and travelers are interested in maintaining the track in order to prevent a crash. The leaders of roads and sections constantly, from the tsarist times, faced a combination of the following extremes: at first they listened to the report of the chief of the railway unit, who, with varying degrees of persuasiveness, outlined the whole drama of the situation with the state of the path on such a mile or a kilometer, after which the high authorities immediately ordered: “Provide the travelers with a“ window “! Sorvete. I’ll rip off my head! ” But after the head of the railway unit, the head of the traffic service entered the office, politely and sensibly explaining what losses would result even in a three-hour train delay in this section and how much energy would then be required to restore traffic. The high authorities only sighed at this and most often said: “Well, again tomorrow we’ll tear off the“ window ”. with the addition of a certain strong phrase, without which the activity of railway transport is absolutely impossible. The triumphant mover rubbed his hands, the traveler wrote another report on the state of the path under the signature of the secretary and gave the order to slow down at the defective place in order to relieve himself of responsibility. The working routes set off the signs “the beginning and the end of a dangerous place”, yellow and green shields, the drivers slowed down as expected, and everything continued as it was, except with earnest prayers so that the locomotive or the whole train would not go off the rails (railway workers say. “so that there is no descent”).

Sooner or later, the path came to such a state that the speed decreased completely to shameful values, and then a team of railwaymen finally left for the place. Until the repair of the track was completed in a state of ordinary confusion and haste, the traffic stood firmly with all the ensuing consequences, for until 1992 it was very intense on our railways, and simply incredible in other directions. For example, in the 1980s, on the famous transit route Penza-Rtishchevo in the Siberia-Ukraine connection, the flow of freight trains reached 95 pairs a day on other days!

By 1990, the peak year in terms of the number of traffic in the entire history of Russian railways, the state of the track economy had noticeably worsened. The reason for this was the combination of very heavy traffic of freight trains (they rolled up ton-kilometers for the plan — they brought matches from Vladivostok to Moscow and refrigerators from Moscow to Vladivostok) with mass cancellations of the “windows”. The author remembers that during his trips as a correspondent for the Lokomotiv magazine on the then-new diesel locomotives TEP70 with passenger trains on the Bologoye-Sonkovo ​​section in 1989, there were 37 speed reduction warnings recorded on a white blank with a yellow bar for 193 kilometers of the section diagonally. 37 times, the train, to the driver’s unspeakable indignation, slowed down the road due to some staggering bridges, worn out rails and arrows, the condition of the canvas and other railway defects that could not be fixed in a planned manner. The railroad workers were simply not allowed to complete the work because of the gross nature of the train traffic, and the staff of the trackmen mostly left much to be desired: their work became less and less prestigious and at the same time low-paid in comparison with other transport professions.

The road in general has always been the main brake on Russian railways. Due to weak or poor-quality rails, which throughout the history of our transport (both before and after the revolution) did not meet the requirements of transportation and were not supplied in proper quantities, because of the light sand ballast and poor-quality sleepers, it was necessary to limit the traction force of locomotives and the carrying capacity of cars. This moment in the history of domestic railways will forever remain a mystery to the author: a country with powerful metallurgy and almost unlimited raw material reserves could not put a normal path on its railways!

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Americans brought the load from the axis of the rolling stock on the rail on their railways to 26 tons. And in our country only in 1931 with the advent of heavy rails of type II-a, a load of 20 tons became permissible (and even then far from everywhere) and, as a result, it became possible to use powerful steam locomotives of the FD (Felix Dzerzhinsky) series and IS (“ Joseph Stalin "), who made a coup in the transport in the best sense of the word. But still, the trains went and transported so much that the world wondered. Everything that the country and the people demanded from the railway, it drove, setting true labor records without a pump and festive orchestras. How did this work out in this condition of the tracks?

There are no miracles in the world of technology. Really weak, from the point of view of transportation requirements, the path during the time of lineman was nevertheless maintained in very good condition. Engine drivers almost never saw speed warnings.

Wrench Sizzles And Doesn't Twist

“The long track. Train fly-fly! A quiet gatehouse on the edge of the road ”. A famous line on the beautiful motive of Dunaevsky’s song, in which the protagonist,“ the old man with a hammer ”, prevented the intentions of the enemy of the people to destroy the path. This old man by profession was trackman.

