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Romance on the Rails - Wolsztyn, Poland

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It all started with the movie "Before Sunrise." I watched this film a week before joining United Airlines, and immediately envisioned a grand rail trip through Europe. On the journey, I'd meet a handsome foreign stranger, we'd engage in intellectual intercourse for hours and then skip off from the station to some remote, romantic bridge for a sunset kiss. I've never once traveled the rails during any of my international trips, so this fairy tale remains buried in my mind. Such train encounters seem less likely in today's world, where everyone's face is buried in mobile devices and laptops, yet I'd like to believe they're still possible mostly because romance and the rails remain intertwined in a lot of societies. I most recently saw it in Wolsztyn, Poland, home to an operating steam locomotive. The locomotive itself is very cool, but my attention was initially drawn to this beautiful wedding couple on the track.

1. Why are trains and the rails associated with romance? I'm not sure but the theme is pervasive in a lot of wedding photography and both old and modern films. I suppose it's because in the early days of travel trains were the only way to escape or go on a grand journey. And romance, well it's an escape from the normal pace of relationships and life.

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2. The town of Wolsztyn is in the middle of nowhere, and the main attraction is the steam locomotive. Every year the depot hosts a locomotive parade, drawing visitors from around the globe.

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3. Many abandoned and old locomotives sit on the tracks.

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4. Sometimes it was difficult to tell which parked cars were operational and which were sitting there merely for decorative purposes. Rural parts of Poland are beautiful, so I think a ride through this area would be met with scenic views.

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5. We arrived early and watched the preparations for take off. A team of hard working rail workers loaded barrels and barrels of coal.

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6. The job is labor intensive, involving a lot of lifting and manual labor. I suspect the skin and clothes of the rail workers are completely blackened with coal dust at the end of every working day. And what does it do to their lungs?

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7. On the platform, I met people from England and Germany who traveled to Wolsztyn simply to take a ride on the steam machine. It's quite glorious when it takes off, the roar from the motion on the rails and strong smell of burning coal penetrate the air.

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8. The Wolsztyn station also serves as a museum of sorts. Behind huge and heavy barricades there are a lot of different train models. Workers and ticket operators here were friendly, but they refused to open the heavy doors behind which the locomotives sit. So, Alexander took it upon himself to do the dirty work. Here, a train enthusiasts dream. A lot of different models to inspect.

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9. P.K.P. - logo for the Polish State Railways is embedded on a lot of the trains. What is this bird? I can't tell?

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10. You can climb into one of the parked locomotives to inspect some mechanical parts. Engineers amongst us will likely understand what each component does to make the train move along, but to me all these knobs, measuring devices and levers are completely foreign.

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11. I imagine train travel to be similar to airports, where you encounter every type of person and emotion possible. People anxious and excited to see loved ones, meet an important client, or arrive at some exotic locale. Conversely, there are sad people leaving family or loved ones, tired business travelers, and those who are just sick of the daily grind of life. I think the old woman here falls into the last category.

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12. Train travel a curiosity and exciting adventure for this young lad.

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13. Local gopniks? :)

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14. A train was quickly approaching, but these men decided to walk across the tracks at a leisurely pace. What if they accidentally fell? Ah, youth. When we believe we're completely indestructible.

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15. Bottom sign shows a man in a red circle. What does it mean?

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16. A train track runs directly through my hometown of Manassas, where you will frequently see weddings in the nearby gazebo and shots taken from the station and tracks. Continuing the theme of romance and the rails right here in America. However, train travel is not a popular mode of transportation for most Americans. Almost everyone has a car, and excellent road infrastructure allows for long distance travel with few headaches. It's also expensive to take the train, sometimes not much cheaper than flying which usually takes a lot less time.

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17. Another way to travel in Wolsztyn. Such charm and peace in most of these small Eastern European towns.

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18. For me, there's still some intrigue associated with train travel. I suppose those with adventurous and wandering spirits are always curious about things not yet experienced, vibrations not yet felt and scenes not yet viewed with their own eyes.

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What do you think? Should I take a train journey during my next visit to Russia? What should I expect about comfort and service levels on Russian trains? Is it safe?

