Tula (Тула) is a industrial city of half a million people located roughly two hundred kilometres south-east of Moscow. At its heart lies the enormous P. Belousov Central Park of Culture and Recreation (Центра́льный парк культуры и отдыха им. П. П. Белоусова), which was established in 1893 on a site that had previously been used for the city dump. The original 36,000 square metre facility was quadrupled in size in the 1950s, resulting in what is by some margin the largest public park in the area. (Petr Petrovich Belousov was a medical doctor who made important contributions to the development of the science of hygiene during the nineteenth century.)
The park has a number of different ride areas. The one of most interest to enthusiasts is a long straight midway located around fifteen minutes walk from the official parking at 54.1770, 37.5952, as it is here that one finds two roller coasters. Our first tick was the run-of-the-mill Caterpillar (#2790), a Vostok machine charged at ₽125 (~€1.70) per person for a three lap cycle. With that done we walked across to the Cyclone (#2791), a vintage Zyklon equivalent with a chain-driven brake and a ₽200 (~€2.72) price tag. This ride had a bit of an identity crisis; huge signage both on the station and the apex proclaimed it to be the "Z40 Roller Coaster", though whether this was accurate or not is anyone's guess; the cars didn't look like what one would expect to see on a typical Pinfari Z40.
Most of the other hardware in the park was generic (and antiquated) though as ever there were a handful of curiosities waiting to be discovered. The most interesting was Bazooka, an outdoor shooting range using a tripod-mounted weapon that apparently dispatched clay pigeons; a pile of orange-coloured rubble could be seen on the ground near the target. It would have been fun to try, but sadly it was unstaffed for our visit. We also spotted a handful of machines that had apparently been retired from the Czech fair circuit, notably the Bungee Jumping Miami that still carried branding for the defunct Lunapark Josef Zahradnik.
Luna Park Carousel
26th August 2019
The Carousel Company (Kомпания «Карусель») operates eleven branded parks as concessions within city parks in the greater Moscow area, including at Kolomenskoye and Park Severnoye Tushino. The branch in Kolomna (Колóмна) is located within City Park (Городской Парк), a 260,000 square metre facility in the center of the city.
Enthusiasts retracing our steps are strongly encouraged to enter the site through the western gate, as this leads to a midway with some independently operated attractions that are not part of the Luna Park. Most of the machines are standard fare, though there was one oddity: a child-sized swing ride with unique rotating seats designed to catch the wind. I found myself idly contemplating whether the same idea could be used on a Star Flyer without generating large quantities of pavement pizza; the idea seems vaguely terrifying.
The fourteen rides in the Luna Park are geared almost exclusively at children. The only real exception is a twenty-six metre high Ferris Wheel dating from Soviet times; the official website describes it as a legacy of a bygone era, though it is also careful to note that significant work has been done on the hardware in recent years: "running gears of the mechanisms were replaced, and rusty or broken parts were eliminated. Now you can take a bird's eye view of the park and the city without worrying about your safety." Coaster counting enthusiasts will also be drawn to the Caterpillar (#2792), a modern machine of indeterminate provenance; we handed over ₽230 (~€3.13) apiece for a three lap cycle.
26th August 2019
Our last stop of the day was in Elektrostal (Электросталь), a city to the east of Moscow named for its two key industries: electricity and steel. The Elemash plant near the centre of the city produces almost one eighth of the world's nuclear fuel assemblies, and a giant metallurgical plant and munitions factory can also be found in the area.
Chudo Park is a small family park located behind the Park Plaza (Парк Плаза) shopping mall. The owners have gone to town with their theming choices; we spotted a wide variety of different characters around the place, including Asterix, Obelix, Minnie Mouse, and Lenin. Our third Caterpillar (#2793) of the day was the cheapest, coming in at ₽120 (~€1.63) for a four lap cycle.