. Day and night, in cold and heat, in torrential rain and drought, in the autumn wind and spring thaw, a man in a uniform cap of a traveler comes forward to bypass the path. On his side, on a belt, he has signal flags. red and yellow (in the old days. red and green). In a special case. a set of firecrackers. On the shoulder is a bag with a bottle of milk, a piece of bacon, cucumbers, and a loaf of bread. In your pocket. a cigarette, matches or a lighter. He is in uniform boots and a tunic, in winter. in felt boots, a fur hat and a sheepskin coat. He puts a long hammer and a wrench on his shoulder. And sent into the distance to the railroad ties. He will see a weakened crutch, with which the rail is nailed to the railroad tie. befitting a pair of precise hammer blows. Notice at least a slightly loose joint. tighten the nut with a wrench. The smallest changed curvature of the rails, the smallest speck on the surface of the track, the smallest roughness. and the lineman, who knows literally every railroad tie, every hidden feature of the canvas, immediately squats down and begins to investigate a suspicious place. How many acute defects were detected, how many crashes and accidents were prevented!

In case of danger (for example, a broken rail), the lineman grabs a red flag (at night. a red light) and runs with it towards the approaching train, and puts firecrackers on the rails. And then, by any means possible, reports an accident in a drift or the distance, and a repair team leaves from there. one or more, from different lanes, depending on the scale of the incident.

For the traveler, and for any repairing railway worker, life goes "from the opposite." Frost hit. all to their homes, and the lineman. on the way; rains and thunderstorms poured. all at home, and the lineman, having thrown a raincoat. again on the way; the heat came. all under a canopy, in a shade, and the lineman, scorched in the sun, was back on the road. If it is frost, it looks to see if the rails are broken; in heavy and long rains. whether water passes into pipes and ditches along the channels of watercourses, whether the canvas is blurry somewhere (and the sandy canvas was washed away by rains and floods very often), whether the path was flooded; in the heat. if there are any emissions or shifts (hijacking) paths due to rails expanding from temperature. Do not get bored! The terminology of the railway people is beautiful, noble in the old way, that neither the term is in our way (plot of sleepers, modernon, ordinate, level, ditch, template, etc.). But the work is very difficult and responsible: the requirements for the content of the path are presented as in precise optics. after all, the track is measured in millimeters, not centimeters.

The lineman passes the required section of the road and meets his colleague, usually a friend (they live in the wilderness, in the midst of the stage, in complete deserts. what a quarrel there is!), Or even a relative. They will sit down on a railroad bed (after about a kilometer of the way, there were spare rails on special racks, which were called a kilometer-long supply, and odorous sleepers, freshly soaked with creosote resin, in case of urgent elimination of the accident), they will smoke and talk about this. Why conceal. they can also drink a little moonshine, especially in bad weather. This whole ritual was.

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The lifestyle of the lineman was almost peasant, with the only difference being that they paid the traveler not with workdays, but with a salary. He had a passport, a free uniform, state firewood, housing and material for its repair and painting, uniform social benefits for railway workers, and an almost unlimited amount of mowing and gardening. If you believe Vladimir Garshin (the story “The Signal”), being a lineman Semen Ivanov compared to the village was just a paradise: “The booth is new, warm, as much as you want firewood; the garden remained small from the previous watchmen, and there was land from half a half arable land on the sides of the canvas. Rejoice in Semyon; he began to think how he would start his farm, a cow, a horse would buy. ” Wow! Incidentally, the dramatic finale of this thing from the point of view of railway instructions was invented by Garshin: Semen did not need to hurt his hand and soak a rag with blood to give a red stop signal. even under the tsar, instructions in such cases allowed “in the absence of a lantern or flag a movement in a circle of the hand or any subject ".

Most of the wooden wooden houses resembled little peasant huts. They were mostly apartment-type, without a Russian stove, room, carved platbands (although at the same time their architecture is very original). Instead of a Russian stove, in barracks, semi-barracks, and LPZ, as a rule, there was a simple stone stove or a round metal stove. the so-called “Utermarkovskaya”. There were two stoves in the brick residential barracks and the refinery of some roads (for example, Ryazan-Uralskaya). a large heating one and a small cooking zone for cooking. On the stretch on some roads special barracks were set up for the rest, warming the track of the brigades, cooking, storing tools. And today, the travelers in some places save them for the same purpose.

Crawlers certainly had livestock, poultry. Fortunately, mow the herbs as you want. Some sites had one and a half hectares. If they moved to another place of work, the cow was loaded into the carriage and taken with them. Where without a cow in Russia! (The story of Andrei Platonov is not without reason called precisely that word.) Harvested hay, weed beds, potatoes were grown. The water was taken from the wells. clean (the railroads dug the wells for them during the construction of the road). Those who lived in the woods picked mushroom berries. how could it be without it!

There was an office telephone in every residential Putsky building, and it had a number for one kilometer or a mile away on which it stood. For example, a residential semi-detached house could officially be called tayu "Barracks of the 286th verst." Therefore, under the roof there will be a number displayed on the tin plate: 286.

