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The Nizhny Novgorod children's railway is truly amazing, at least in Western eyes. Dozens of schoolchildren operate real rolling stock along the 3.2 km (2 miles) railway line, which lives its own life like a fairy tale kingdom amid the bustle of big city life.
No fairy tales though: the so called children's railways were built under Stalin to help Young Pioneers master real life jobs. Built in 1939, the railway in Nizhny Novgorod is one of the oldest in Russia. It is still active: in summer it works as a day care camp, where children are taught to operate narrow-gauge rolling stock.