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Russia October 2001
Russian Railways reports improved Europe-Asia rail freight performance
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In October 2001 I went to northern Russia to look at a platinum and palladium (and chromite) project near the city of Petrozavodsk.
Initially I was in Moscow at the Company offices for meetings. One good thing was that my hotel was next door to the Moscow-Kiev railway station. One bad thing was that I was so jet-lagged (12 hour time change between West Coast Canada and Moscow) that I was falling into bed by 5pm for the first few days I was there so no chance to railfan as during the day I was in meetings. Finally after I was able to acclimatize somewhat I popped over to the station to have a look. I was a bit nervous as this was shortly after 9/11 so I was not sure how the Russians would take a guy wandering around taking pictures in a train station.
I memorized "I am a Canadian tourist" in Russian prior to going on the trip "just in case". Fortunately no one cared that I was there so I wandered the platforms taking photos of the passenger trains there. The majority were electric locomotives of various types and paint schemes, and a diesel roadswitcher made an appearance as well. The light was not great as it was in October so the days were getting short, but I did manage to get a few passable photos.
The view from the hotel elevator lobby.
Looking back to the Kiev main station. You could just walk in off the street onto the platforms. I wonder if you can do that today...
Inbound train to the station
Outbound train to Kiev. The passenger car colours remind me of VIA Rail Canada's old scheme.
Diesel inbound to switch passenger cars. This was the last photo I took as it was getting very dark and I didn't have a tripod. A few days later I traveled from Moscow to Petrozavodsk via St. Petersburg by train. I was looking forward to this as I had not been on a train in Russia previously. I shared the compartment with a Russian geologist and a translator as my Russian was (and still is) less than passable. The compartment was comfortable with 4 berths, I think it was 1st or 2nd class, I can't recall after all these years. Each car had an attendant who looked after the passengers. I recall they served everyone tea from the galley and hot food as well in the compartment. It was an evening departure with a layover in St. Petersburg where the cars were switched to a different train that travelled north through Petrozavodsk and ultimately to Murmansk. After eating and a long conversation about many things we went to sleep. I noted the translator (who had worked with the company geologist previously) put in earplugs so I did the same, assuming that he knew that the train would be noisy. The train was only one part of the noise. I awoke after a few hours and thought the train was still travelling based on the noise levels in the compartment. I found it odd that with the amount of noise I was hearing there was no sensation of motion at all. After puzzling about this for a bit I popped out an earplug and realized very quickly what the racket was. The geologist (who was a larger older gentleman) was snoring loud enough to literally rattle the windows. I suddenly realized why the translator had put in earplugs and was glad I did the same. The train I rode to Petrozavodsk was led by this diesel. I didn't have a chance to get back to the station to do more railfanning so this is the only railway photo from this location. We arrived in Petrozavodsk and spent several days going over data, drillcore and thin sections. Some of the geologists had spent their entire career studying this specific deposit. They knew more about it that anyone else, but I wonder how useable that knowledge was on other deposits. A village between St. Petersburg and PetrozavodskWhen we were done I was driven back to St. Petersburg where I caught a flight back to Moscow and from there back to Canada. I kind of wished I could have taken the train back but time was not on my side as I had other work projects to do. Ultimately the company elected not to proceed with the property option, and this was my last trip to western Russia.
This article first appeared on ageologistchasingtrains.blogspot.com
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