The armoured train no. 7 Wabadus, currently waiting on a siding at Operail’s Tapa Depots, is heading to Viimsi this summer for a longer stay at the Estonian War Museum, where it will be open to new visitors. As at today, the armoured train has welcomed 105,000 guests.
The wagons arriving at the Estonian War Museum in summer will remain Operail’s property, but will become exhibits of the museum for a long while under a contract to allow even more people to see the armoured train. “The very large number of visitors – 105,000 people – shows the importance and popularity of the armoured train and this number will hopefully continue to increase significantly,” said Rain Johanson, Operail’s Director of Repairs Business Unit in Tapa.
After driving for almost 2,000 kilometres across Estonia and Latvia, Wabadus has come to rest at its birthplace, Operail’s Tapa Depots. “Although we were confident in the quality of our work, we still wondered how the whole assembly would hold up. Luckily, the wagons did not need any repairs on their long journey. There was only this one time where we noticed that the harsh weather had damaged one of the wagons and its roof was leaking a little. We properly fixed that and there were no other problems on the journey,” said Johanson.
The armoured wagons of Wabadus, which were built in Tapa without any blueprints or schematics, with only the existing photo material to draw from, met all safety requirements. “The armoured train Wabadus comprised two platform wagons with brakes and four armoured wagons, of which three were brakeless two-axle wagons and one was a four-axle artillery wagon equipped with brakes. We assembled the armoured train in such a way that it would have wagons with brakes on both ends. We installed only a piping system under a brakeless chassis, through which the air required for brake operation reached the wagons at the back as well,” Johanson explained. “In conclusion, railway safety was definitely guaranteed and everything went according to plan.”
The armoured train no. 7 Wabadus is the result of collaboration between the organising committee of Estonia 100, the Estonian War Museum, and Operail. Estonian Railways, the Estonian Defence League, and local governments all contribute to the journey of the armoured train Wabadus and the armoured car Estonia. The armoured train was first presented at Operail’s Tapa Depots on 27 November 2018.