ULYANOVKA, Russia — 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-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.
“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.”
“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.