Friday, 30 October 2015

extracurricular or rolling-stock

Via the ever interesting Presurfer comes a look at a yet extant relic of the planned economy in the Soviet Union and its satellite states in the form of heritage railways created as training platforms for apprentice students (die so genannt Pionieresienbahnen, but also present in Uzbekistan, Belarus, Hungary, China, Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland and Cuba) and aspiring engineers, complete with all the scaled down but functional equipment to learn all aspects of running a train-service to include switching-stations and actual routes that attend to recreational spots. Going to school during East German times, H told me that there was one period a week reserved for what was termed practical education but as his class was brought to a lamp factory, it really couldn’t be considered anything but child-labour and was a rather dreary, dangerous hour. It is all the more depressing to think that there was such a Pioneer Railway located right in Leipzig, where H grew up, for the luckier kids.  I think it would have been fun to be a conductor and get to wear a spiffy uniform, like those pictured at the link.