At the beginning of the 21st century, no more than 25% of the official housing stock built before the revolution remained on the Russian railway network. A huge number of barracks and booths of lineman after their inhabitants left their homes or simply died, was pulled apart into planks and bricks. The railway has lost a lot of its original historical appearance.

. At night from the engine it’s clear that the flashlight of the traveler flashes left and right, from one crutch and a junction to another. If a lineman set out on the road at night, it means that bad weather or something else bothers him. He will notice someone outsider on the tracks. he will call out: who is it that you walk in the exclusion zone? No wonder it is sung in another railway song by Dunaevsky, “On the road”: “And as before, on the road, you, the lineman, keep your broad path as distant as a sentry.” In the last century, it was strictly with this: the railway was completely untouchable, truly a state in a state. It was not for nothing that the “traveling guard” served on the cast iron, which guarded the path, bridges and crossings. Hence the very word "gatehouse" went.

If everything is in order with the path, which with this quality of prevention most often happened, the lineman, having heard the noise of the train, went out of the way and raised a folded flag towards the engine, and at night. a lantern with transparent glass: the path is clear. Bon voyage, mechanic! From the engine in response to him. a short friendly whistle.

Times have changed. Once the Minister of Railways of the USSR, B. P. Beshchev, who was very progressive as a result of his activities, took up arms against the travelers, (he served as minister in 1948-1977): “No matter how I go around, they all stand on the side of the road with their flags and nothing do not do". Experienced railway commanders of those years (late 1950s), stern professionals with vast military experience in building and restoring tracks, tried to appease the minister: “But where else, Boris Pavlovich, should they stand? Under the wheels, or what? And what else should they do when the train passes? ” But the minister was implacable: by the end of the 1960s, the profession of a lineman, who was just as venerable as the entire railway transport, completely ceased to exist and was replaced by the profession of a lineman.

The way Beshchev removed the lineman became a transport legend. At that time, there was a lot of debate and wrangling at the very top of the Ministry of Railways: the headquarters of the road believed that this was a premature measure, that it was unacceptable to leave the road without daily supervision and prevention. And the minister advocated the full mechanization of track work, the complete re-equipment of the track, in which track inspectors, as he believed, would no longer be needed. In addition, new devices for detecting track faults were gradually introduced in transport: flaw detectors to check the condition of the rails and detect defects in them, track meters to check the track width and level. It was no longer necessary for the chief of the distance of the road or the road foreman to ride a steam locomotive, and the "old man with a hammer" to squat down. the tape of the recorder will show all the deviations. Was the minister right?

This is where it is worth talking about the content of the sound of wheels. From the appearance of the first Petersburg-Moscow highway to the end of the 1950s, that is, over a hundred-plus years, the railway track as a structure was as follows: on the sand ballast (that is, a rammed sand elevation) lay wooden sleepers. Only in the 1870s they became rectangular, in the form of a beam, that is, processed, and on the first highways, sleepers were simply sawn along the long round rounds of pine or oak, lying flat on the sand. On the sleepers, in turn, on special metal linings, rails are laid. They are nailed (the travelers say. sewn) to the sleepers, as already mentioned, with special thick nails. crutches. At the joints, the rails on both sides are connected by steel plates and screwed with bolts and nuts (the same ones that Chekhov’s “Attacker” unscrewed for catching the “shelesher”. imagine what he was doing ?!). Rail Link Length (whips) gradually increased from 10.83 before the revolution to 12.5 meters under the Soviet regime [26]. After the war, the standard rail length increased to 25 meters (adopted from the Germans, having first met their 30-meter links during the Berlin offensive of 1945). Thus, having met another junction every 10–25 meters, the wheel skating circle emitted a characteristic knock. And there was this knock, it is not difficult to guess, very frequent. This is the legendary knock of railway wheels.

Video: Wrench Sizzles And Doesn’t Twist


I must say that the railways of the mid-19th – first quarter of the 20th centuries were very unreliable (which “inspired fear on passengers” and gave rise to nicknames like cast-iron like “bone chopper” or “gas chamber”). especially on private fishing lines during construction which "saved" (read. borrowed) literally on everything. Without constant prevention, they simply could not exist. A lot of wrecks and accidents (and there were from four to six thousand a year in our railroads until the mid-1930s at different times. you should not be horrified by this amount, because minor incidents are also included in this figure, but in general the accident rate It was, of course, very high) it was precisely because of the rottenness of the sleepers, the bursting rails, the loose parts of the track, and the failures of the embankment. In addition, the sleepers were not yet saturated and quickly became worthless.

