Series TU2 Narrow-Gauge Diesel Locomotives

[Other narrow-gauge locomotives...] [In Russian...] © 2001, Dmitry ZInoviev

Series TU2 ("Teplovoz Uzkokoleyny" - "Narrow-Gauge Diesel Locomotive") diesel locomotives (gauge 750 mm) were made by the Kaluga Machine Building Plant in 1956-1959. Altogether, more than 300 (not less than 274) machines were built. TU2 is a cargo-passenger, single-section, two cockpit diesel locomotive with electric transmission.

The construction of TU2s began for two major reasons. First, somewhere in 1956 the Soviet government ordered that steam traction should vanish from all the Soviet railways as an attribute of the Dark Capitalist Past and an obsticle en route to the Bright Communist Future. Existing narrow-gauge low-power gas locomotives ("motovoz") were too weak to pull long passenger and freight trains, and a new, more powerful locomotive was immediately designed. (By the way, there used to be TU1, too! The only sample of that creature has been cut into pieces in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1999.) The second reason was that at the same time the development of the Virgin Lands ("Tselina") in northern Kazakhstan began, and a plenty of NG lines were constructed to connect wheat and rye fields to grain silos. So, the demand for a cheap powerful NG loco was overwhelming.

The fiels tests were conducted on the experimental ring of TsNI MPS (Central Scientific Research Institute of the Ministry of Railways) in Shatura. The ring existed up to 1972. Special speed trials were conducted in Estonia near the town of P"arnu, where the locomotive TU2-140 reached the speed of 76 km/h. The design of bogies and the state of the tracks did not make it possible to permit its operation at the speeds of more than 50 km/h. Diesel locomotives TU2 and TU4 were field tested almost simultaneously. The TU2 was mentioned for the first time in the newspaper Gudok ("Whistle") in the fall of 1955.

The only regular lines that keeps running TU2s are: Mikhailovka network, Beregovo network, Antonovka network, and Gaivoron network in the Ukraine. The latter network used to be quite extensive (450+ km of main tracks!) However, it has been in constant decline since the early 90's. The only remaining section, ca. 100 km long, sees no more than one daily pair of trains. By the way, this is the only Russian NG system that used sleeping coaches!

There used to be an industrial railways in Nizhni Tagil and Alapaevsk.

Kazakhstan still has a number of NG lines serving its northern Virgin Lands. Reportedly, one of these lines still works. It used to have TU2s, but I am not sure if they are still in service.

Altogether, 105 out of 274 may be reliably in service. 12 of them belong to the Panevezys network in Lithuania which has been closed but not entirely lifted. They are in runnable condition, but their future is uncertain (pretty much like the future of the line itself).

Most of state-owned revenue NG lines have been closed by year 1980 (with the exception of the four lines mentioned above). That was a noticeable blow to the population of TU2s. Another problem with them was that they were easy to break and hard to repair. The only shop that was capable of fixing TU2s was in Gaivoron. They were not good to use on forestry and peat lines, either, because they were too heavy for temporary peat and lumber tracks and did not fit into sharp curves, so plentiful on turf bogs and timber mills. So, eventually most of them has been cut, and some operate on the Children ("Pioneer") railways.


Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo. Two bogies. Four driving axles. Weight: 32 t.

Engine: 1D12, four-stroke without supercharging, 12 cylinders, V-shaped, angle 60 degrees. 500-1560 rpm. Consumption of fuel 60 kg/hour, of oil - 3.6 kg/hour. Oil pressure in the system 6-9 atm. Power 300 h.p. Thrust during the start - 8.500 kg, in continuous operation - 4.650 kg. Cruiser speed 50 km/h, speed in continuous operation - 13 km/h.

Reserve of fuel 700 kg, oil - 120 kg, water - 185 kg, sand - 200 kg.

Power of the main generator (MPT-49/25-3) - 195 kW. Nominal voltage 450V. Traction electric motors: DK-806A, 4 x 55 kW each.

The diameter of wheels 900 mm. Overall length on the couplings 10.740 mm (length of the body - 9.904 mm). the width of the body is 2.450 mm. The height of diesel locomotive from LHR (level of the head of rail) is 3.462 mm. The base of bogies is 1.700 mm. The base of bogie pins 5.000 mm. The minimum radius of passable curves is 50 m.

All diesel locomotives TU2 were supplied with speed recorders. The pictures (below) show an external view and a crosssection of the locomotive and a view of a bogie and of the speed recorder. (Click on the icons -- all of them can be expanded.)

External Crosssection Speed recorder
External View Crosssection
Bogie Speed recorder


We have an enormous quantity of photographs of TU2 of the most diverse colorings and in the most diverse situations. We propose to your attention only some of them. Many more pictures of TU2 can be found in the Picture Gallery.

018 134+172 062 179
TU2-018 (M. Schuring) TU2-134 and TU2-172 (R. Bilek) TU2-062 (M. Schuring) TU2-179 and ChME3 (E. van Gulden)
273 TU2-019 Baku TU2-129
Unloading TU2-273
at Riga Pioneer Railway
In the cockpit of TU2-019 (E. Aliev) Control panel of TU2 (E. Aliev) TU2-129 at Moscow Pioneer Railway, 1996 (S. Tikhomirov)
1D12 1D12 1D12  
Diesel engine 1D12 (E. Aliev) Diesel engine 1D12 (E. Aliev) Generator (E. Aliev)  

Known locomotives of this type

The author of this site knows of 200 locomotives of type TU2. Look for them on the Roster Page (in Russian so far).