Author Archives: Marcus Wong

Funding Russia’s suburban commuter train routes

I’ve written about the three tiers of Russian rail service before – and today I am looking at the middle tier of suburban trains. Known as электри́чка (Elektrichka), they run along tracks shared with freight and long distance passenger services, … Continue reading

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Shower and laundry trains for the Russian army

Sitting, dining and sleeping carriages are a common sight around the world. But in Russia the army operates a special type of train – the банно-прачечный дезинфекционный поезд (БПДП). Translated to English, that is the “bath and laundry disinfection train” or “bath on wheels”.

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Moving a nuclear reactor by rail

Plenty of freight is moved by rail, but something you don’t expect to see being moved by train is a nuclear reactor. But in 2016 it did – when the 330 tonne, 13-metre high and 4.5 meters diameter nuclear reactor vessel was transported from the Atommash plant in Volgodonsk, Russia to the under construction Belarusian nuclear power plant.


Photo via Belarus.by Continue reading

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Russia’s three tiers of rail services

Historically the USSR was served by three tiers of rail services: metro, suburban, and long distance. Each operated with a distinct style of rolling stock, even 20 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, these three families of train are still visible today across Russia.

Moscow Metro train paralleling the mainline railway outside Киевский вокзал (Kievskiy vokzal) Continue reading

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Russian strip clubs

On my travels across Russia I stumbled upon many things – strip clubs being one of them. This sex shop featured sperm in their logo. But this sign for ‘VD One’ was just a clothing store.

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Riding the Kiev Funicular

Funicular railways seem to be quite common in European cities, and the Ukranian capital is no different. The Kiev Funicular is a 238 meter long railway opened in 1905 that links the top and bottom of a hill. Here is … Continue reading

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Newsagents: then and now

Here’s a traditional newsstand on the Kiev Metro. And the modern equivalent in Moscow – a bank of newspaper vending machines. Given how the internet has decimated traditional print media, how long until even the vending machines disappear?

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Dynamic next station displays on the Moscow Metro

Dynamic next station displays are beginning to become common onboard trains, as they clearly indicate to passengers where they are and where they are headed. I found this example onboard a Koltsevaya Line (line 5) train that encircles central Moscow.

LED next station display onboard a Koltsevaya Line train Continue reading

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Диггерство – the urban explorers of Russia

In the English speaking world the practice of exploring tunnels, drains and abandoned buildings is known as urban exploration. Russian speakers have their own term – Диггерство – which translates to ‘digger’.

Inside a trashed office Continue reading

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Danger onboard a Russian train, or just free electricity?

In the hallway of a Russian sleeping train I found this ominous looking sign beside the electrical outlet. Am I allowed to touch it? Is it just for electric shavers? And will it blow up my phone charger if I plug it in?

Power point onboard our Russian sleeping carriage - the ominous looking notice pretty much reads "DEAR PASSENGERS - FREE TO USE!" Continue reading

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