After World War II, the front-line roads in many places consisted of the so-called “logging”. What it is? After the bombing and shelling of the track, as well as as a result of the work of the infernal German machine. a special destroyer, which left literally shredded fragments of the track, some of the rails still remained intact and could be used, for which it was necessary to cut down the remaining pieces of the rails. And this was done with an ordinary chisel and sledgehammer. in three strokes! Yes, imagine. a rail can be cut with three hits on a chisel. There were special ways for this: they chopped on a cold rail early in the morning, struck in the most vulnerable, delicate place, etc. The cutters were fanned with fame and honor, and the cut pieces of rails were widely used to restore tracks (industrial deliveries of rail rolled products after the war were carried out in insufficient quantities). At the sections of the rail “wheelhouse”, the joints were located randomly and the wheels pounded randomly. Yes, and the paths were laid at the restoration sites at an accelerated pace, on the front-line. if only the train could pass. I must say that there were absolutely not enough nuts and bolts for making joints, and in the field even special machines were invented for their accelerated manufacture. It is clear that the paths on which the “logging” lay, which consisted of different grades and types of rails, without constant preventive maintenance by lineman would quickly become completely unusable. On quiet secluded branches, the author until the end of the 1990s had seen such paths.

That is why ordinary passengers, hearing today frequent blows to the joints under the floor of the car, are disappointed, but people who are knowledgeable at such moments, on the contrary, smile with the understanding of things: we go along the old road. there are frequent joints!

Indeed, the modern railway line (it began to be introduced in 1956 and in many respects determined a new era in the development of transport) was called jointless for a reason, and in common parlance. “velvet”. It consists of lashes not 25, but. 800 meters long, not welded, but welded! Only inserts on the "velvet" track, designed to "absorb" the length of the rails during their expansion and contraction during heat or cold, have joints and are screwed in the old way. with nuts and bolts. The rest is a flat, heavy metal tape polished. The train running along such a path is almost silent: something hisses for a long time, as if breathing restlessly under the floor of the car, and then it rattles a slight rattle on the inset. and again silence is almost a kilometer away. The sound (or rather, soundless) of such a path becomes especially noticeable to passengers when a train from a secondary low-speed branch gets onto the main passage and starts to rush at high speed. but almost imperceptibly, as if remotely. There is no movement in the cars.

And the "velvet" path lies not on wooden, but on reinforced concrete sleepers, to which the rails are screwed with nuts, so there are no crutches in it. To tighten such nuts, the strength of an ordinary wrench is not enough. you need a mechanical wrench. In order to maintain such a path, which, moreover, does not lie on sand, but on a powerful ballast of strong gravel or rubble, special track machines, special link assembly bases for the manufacture of ballast and rail sleepers, track machine stations (PMS) with powerful mechanization of work. So that the path does not overgrow with grass and is not destroyed by insect pests, it must be watered with chemicals (the “greens” in the 1990s in many places managed to cancel this important preventive procedure and, having received a dubious environmental effect, contributed to a significant deterioration in the condition of paths throughout the network) , and this is also a centralized process.

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The “old man with a hammer” on the modern path would hardly have been able to provide any serious help. This profession has outlived itself along with ballast sand, wooden sleepers and crutches. It became as unnecessary in transport as the profession of the main and tail conductor (they were also canceled by the Minister of Railways Beshchev), slag picker, cycle whirlpool or aqueduct. It turns out that it was not without reason that the minister, having foreseen this in time, took up arms against the lineman.

The sandy ballast of the track also gradually turned into a rarity. no less than a station bell or a whistle of a steam locomotive. Railway history enthusiasts travel to the surviving sections of lines lying on the sand, as if on a date with living antiquity. The yellow color of the canvas is a completely different sensation from the view of the railway, its other look. Nevertheless, the trackers eagerly parted with the sand: it is too unreliable as a ballast, but it is almost inapplicable for a hard way. By the way, in the West, the path was originally laid on gravel or gravel (although there is much more of it there than in Central Russia).

Nevertheless, after leaving the horizon, the seemingly eternal silhouette of the lineman with a wrench and a hammer, the condition of the track, or rather, its content, of course, did not improve. It must be said that during the time of the linchmen, the path was an example of accuracy and order. It’s like not the travelers, but some hairdressers who kept him. Everything is well-groomed, the slopes are lined with mosaics (among which, in Soviet times, there were a lot of, of course, political symbols), the canvas is aligned “in the middle”. Each picket column is painted, it is outlined in a circle below, an asterisk of brick is laid out, the numbers are legibly drawn with fresh paint. Kilometer posts, bias indicators, inscriptions and shields in a calligraphic state. Signal signs. bright, elegant. decorously hang under awnings near the railway barracks and sheds. The grass on the slopes is mowed, and on the very path it is weathered or watered with chemicals. Spare bars, rails, sleepers, crosses are stacked in pyramids or simply in even rows. On the arrows, the mechanisms are carefully lubricated, the arrows themselves are cleaned, the fly-wings are eye-shaped and elegant.

