Some Photos Tell a Story.
I don’t know how many photographs I’ve taken on my travels. Probably thousands. Maybe even hundreds of thousands! My strategy is pretty simple: if you take lots and lots of photos, you’re bound to get a few good ones.
My problem is I don’t ever get the good ones organized and I don’t dump the ones that are mediocre and will never see the light of day anywhere. Not even here!
At any rate, I was rummaging through files and files of photos the other day and came across a shot that, while nothing special in an artistic sense, might be of interest to many of the folks who occasionally look in to see what’s going on here.
A few years back, I was on an overnight train from Berlin to Moscow. As is my habit, I awoke just after dawn as the train was approaching the border between Belarus and Russia. It was here, at the border, when the track gauge—that’s the spacing between the two rails—was to change from the international standard of four feet eight-and-a-half inches to an even five feet.
The assumption, now believed to be untrue, has been that the change in gauge at the Russian border was to be an impediment to be faced by any invading army attempting to bring massive numbers of tanks and big guns into Russia.
When I woke up in my compartment the next morning, the train was in what appeared to be a long shed. We had stopped with the last four cars on the train—the diner and three sleepers—positioned with a large yellow jack on each corner.
For the next 25-30 minutes, I watched as our four cars we’re jacked up and the standard gauge wheel assemblies (called bogies) rolled out from under towards the front of the train. After the replacement wheel assemblies, seen in this photo, were pushed into place, the four rail cars were lowered onto the new bogies, secured, and hauled out of the forward end of the shed and reconnected to the four coaches at the front of the train.
An hour later, I was having breakfast in the diner as the train was rolling through endless fields of grain en route to Moscow. The British couple at an adjacent table were unaware of the change-over that had occurred around dawn that morning. They missed all the fun!