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1st Edition - 1994
by Mehis Helme
ISBN 978-1-871980-20-2
Book 17.5cm x 23.5cm, Softback 80 Pages 77 B&W Photographs, plus Maps & Diagrams
Publisher: Plateway Press
Availability: No Longer Available

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In the wake of Russia's defeat by Japan in 1905, massive fortification works were put in hand along the Estonian coast and on the offshore approaches to St Petersburg. Construction of the fortresses was serviced by a network of 750mm gauge railways eventually totalling almost 250km. In 1918 the Germans invaded Estonia and took possession of the fortress railways, also laying down a network of 600mm gauge 'feldbahn' railways of their own . The locomotive roster ranged from diminutive 0-4-0WT's through lightweight 2-6-0s to some giant 0-10-0's, and included examples from Orenstein & Koppel, Krauss and Borsig (Germany), Alco and Baldwin (USA), and builders in Finland, France and Russia. Owned in turn by Imperial Russia, Germany (twice), Estonia and the Soviet Union, the fortress railways have had a turbulent history. Their story through 90 years of peace and war has been pieced together by Mehis Helme, and is believed to be the first English language account of the country's narrow gauge railways. It contains accounts of the building, operation and ultimate fate of the 750mm and 600mm gauge railways, details of the locomotive stock, roster lists and dimensions of principal classes. Lavishly illustrated with 75 b/w photographs - mostly rare and historic views - 14 maps, and scale drawings of 18 locomotive types, it will appeal to all students of the international narrow-gauge scene, those interested in military railways, and to modellers in search of new and different prototypes.


  • Introduction
  • 1. The `Peter the Great Naval Fortress`
  • 2. The Forward Position and its Railway Network
  • 3. Strategic Islands and their Railways
  • 4. The Tallinn Naval Fortress - Coastal Defences
  • 5. The Tallinn Naval Fortress - Land Defences
  • 6. Railways of the Tallinn Naval Fortress
  • 7. Locomotives and Rolling Stock
  • 8. The Railways under German Occupation (1918-1919)
  • 9. War of Independence - and after
  • 10. Nationalisation of the Narrow Gauge Railways
  • 11. Later History of the Fortress Locomotives
  • 12. The Railways under German Occupation (1941-44)
  • 13. The Railways under Soviet Control
  • 14. Relics of the Naval Fortress Railways
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix 1. Orenstein and Koppel locomotives delivered . to the Fortress Railways
  • Appendix 2. French-built Russian field railway M series locomotives
  • Appendix 3. Russian 86 series field railway steam locomotives
  • Appendix 4. German `Feldbahn` locomotives in Estonia
  • Table of Locomotive Dimensions

Continent: Europe
Country: Baltic


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Tag cloud: fortress russia defeat japan estonian offshore petersburg estonia feldbahn roster 0-4-0wt 2-6-0s orenstein koppel krauss borsig germany alco baldwin finland soviet turbulent peace mehis helme narrow-gauge naval tallinn german french-built russian

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