I must say that the waymen’s housing was also groomed no less: near barracks, lineman’s booths, linear track buildings (watch houses, or vernacular gatekeepers), abbreviated as LPZ, certainly a kindergarten, a flower bed, and a front garden. The columns and the buildings themselves are painted, the fences are straightened (then all this mostly pre-revolutionary fund was not so outdated). An elegant path stretches along the path. The railway during the time of lineman even without a train was a very picturesque sight. It was written in the rules: "The path must have a cultural appearance." Notice the word: "cultural"! Not without reason, many artists happily painted the railway precisely as an expressive tool in the landscape (one of the most famous railway painters is the Soviet artist Georgy Nissky).

As for the mechanization of track work, massively carried out in the 1950-1960s, and the creation of track machine stations. ICP (see the chapter "Russian Railcars"), they fundamentally changed the practice of track work itself. The author’s task does not include a detailed description of technical devices, but it is difficult to resist admiration for the perfection of track machines. Their unknown, unpopularity in the world of technology against the background of locomotives and wagons is completely undeserved. Each of them in its capabilities is a kind of technical masterpiece. Take, for example, Platov’s construction tracker: on a far-forward arrow, he raises the finished rail lashes, puts them in front of him on the ballast. and then goes on them further. This conveyor on laying the way! And all these unthinkable ballasts, similar to the good-natured prehistoric dinosaurs, VPO and VPR machines with the sophisticated transcriptions “straightening-tamping-finishing” and “straightening-tamping-straightening”, hopper-batchers, plows, rubble-cleaning machines, slot-cutting machines, scrapers, scrapers and knives, wrench machines. real delights in technology, unknown to the uninitiated.

When this string enters the path. fancy traveling cars (artist N. A. Ermolaev calls them “abracadabras”), ballast trains with a characteristic domestic passenger carriage in the middle of the train, and the process of track work unfolds, the picture looks impressive: powerful jacks lift the way all the way up , the open mouth of the cleaning machine literally devours the gravel of the old ballast and sprinkles it to the side with a stream, like a combine, and fresh gravel is immediately sprinkled behind. The plows smoothly cut the shoulders with the knives, special trains pull the rail links by drag almost for a whole stretch, at a very slow speed they lift old rails unscrewed by wrenches from the sleepers, and immediately put in their place new ones that are still rusty and have not had time to become polished.

A team of thirty people in orange vests turns over rails with crowbars, twists nuts, turns jacks under the ends of sleepers, knocks, straightens, straightens way. Along the way lies a whole string of tools for handicrafts (more crowbars, keys, hammers, pincers, paws and sledgehammers), at the edges there are signalmen with red flags. Sometimes they make bonfires, warm themselves near them like a gypsy camp. The master of the road, dressed cleaner than anyone else, and therefore immediately recognizable, supervises the work, gives on the walkie-talkie commands to locomotive drivers who work with ballast trains ("turntables»), And drivers of track cars. Behind this entire labor group, there remains a fresh, neat path with unpaved rails. For some time, the speed of the repaired track will be limited just in case, and then all warnings will be canceled, and the train drivers will be pleased to see that the white form with the yellow stripe is empty: as stated in the instruction, "traffic is permitted at a set speed." Bon voyage, mechanic!

The fight against snowdrifts is also the concern of the travelers. In the old days, the path was furnished with snow-shields for the winter. This is a portable high fence, consisting of separate sections, which the trackmen installed along the stage in places where it heavily sweeps and snows in snowfalls and blizzards. Sometimes these shields were moved closer or further from the canvas several times during the winter. around the neck in the snow! However, shields can only reduce, but not eliminate, drifts, and the route still has to be cleared of snow. In the 1960s, such shields were abandoned and everywhere replaced by tree planting. forest protection strip, by which it is always easy to recognize from afar a railway in the steppe or in any open place. This strip, as the pre-revolutionary guidebook said, “not only protects the road from drifts, but also creates a good mood for passengers because of the pleasant view of the trees outside the window”. Alas, the barbaric destruction of this strip (literally paradoxical in its senselessness!) Has begun recently, ostensibly in order to facilitate the access of signalmen to the roadside telegraph network and to prevent blockages of the path by fallen trees. Unimaginable logging is now often observed along the paths. fire-hazardous piles of dumped and dried-up trees that no one takes out. Firewood, in the end, is not needed, or what ?! It is clear that the situation with sweeping tracks with snow under such "management" will significantly worsen.

