Memories and Reflections

Memories and Reflections

Articles about everyday life

№4

Soviet-era Toy Railway


Toy carToy carToy car

Children of the Soviet era were not deprived of toys. Almost every boy had several sets of soldiers, many machines, cubes, eventually, they were added by the clockwork or battery-powered lunar rovers, cross-country vehicles, submarines, walking robots. Especially generous parents on the schoolboy`s birthday could give him ten rubles, - huge money for that time, - that he bought at a local "Children's world" an electronic shooting range, - quite undemanding by today`s standards unit, consisting of the target box and the gun that emitted the light beam. Sometimes in the boys` game farm, there were building sets, brought from somewhere from the countries of the socialist camp, judging by the "non-Russian" instructions to them. And, strangely enough, despite the clearly considerable cost, quite a lot of future builders of communism had a railroad with rolling stock available, for example, PIKO Sonneberg, which was produced in the GDR.

Its track was assembled from straight and rounded sections, there were also sections with arrows, the current was supplied to the rails from a battery or a German transformer specially made for this purpose, the circuit was closed by a switch clothed in a metal case with a relief logo PIKO, and black as resin plastic locomotive with a characteristic buzzing briskly rushed to and fro in a circle, carrying one or two passenger cars styled for the same historical era, when a useful cargo was transported by a traction created by coal and steam. It must be admitted that for all its indubitable amusement and aesthetic appeal the German railway was practically not used, and that is why for years was stored in a large foam box under a lid of thick transparent polyethylene. Whether the batteries from which the whole farm worked, were in acute shortage, or the engine in the locomotive quickly burned out - but very quickly this interesting and unusual for the Soviet children`s reality game turned into a storage object, and therefore for years dusted in the sideboard, causing a subconscious desire to get rid of it in one fell swoop, which immediately ran into regret about the money spent on it. In the event that the attempt to use this game was stopped by the lack of flat batteries in stores, the problem was sometimes solved with the purchase of a transformer.

And then sections unoccupied for many years were removed from their cells in a package, joined in a circle with several straight sections, and a black "coal-fired" locomotive with a nasty buzz went fussily along the way. Due to the fact that some rails could not be tightly connected because of the wear of the contact wires, the train continually crashed, passing such sections at high speed. A heavy locomotive with closely spaced axles usually easily crossed the places of incomplete joints, sometimes the first car attached to it painlessly skipped them, but the second same long passenger car could not make a clever jump and therefore fell on its side, falling off the rails all the restless train too. In those cases when the contact wire was not broken hopelessly, it could be slightly leveled, smoothing the bends under the pressure. But if there were more broken rails, sometimes stored no longer in a box but in a simple cellophane bag, then it was possible to establish a trouble-free movement only significantly reducing its intensity. As a result, the voltage regulator on the transformer was installed between two and three-volt marks, and the locomotive capable of sprinting could barely spit along its eternal circle, and the cars that followed it could safely jump on the rails of the following sections, which rose high above the exposed joints.

Even when the whole process was going on without any glitches at all, it was annoying to observe the operation of the adjusted mechanism rather quickly, and at the best case, the road was as carefully dismantled as it had been assembled before. In the worst case, it was left assembled on the floor and could lie in such a way a few days until someone inadvertently stepped onto the rails or the tumbler of the shiny switch, thereby breaking and bending fragile parts, or knocking off the train, forcing light cars fly a somersault, and the heavier locomotive ride sideways along the floor. To bring in this monotonous game some diversity, it was needed to make some small tricks. For example, to build from the cubes a railway station, to give a signal on arrival on which crystal glasses were placed on the sides of the track, and a bamboo rod was placed on top of them so that its sinker hung over the track. Passing this place, the locomotive and carriages lifted the lead ball, and it, rocking on the line, knocked loudly on the thick walls of the glasses. This sound made the game much funnier, but it could not dilute its monotonous course for a long time, and all this signal and railway structure was soon disassembled.




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In "Memories and Reflections" newspaper you can also read the following articles:


Inconceivable law of the mind

Windows in the Iron Curtain

Witnesses of a bygone era

Reflections at the bank entrance

My student life in the 90s

My love, Belarus (impressions about Minsk)

How to shave without using foam, cream or soap

Technology - for the village (elements of modernity and paintings from life in the 1980s and '90s)



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