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10 November 2017


In search of a piece of SkyWay history

During EcoFest 2017, the most popular place for the guests of SkyWay EcoTechnoPark was the Museum of string transport technology. The hallmark of the Museum is undoubtedly ZIL-131 - the truck, which became the basis to create the first full-scale simulator of SkyWay transport module at the experimental UST test site in the town of Ozyory near Moscow in 2001.

The hallmark of the Museum is undoubtedly ZIL-131 - the truck, which became the basis to create the first full-scale simulator of SkyWay transport module at the experimental UST test site in the town of Ozyory near Moscow in 2001

The whereabouts of this important historical SkyWay component remained unknown for a long time: in early 2000s, the experimental test site of string transport was dismantled, and the legendary ZIL disappeared with it.

Yevgeny Kudryashov and Sergey Sibiryakov attempted to return this part of SkyWay technological heritage. In December 2016, they headed to Ozyory to find out about the fate of the legendary vehicle and, if possible, deliver it to SkyWay Museum, to the homeland of its creator Anatoly Yunitskiy.

Translation of the video:

TV news: The first tests of a unique transport system were held in the town of Ozyory near Moscow. An elevated string track will be launched in operation there very soon.

Speed of the new vehicle may reach up to 500 km/h. It will be possible to ride in it this year near Moscow.

Professionals call it a string module, because the rail it is moving on looks like a string.

The strings are supposed to be used to deliver clean drinking water to Moscow. It is plenty here in Ozyory.

First, the string transport is to be built.

Sergey Sibiryakov: Well, we are standing at the entry road to the town of Ozyory. Almost 16 years ago, the practical implementation of SkyWay concept started here.

We came here with Yevgeny to meet with the Administration and to arrange reclaiming of what is left from the first laboratory ZIL-131 truck, because it is very important to keep that history. Though vandals have destroyed the test site that was built and operated here for 10 years, our task is to revive the history and to display it in Maryina Gorka as an initial point for the technology. This exhibit must be there as a part of SkyWay technology development. We have a preliminary agreement with them to show us where it is located, what is left from ZIL-131. We shall discuss with the Administration how to reclaim it. Yevgeny and I are just at the place, from which all of it originated. We shall record what is left from that test site.

Yevgeny Kudryashov: OK, let us go to the Administration.

S.S.: Hallo. May I ask you a question? Some 15 years ago, tests were held here. Governor Gromov came here and a ZIL truck ran on strings nearby. Do you remember it?

Employee: String track?

S.S.: Right, string track. You even remember the term. Gromov and Lebed came here.

Employee: Yes. I remember it. They were here. And the representative of the company.

S.S.: Do you mean engineer Yunitskiy?

Employee: That's right. And there were some sort of capsules. My husband worked there.

S.S.: Our purpose is to find that ZIL truck somewhere here.

We are going to have some short technical meetings in the office so as to proceed saving our ZIL and the history.

We are from the news service.

Administrator: Please, better come up with me to my office.

S.S.: We were building an experimental track called Unitsky String Transport. The first financing was from Governor Alexander Lebed. He came here. Governor Gromov also came here for demonstration. President of Adygea Hazret Sovmen came here, too. Look, these are the photos. Governor Gromov, your former Mayor Sashchikhin, our General Designer Yunitskiy. It was at the presentation in 2001. We have built such test track for ZIL not far from here at the stone-crushing plant. Then the Governor of Ulyanovsk region Sergey Morozov presented our program to Dmitry Medvedev at the State Council meeting in 2009. They supported us, but later the result was quite opposite to the expected one. For unclear reasons this test site was demolished. The Administration said that the land plot was rented and the rent was not paid, though it was. Therefore, we terminated our work here. We came here every year until 2010 and examined what was happening with the track from the scientific viewpoint. Though the track was not operated, but it had a great scientific importance. Two years ago, we started to build another test site in the town of Maryina Gorka near Minsk. It is in operation now. However, we would like to show how it all started in Ozyory. Some people told us, where this ZIL stayed. We are trying to find it and restore. I'm going to show you the photo.

Administrator: A terrible experience. Everything was cut off.

S.S.: Unfortunately. The structure was quite large. This is the support we have built.

Administrator: What kind of track is it?

S.S.: It is a new concept, new mode of transport. Today it is coming to replace aviation, automobile and railway transport altogether. You see, it is impossible to mount ZIL on conventional cables and rails. This technology provides a very lightweight and strong structure. We are now building in Maryina Gorka a route that will provide 500 km/h speed.

Y.K.: We have launched the first unibike, transport of the second level.

Administrator: Oh, it's so cool!

Y.K.: It is a transport capable to replace metro at 100 times less construction cost.

Administrator: These are miracles!

S.S.: This route will provide 500 km/h speed at much less cost.

Administrator: Wow! You are building it near Minsk?

S.S.: Yes. And that was planned to build here. We started to do it here and wanted to extend the route to Moscow and it would take 20-30 minutes to travel from here to Moscow.

Administrator: You can't imagine how important it is now, when it takes 2 hours at best to get there.

S.S.: Here is the whole team and the "zero kilometer" stone. Now we are here in Ozyory, because it is becoming a history and we are restoring some definite things. We started to search them and the woman we met at the entrance said she remembered it. And her husband worked at that test site. I was building the test site and lived there in 2000-2001. We came here with Gromov, Sovmen and many others. We had here field joint sessions of the Transport Ministry and Ministry of Railways twice in your People's Hall. We contacted some people about ZIL and they said they saw it somewhere. Now we are trying to find it. It is very important for us to deliver this ZIL from Ozyory and install it in Maryina Gorka like a historical exhibit.

Administrator: Let's exchange phone numbers and I will try to help you to find this ZIL.

S.S.: At those times, we were friends with your Administration.

Administrator: Why not? It is a good thing.

S.S.: Thank you very much.

Y.K.: Maybe, this is the territory.

S.S.: It looks like it. It should be on a small hill. Fifteen years have passed and the memory keeps it. The first support stood here. Right here. The track went up through that breach. They broke it here and those are concrete remnants of a concrete road. Let's go and see the place where the large anchor support stood.

It is hard to believe this place was so historical. Whom would this stand disturb if it stood here until now? These are elements of our supports that were here. We are going to the location of the large anchor support. The whole stand was 180 m long. Forty meters from one side and 140 m over there. A historical place. This abandoned plant was planned for production of unibuses and track structure. However, it did not happen at that time. That anchor support stood right here. Here it stood. The track went over there from it. That's what is left from the grandiose structure. From the technology that will change not only Russia, but also the entire world.

This is the stone with the inscription "Zero kilometer" made 15 years ago. Certainly, we cannot see any letters here now.

That's it. We are going to see ZIL.

Some 15 years ago, ZIL-131 rode on the test site. Do you remember it? Gromov came here. We need to find its wreckage.

Worker: I can't tell you anything.

S.S.: Is there a place here with old vehicles?

Restricted entry.

We have a question to you. Some 15 years ago, tests were held there. Gromov and Lebed attended them. ZIL-131 ran there. Do you have any wreckage of ZIL-131 on your territory?

Gateman: No, we don't.

S.S.: Is there a truck company around here? Where should we go to search ZIL?

Gateman: You better go to "Avtodor".

S.S.: Thank you.

Over there.

Zhenya, it is cool!

Not knowing the past, it is impossible to understand the real sense of the present and the goal of the future.
Maxim Gorky

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