What snowplows didn’t work on a Russian cast iron: from small Bjorke to multi-link station machines and powerful rotors. The snow removal process is beautifully described in Andrei Platonov’s novel “The Concealed Man” and in the novel by Chingiz Aitmatov “And the Day Lasts Than a Century”. When the snow blower rushes into the snow mass with a thunderous rush and instantly creates a milky fountain around itself, which in clear weather also sparkles with myriads of sparks, the spectacle is simply enchanting. It is surprising to observe how the old TsUMZ biaxial snow blower, reminiscent of a tram from the time of Zoshchenko, pushed by a powerful diesel locomotive that smokes behind the snow blower like a cruiser, courageously strikes with a flat knife into a huge snowdrift and sweeps it out of the way, like a hero, Doesn’t fall off the rails with such a hit! And what a thick snow-white explosion is happening! A rider with a snow blower, inside which, as described in The Secret Person, has a hot stove and three-layer smoke, has a whole team of railway men, because in addition to controlling this machine, you still need to blow a lot of brooms and rake with shovels. the railway will always have work more or less manual.

The snow plow rushes along the stage with wings spread and, according to Andrei Platonov, “pushes” snow in the direction of the path. A ram, really reminiscent of a medieval ramming tool, at full speed, like an icebreaker, cuts the thickness of snow in half with its blade and scatters the ice and clods away from the path. But the link machines for cleaning snow from station tracks (there used to be Gavrichenko cars, later the current SM-2 snow removal machines appeared) work in detail, without hurry: they rake the snow with brushes from the top of the rails, then move it back to special sections along the conveyor, and when they will fill the train, leave for the designated place and dump snow there, where it is piled up for a long time by gloomy mountains and does not melt almost until the May heat.

I must say that for a long time they could not create a suitable design for this device, which is vital for Russia. There is an everlasting and paradoxical Russian concern. the beginning of winter, as if it does not happen to us every year. Special analytical publications on railways at the end of the 19th century read: “There are several large iron snowplows on the St. Petersburg-Warsaw Railway, but they are not used because of too much force required to bring them into action. On the Kursk-Kharkov The Azov Railway has one de-Skrokhovsky snowplow, which, however, has been inactive in recent years. Biaxial plows operate at snow depths of up to 1 arshin, but are generally unsatisfied with the management of the road satisfactory with their instability and ease of derailment. Rybinsk-Bologovskaya railway uses horse plows of two types. From 2 to 4 horses harness these plows, and they are accompanied by 4 workers, not counting the drovers. In one working day, with loose snow, it can be cleaned with a small type plow up to 7 miles and a large type plow up to 12 miles. Such snowplows are only half useful, and when used during snowstorms or when there are not enough workers for timely clearing of trenches can even be harmful. In addition, some types of snowplows are even dangerous, as they easily go off the rails. " Hmm.

By the way, almost no one knows that the idea of ​​a railway snowplow belongs to. A.S. Pushkin. A remarkable researcher in the history of transport Julian Georgievich Tolstov thus narrates about this [28]:

“It’s amazing: as if an experienced, knowledgeable traveler, Pushkin in his letter to Odoevsky approached the problem of snow drifts of future railways:“ For this, he wrote, “a new car should be invented. “There is nothing to think about the expulsion of the people and the hiring of workers for sweeping snow: this is absurdity.” An experienced traveler, he knew very well how snowy Russian winters are and what snowdrifts grow. In fact, the first poet in the history of Russian railways expressed the idea of ​​the need for a special snow plow and said this when none of the experts just thought about it. "

This letter was first published by Pushkin to Odoevsky in 1864 in the journal Russian Archive. Its editor. a prominent historian Pyotr Bartenev. turned for clarification to the professor of Moscow University F.V. Chizhov, who, as a mathematician, was actively involved in railway business, being at that time the director of Troitskaya and a member of the Moscow-Ryazan Railway Board. After reading the poet’s lines about the need to invent a machine for removing snow from a railway track, Chizhov gasped in surprise. Subsequently, in his comments on the publication of this Pushkin letter, he noted: “When the snowplow was written, there was no mention of it, and now it is not on all railways.”

