December 17, 2014
1361 RUSSIA (Primorsky Krai) - Steam Locomotive YeL 629 in Ussuriysk
When Russian Empire entered WWI in 1914, it was dependent mainly on 0-8-0 and 2-8-0 locomotives. What was needed were locomotives with high adhesive weight (and thus tractive effort), which could only be provided by a locomotive with 10 drive wheels, but the only one being built, the class E 0-10-0, was in short supply, with only 100 produced thus far. As a result, it was proposed ordering 400 2-10-0 locomotives from the United States and Canada. Although the production was to be American, the locomotive was designed by Russian engineers. This called for 10 drive wheels, a low axle loading, a large firebox to burn low-grade coal, and an overall similar design to the class E 0-10-0.
In 1915, the first 400 locomotives entered production. In Russia, they were given the name of class Е (Ye), with subclasses varying on the city of the manufacturer. In 1916, after satisfactory performance of the first engines, were orderer a further 475 locomotives, with minor changes (sub-classed as Ел). In 1917, Russia again ordered more locomotives. Baldwin was only able to supply 75 at this time. However, when the United States entered the war in 1917, they decided to aid the Allied effort by producing more 2-10-0s for Russia. About 500 locomotives were ordered. However, production was interrupted by the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, and ultimately only 50 locomotives were delivered.
One of the locomotives from the second series, Ел-629 (Yel 629), is now a monument in Ussuriysk (in the Russian Far East, at 98 km north of Vladivostock), for mark an event not only unusual, but even horrible. Іn May 1920, Sergey Lazo, Alexey Lutsky, аnd Vsevolod Sibirtsev - three Bolsheviks taken prisoner by Japanese intervention troops аfter the Nikolayevsk Incident - were murdered by the White Army Cossacks аt the railway station оf Muravyovo-Amurskaya near the town of Dalnerechensk. Thіs event wаs greatly expanded by the Soviet propaganda оf later years; allegedly the three were burned alive іn the firebox оf the locomotive Yel 629. The village аnd station аt Muravyovo were renamed Lazo, аs were а number оf оther places аnd streets іn the krai.
About the stamps
The first two stamps are part of a series dedicated to Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.
The third stamp is part of the series Wild goats and rams, issued on January 30, 2013:
• the argali / Ovis ammon
• the wild goat / Capra aegagrus
• the West Caucasian tur / Capra caucasica
• the snow sheep / Ovis nivicola - it's on the postcard
Russian locomotive class Ye - Wikipedia
Ussuriysk - Wikipedia
Dalnerechensk - Wikipedia
Sender: Eugene Volodin (direct swap)
Sent from Ussuriysk (Primorsky Krai / Russia), on 24.09.2014
Photo: Oleg Poltaraky