The smoke above the locomotives is clearing away

The smoke above the locomotives is clearing away

It turned out that it was not the work of thieves, but of “benefactors” …

On the 4th of August members of a fact-finding committee from Igarka came to Yermakovo. The group consisted of militiamen and officials from the “Museum of Permafrost”. The scene that met their eyes was the scene of a marvellous workday: on the banks there is the “Angara-88” with a barge, a crane with track chains is working at full power, there is a bulldozer, a special tractor usually needed to transport away logs; a brigade consisting of several men is trying hard to haul the next locomotive on board the barge. The locomotive looks deplorable, somewhat “dishevelled”. It is without funnel, entirely dirty, although it cannot be fully seen because of the persistently working bulldoze in front. The locomotive has been hauled here from the former train depot over a distance of 5 kms. Today they ridded it off fromall the soil and junk, which accumulated around its body during the ice-drift. The locomotive had a surprise in store: although 50 years have passed since those times, the grease covering its wheels was still in such a good condition that they turned very easily.

As the workers reported, they do this job on the instruction of the manger of the Kureysk hydroelectric power station; the work is being carried out at the expense of the “Taymyrenergo” open joint-stock company. And the manager of the hydroelectric power plant, V. Badyukov on his part, received information from the leading head of the Turukhansk district, S.G. Yurchenko, that allegedly two locomotives, as per agreement, were to be repaired and restored in the Krasnoyarsk train depot at the amount of 4 million rubels, and then put at the disposal of museums (which museums they had in mind the two managers, unfortunately, did not hint at). Whether or not the above-mentioned instructions exist in actual fact, when and on which basis they were given – this is what further investigations will show.

It is rumoured that in this very settlement of Svetlogorsk, where the hydroelectric powerplant is situated, one of the entrepreneurs is dealing with the hauling off of “scrap iron” from Yermakovo, and that the locomotive is to be removed on behalf of either some Novosibirsk despatch office or some other organization in Novosibirsk. The first locomotive they transported away is now on the barge in Svetlogorsk.

By means of all the information gathered by different eye-witnesses, it becomes evident that the work going on with regard to the plundering of the historical-architectonic zone in Yermakovo has already been planned carefully since long – not only by a single person, but by a whole group, just according to the motto: “Who is going to receive which share!” In August 2004 an expedition of the “Museum of Permafrost” stayed in Yermakovo to take pictures. All important objects were in their proper places. But already late I September a locomotive lying on its side was found on the banks of the river; it had been transported here over a distance of 5 kms. Judging from the fact that at the former location of the “Little Sheep” there were no damaged trees or dragging tracks, we have every reason to believe that the locomotive was moved away by a helicopter of the Mi-6 or Mi-26 type (which is very well possible when considering the suual methods of action of the Ministery of Emergency Situations or the “Vankorneft” oil and gas company). The whole territory of this part of the settlement has been smashed up, lengthways and and crosswise, and instead of one single road which used to be here before, there are now many running into different directions. Not a single trace of the great number of metal constructions, tracks, technical parts and even a few cutters was left on the banks. The “scrap” collectors excellently enriched themselves in an utterly dishonest way.

Even though the restored locomotives will obviously not be returned to Yermakovo or Igarka, it is quite pleasing to know that this underground action will end in some museum, after all.

It seems to be the case that the locomotives were not stolen by thieves, but that all this was a good deed done by “benefactors”, who, at the sight of these dirty.looking locomotives, the witnesses of the camp constructio site 503, were unable to stay indifferent. How delightful this is!

Well, the surprise went wrong; nonetheless we are going to support this good idea to have the two (maybe even three) locomotives restored in Krasnoyarsk and then place one of them on a nice pedestal inYermakovo – and the second one in Igarka, where the railroad line to Yermakovo began, and further up to Salekhard. And who is going to pay for the restoration? The same Thurukhansk managers, who planned the execution of that work? In any case we do not talk about theft, don’t we? By the way, it seems that the “scrap” which has already been transported away, resulted in quite a profitable business. And the Museum of Local Lore in Igarka will be very grateful for such a present (which had already been planned by Lebedev and the Ministery of Traffic and Communication in 2001) and, of course, make honourable mention of this on special brass plates. And in the newspapers.

However, a number of questions still remain unanswered. For example: on which grounds in September 2004, when they were just carrying through a campaign for a referendum about the annexation of Igarka to the district of Turukhansk, some high-ranking functionaries of Turukhansk sanctioned the hauling off of the locomotives from Yermakovo, a territory that was under the subordination of the Igarsk town Soviet? And why did neither the leading heads of Igarka, nor the officials of the Igarsk museum the slightest idea (between September 2004 and August 2005) about someone’s sudden deep love for those museum treasures and his sincere endeavour to keep the historical exhibits in good condition?

The mystical happenings are going on

The workers from Svetlogorsk who were to haul the locomotives off, do not really enjoy the task that fell to their lot, but being creatures from the underground, they are obliged to execute the orders of the management.

The first locomotive left the banks of Yermakovo on the 15th of July, but the events here developed as in a real thriller. One of the workers unexpectedly died. The second one had a bad fall on entirely plain ground and suffered a fracture of the skull-base. They had to call for the first-aid attendant. All of a sudden these two balloons burst. One rainy and cold day, clouds darkened the place of work. A horrible thunderstorm broke, such as they had never experienced a thunderstrom before; there was a cloudburst and, as the workers say themselves – “all this was so terrifying that we thought this was the end of the world”. And they add: “We are aware of working on a cemetery, and it’s a great sin to take things away from such a place”. And then the Igarsk militia arrived.

Of course, there are no coincidences and mysticism about the events, and the emotional tension within the brigade is entirely clear. For the few local residents here do not feel any inconveniences, although the UFOs flying and gliding over Yermakovo in groups are sno rare occurrence at all …

Well, we strongly recommend the Krasnoyarsk companies, who accepted the scrap from the north, to get themselves well-working dosimeters (instruments to measure radioactive radiation; translator’s note) and to check over their supplies, particularly those originating from the “left” (from illegal sources; translator’s note); for their radioactivebackground: the metal from Yermakovo was collected near the place, where almost 30 years ago, in the interest of national economy, a subterranean nuclear test was carried out – a danger sign is still giving evidence of this event. Yermakovo should not only be a historical-architectonic zone, but also an area of regular monitoring of the ecology by means of electronic measuring instruments.

Alexander Toshchev,
“Museum of Permafrost”,