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What did not occur to the engineers, the poet realized. And this is understandable. The reason here, most likely, lies in Pushkin’s creative mindset. An engineer thinks with technical specificity, a poet with artistic images. The author of "Demons" and "Snowstorms", the eternal traveler "now in a carriage, then in a carriage, then in a cart, then on foot", Pushkin knew perfectly well what the Russian winter road, snowstorm and drifts are. He apparently vividly imagined the path swept by the snow, realized that it would have to be cleaned somehow, and instantly imagined a device that could do this. Genius is all about genius. It is curious that subsequently not only snowplows were equipped with such devices, without which the Russian cast iron is simply unthinkable, but each locomotive (in Pushkin times, the term “locomotive” was pronounced in the feminine gender). Instead of the usual brooms, which were first tied to pins under buffer beam on the front of the engine (see the picture In G. Perov’s "Peasants by the Railroad"), soon a tour cleaner appeared, very similar to that shown in Pushkin’s drawing. The purpose of using this device was not only to clear the track before the engine of the snow, but also to dump foreign objects (alas, sometimes people or animals are them). In america cowcatcher (“Cattle ejector”), and for our engine drivers he received different nicknames: “snowstorm”, or “skimmer” (this comes from the brooms of the first “land steamers”), or in the American way. “cattle”, or simply. “ cattle. " So the engineers say: “We have to go. wipe the cattle”.

At linear stations, the arrows are cleaned of snow manually, with brooms and shovels, and at large stations they are cleaned with air, for which pipes are laid along the paths that are painted with brown minium or silverfish. These are air ducts from the compressor, to which the cleaning processes are connected. “Travelers! Travelers, the forty-fifth is not coming! ”. nervously “screaming loudly”, that is, the station attendant announces on the station speaker. She presses the button on her remote control, and “the route is not prepared”, that is, the arrow number forty-five does not translate to the path you need. Red-cheeked travelers in earflaps tied to a knot go to the arrow with crowbars, getting ready to break ice and blow with a piercing hiss wits and cross arrows air. Such hissing often breaks into the windows of cars at night and wakes passengers who are annoyed, not assuming that hissing paves the way for them. “Fifty-fifth has gone! Thanks, boys, ”the gentle voice in the loudspeaker becomes.

The author in his practice of preserving historical railway rarities had to not only search, save and restore steam locomotives, but sometimes participate in laying the track on pedestals for their placement. I remember when we, at a young age, with associates for railway enthusiasm, laid a rail link in the Moscow-Kiev depot to put on it a passenger steam locomotive of the SU series as a monument to military and labor glory, we recalled the saying: “It’s not in vain that the railroad workers pay money.” At first it was necessary to level the spilled mountain of gravels with shovels and rakes. Aligned. the crane arrived, lowered the rail link. Next, it was necessary to put jacks at the ends of the sleepers, which all the time strove to lower themselves with cotton, so in no case could you put your feet under the sleepers. They lifted the link on the jacks, first straightening it with crowbars to perfect straightness. Then began padding: under the railroad ties with iron shovels they raked up the ballast (made pillow for sleepers), and then they began to knock down wooden shovels. that is, to drive the gravel into the cracks between the sleepers, to ram it. Jacks lowered. A traveler came with a template and in three places measured the gauge (a manual template, which is a metal rod with a scale and a handle, is available in each team of trackmen to measure the distance between the inner faces of the rail head). are there any narrowings or widenings. And only then, when the team leader personally checked the laid path and allowed to put a steam locomotive on it, we parted, rubbing corns and saying: “It’s not in vain that money is paid to the railwaymen”. But we did the easiest and most elementary job that could be on the way!

Tricky science. It only seems from the outside: the path. it is the path, lies to itself and lies habitually, immovably. but in fact it is a very flexible, literally breathing structure that lives along with nature in the literal sense of the word. It is troublesome for the travelers, and they need a lot of skill to apply. One of their official speeches says a lot: "Adjustment of gaps with the replacement and installation of anti-theft"; "Cutting off contaminated ballast crust"; “Checking the railing of the rails”; "The ballast prism"; "Cleaning trays and ditches"; “Laying of the cshp. rail-sleeper grid” (that is, the finished links of the track), etc. The work is ungrateful, and the requirements for accuracy and accuracy of the work as a dentist. The author would have called the travelers: railway dentists. Only not in white coats, but in orange vests, and their tool is heavier.

Of course, in the second half of the 20th century, manual labor was greatly facilitated by the travelers. There were flaw detection trolleys and track measuring trolleys, which trackers manually roll on rails, electric tampering, rail-boring and rail-cutting machines, manual hydraulic jacks. But all the same, even in the computer season of mankind, the notorious burdens. crowbar, wrench, crutch paw, hammer and sledgehammer. will be inevitable in the service of the path for a long time to come.