Comments

( 99 comments — Leave a comment )
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grand_damme
Jan. 12th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
Russian trains and comfort



Edited at 2014-01-12 11:42 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 12th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Russian trains and comfort
Where are the English subtitles? :)) Even without them, the video is very amusing. I'm certain train travel in Russia will be an interesting experience, like everything else there.
Re: Russian trains and comfort - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 07:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Russian trains and comfort - qi_tronic - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Russian trains and comfort - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Russian trains and comfort - qi_tronic - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
amandakysses
Jan. 13th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
Woman, you absolutely must ride the train! I've told you before, it's my favorite way to travel. Comfortable, peaceful, beautiful scenery. As solitary or as friendly an experience as you make it. Maybe because i grew up traveling on trains back and forth from NYC to Long Island, and I spent so much time traveling from NYC to DC and back later in life, but it makes me feel so nostalgic and happy. I love hearing a train in the distance too. It is so romantic. Im not sure what the experience will be in Russia of course, but I recommend taking the Amtrak up the east coast some time, or even out west for some nicer landscapes. I think on the rails would be the perfect way to fall in love.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC)
I think DC - NYC is one of the most popular train routes, at least for business travel. But I have no desire to go to NYC unless forced to. Maybe I could take the train to Vermont one time. Now that's a romantic State, full of great little towns. :)
(no subject) - amandakysses - Jan. 13th, 2014 01:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 01:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amandakysses - Jan. 13th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC) - Expand
rider3099
Jan. 13th, 2014 12:51 am (UTC)
I like trains :)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
You rode them overseas or in America? Of course, I've been on metro rails but never long distance train travel.
(no subject) - rider3099 - Jan. 13th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
yarowind
Jan. 13th, 2014 03:50 am (UTC)
>>Should I take a train journey during my next visit to Russia? What should I expect about comfort and service levels on Russian trains?

Why not?:)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
You've used the trains a lot? Are they comfortable or outdated?
(no subject) - yarowind - Jan. 13th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
andrey_kaminsky
Jan. 13th, 2014 05:04 am (UTC)
Простые вещи
I am willing to give you an explanation about those signs. They are intended to inform tourists about the local regulations for use of toilets. The upper sign warns that lavatory pans are large and visitors with lean bottoms must be careful. Lower sign is widespread in catholic countries, but it is intended for men only. The fact is that workers are generally conservative men in matters of sexual minorities. For this reason, while using the urinal a person must keep a distance of not less than arm's length from the neighbor. It is the sign "comply lateral distance when pee" As you can see, everything is easy, except for the name of this town. To remember its is almost impossible.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 01:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Простые вещи
Almost all town names in Poland are impossibly long and complicated, almost more so than Russian words. What about Russian trains? Do you ride them frequently and what are they like?
Re: Простые вещи - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Простые вещи - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Простые вещи - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
a_nimaida
Jan. 13th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC)
What do you think? Should I take a train journey during my next visit to Russia? What should I expect about comfort and service levels on Russian trains? Is it safe?<<<<<<<<<

why to travel by train in Russia to be dangerous? (почему путешествовать на поезде в России должно быть опасно?)


Russia may still bears walk the streets?)))

Edited at 2014-01-13 07:39 am (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 01:49 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it is dangerous or what the comfort level of Russian trains is, that's why I asked the questions.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Jan. 13th, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
A romantic adventure would be to travel to the Far East ... 7 days in a train :)))
Probably the longest passenger train route in the World.

As for steam locomotives there's a train museum in Moscow.
www. rzd-expo. ru/museums/museum_of_the_moscow_railway/

They used to have also excursions on steam trains but it looks like this is temporarily off.
www. retropoezd. ru

When I mentioned this to macos he answered that there is a HUGE difference: in Poland they still have a regular steam train service.
For liberals every difference with Western countries is a HUGE gap (not in Russia's favor, of course) :)))
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC)
7 days is too long! No matter how romantic it might be at first, I would probably want to kill the person after being trapped in a train nonstop with him for a week. I doubt you and Alexander will agree on most things. :)
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jan. 13th, 2014 03:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 13th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 13th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 13th, 2014 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 13th, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
noddeat
Jan. 13th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
"9. P.K.P. - logo for the Polish State Railways is embedded on a lot of the trains. What is this bird? I can't tell?"

It's actually a coat of arms of Poland, the bird is white eagle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_Poland

"15. Bottom sign shows a man in a red circle. What does it mean?"