To drive workers or road masters to the fishing line in the old days, cinematographic hand-operated rocking chairs “rocking chairs” were used that turned the process of their movement into incredible physical education for those who rotated the drive (there was no getting around without singing Dubinushka, and sometimes there were such damn road masters who made them twist twenty versts without rest. and they won’t let them rest, bloodsuckers). Then in the 1930s, hand railcars were replaced by "pioneers" with a gasoline engine. this is such a four-seater motorcycle on a rail PTO speed (Speed ​​motodreziny Incidentally, up to 50 km / h, and at such speed on this ride apparatus far ahead of the motorcycle by the originality and thrills). The essence of this trolley is that it can (and should be!) Four taken off the track when an oncoming or passing train appears, freeing the road, and then put it in place, start the engine and drive on. To deliver the brigades to the place of work, DGKU railcars (somewhat resembling a river tugboat) equipped with small cranes began to be used. To facilitate the loading and unloading of sleepers or tools, and AC1 car rails similar to pickups on a railway track (they even have a gearbox like car).

Travelers do not have drivers, this is a special caste: self-propelled track machines, trolleys and motries are controlled not by drivers, but by drivers, “pioneers” are drivers. And the track cars are painted in their own way, the color is mostly orange, yellow or gray (in contrast to the green, blue and red colors of locomotives, electric trains and diesel trains). This is a very isolated service, which is determined by the nature of its activities.

Of course, the railway workers at all times had an unfairly low salary (for such and such a job!). Therefore, the cultural, so to speak, prosperous people did not particularly strive to work on the repair of the track, with all the ensuing consequences in terms of the quality of its content. When the PMS was created, the workers were generally forced to live with their families in mobile wagons (see the chapter “Russian Wagons”), as if in a kind of wandering camp. It is clear what kind of living conditions it is. After the war, due to the acute shortage of the able-bodied male population, a lot of women worked on the road (including fitters, in the most difficult service). and still works. There is no need to confuse the “patriarchal” life of a lineman with the harsh life of a repair worker in a neighborhood or in a distance. The crawler did the preventive maintenance of the track, the workers and the ICP. its repair, and this is a completely different job. After the war, workers even had to be specially recruited to the service of the road and to the PMS in the remote outback.

At the same time, more than a third of all railway railway personnel worked at all times in the track service. and received salaries. Because of the fact that was so annoying for the railway administration, they tried many times to cut down the railway by all means. And each time this led to complete failure: the path quickly disappeared, speeds fell, workers had to be hired again. Physically, there can not be less people in a railway brigade than you need to, say, promptly turn over when replacing a whole rail that weighs one and a half tons, align, knock out and straighten an entire section of the track, replace the sleepers (the railway workers say “a bush of sleepers” ), to clean arrows from snow in winter. and so on from what the machine cannot do. The share of manual labor, I repeat, in the work of the railway workers will remain large for a very long time, especially when you consider that the railway equipment is far from always working, and trains are not waiting. The desire of the department to save as much as possible on such a number of workers is at least understandable, however, of course, all these reductions will not solve the problem of high-quality repair and maintenance of the track.

It is the content of the track (which the reader can get an idea of, having familiarized himself in this chapter with the scope of activity of the trackmen) is the most expensive point in the operation of the railways. The path requires constant preventive maintenance and planned repairs with the use of mechanization and a huge amount of materials (ballast, spare sleepers, rails, etc.), and these are very expensive measures (especially at fabulous prices for the track materials that formed during the “market” period the end of the 20th century, when each sleeper literally became worth its weight in gold). It is important to understand that the nature of the work of a line (there are a lot of trains running on it per day or few) does not affect the regularity of track work: they must be carried out always, at any size of movement, because the track is exposed to climate and in the absence of care in all cases becomes worthless. The reader can guess how expensive it is for the railway to maintain low traffic lines (the so-called inactive), which do not generate revenue from transportation, and with what joy road managers would refuse to operate such lines as soon as possible. However, they have to be maintained because of strategic or social needs. On some such fishing lines they deliberately reduce speeds even with good paths in order to save on track work.

. When traveling by rail in the cab of the locomotive, every time you see the trainmen, you feel involuntary respect for them. and sympathy. In any weather, they are on the line, sometimes in the wilderness of the hauls (in Siberia and the Far East, fleeing bears, sometimes they climb telegraph poles), scurry around like hardworking ants, roll their carts, drag keys and jacks, pull rolled flags free passage towards the locomotive, nodding, smiling. tanned, rude, crimson in winter from frost and wind. It seems that the weather doesn’t concern the railwaymen at all, that they don’t care at all, that they, with all kinds of climate, have completely grown together — but this, of course, is not so; and they endure cold, wind, and heat, like ordinary people, except that they are more accustomed to hardships. Watching from the running locomotive behind their orange vests, you will certainly remember the saying: “It’s not in vain that the travelers are paid money.” And once again you will understand why the railway engineers, the personnel elite of transport, before the revolution were called precisely "railway men", and not by some other word.