The sign means "trespassing forbidden". Normally it also means a significant fine, but in this particular town no one cares probably.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for solving two mysteries. :)
mrdoodler
Jan. 13th, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
The longest train route is the Trans Siberian rail, I'm hoping to take it one day. Although its not as cheap these days.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 13th, 2014 11:00 pm (UTC)
This route is world famous, I think most people have heard of it (even in America). Always good to have a dream in life. Never lose it!
(no subject) - mrdoodler - Jan. 14th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
robuste
Jan. 14th, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC)
You are very romantic person :) Railway trip is great. I didn't take it for long time, but my reminiscence is pleasant. You know, I used to work as a stoker. Of course not on a steam locomotive and not in Moscow :) Just for heating in a small town. It was in the late eighties.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 14th, 2014 01:05 pm (UTC)
I think almost all women love romance, but of course for each person it means something different. My grandfather was a coal miner.
(no subject) - robuste - Jan. 14th, 2014 01:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
mybathroom
Jan. 14th, 2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
When I was a student I used to go by train twice a week. My train was in the way in two hours. The distance between my town and the other one is 60 km. The train twists in the middle of the wood, swamps and tiny villages. The train was the cheapest way to achieve Vladimir where I studied. In my time the train consisted of four or more cars. Now it’s usually one or two cars.
I traveled by Sapsan (to Saint-Petersburg) a couple of times. I liked it. It’s modern and comfortable.
Express train is comfortable if you use a sleeping car but not a carriage with numbered reserved seats (плацкартный вагон).
I don’t quite understand what did you mean of “safe” but I think that Russian trains as safe as whole Russia. So if you find someone Russian who will be with you, it would be interesting experience.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 14th, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
I did something similar during my first year of law school, traveling two hours each way at night to study in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a real torture for me, but after my first year of studies I did well enough to transfer to a law school in my home area. Thanks for info on the trains! Re "safety," I was referring to the equipment as I know Russia sometimes lags behind when it comes to technology and modern infrastructure.
(no subject) - mybathroom - Jan. 15th, 2014 04:53 am (UTC) - Expand
nar_row
Jan. 14th, 2014 03:51 pm (UTC)
"What should I expect about comfort and service levels on Russian trains? Is it safe?"

What is exactly "comfort" and "safety" means for you in that case?
peacetraveler22
Jan. 14th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
Safety is not riding on faulty or antiquated equipment. Comfort is leg room and not sitting on hard, wooden seats for long periods of time. Not sweating to death in some hot, stuffy train car. When I was in Russia last winter, I almost suffocated in public places which were so warm with the heating turned up way too high for my liking. This was especially true in my friend's apartment, where I opened the window on most nights to cool off. But I can't tolerate any type of heat or being too warm, I'd rather be cold any day. :))
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 14th, 2014 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nar_row - Jan. 14th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 14th, 2014 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 15th, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
I like forests and rural landscapes. It's also very popular for American couples to have wedding shoots at train tracks. Why don't you like flying? Are you scared of crashing?
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jan. 15th, 2014 12:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
anna_sollanna
Jan. 16th, 2014 11:35 am (UTC)
> Why are trains and the rails associated with romance?
I think it is because in trains there is still ability for passenger to walk, to change their clothes, to have a dinner or supper in a restaurant. Neither planes nor cars nor buses can provide such a ability...
I like trains too and here in Saint-Petersburg there is a steam engine museum too.
> However, train travel is not a popular mode of transportation for most Americans.
Do you remember an episode of "Sex and the City" where Carrie and Samantha traveled from New-York to the Western coast by train? Did they show American trains correctly or was this episode a kind of a parody?
> Should I take a train journey during my next visit to Russia? What should I expect about comfort and service levels on Russian trains? Is it safe?
As far as I know there are a lot of high-speed sedentary trains that run between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, comfort and service there I think should be similar with Europeans. But the rest of trains... well they may be not clean and not safe, especially second-class sleeping cars and sitting sleeping cars (I am not sure whether they can be called day coaches because in fact passengers in them travel not during day, but during night and more..) Also we have suburban electric trains and only few of them are of heightened comfort (the only difference between them and usual trains is that they have a WC, but there is only one WC in the whole heightened comfort train!) So I think traveling in Russian trains may be a rather challenging experience and it is worth to take this journey only with your Russian friends, but not alone.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 16th, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC)
I don't remember that episode of Sex and the City, but it was a great show! I wonder if people actually take the time to talk to others even on trains? I don't know about in Russia but here in America on public transport almost everyone is constantly on their mobile, laptop or tablet, completely oblivious to the people around them. I'm guilty of it sometimes too, but not as bad as others (esp. those in their teens and 20's).

Mostly I worry about the language barrier on trains because my knowledge of Russian is limited. So, if I go it will have to be with a Russian companion.
(no subject) - anna_sollanna - Jan. 20th, 2014 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
real_marsel
Jan. 25th, 2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
Very nice pics.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 26th, 2014 03:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Poland is a very beautiful and pleasant place. Recommend a visit there.
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