Belarus, Russia: Minsk-Murmansk Train

Global Voices Online
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LJ user af1461's blog has many wonderful photo entries about the Russian North, the Far East and other regions, as well as about Russian railways (see, for example, these photos of a "dead" train station in a town in Murmansk region).

The post translated below (RUS), however, isn't a typical one. It features a photo of a note pasted on the Minsk-Murmansk train - a note that's supposed to assist passengers in locating cars they've got tickets for, but is instead a great illustration of how easily something mundane may turn into the frustratingly surreal in this part of the world.

Quite a mess

Train #325/326, Minsk-Murmansk, is [mixture] of add-on cars - the Minsk-Murmansk kernel consists of only eight cars or so, while the rest are attached in [Grodno], [Brest], [Gomel], [Velikiye Luki], [Pskov] and other such places.

As a result, when the train departs from Murmansk, the numbering of cars is such that only a very sober and attentive passenger would be able to find his car:


Here's the note's translation:

train 325 numbering [of cars starts]
at the train's head
31, 32, 34, 33, from 2 to 7, [handwritten 8 inserted], 20, 21,
29, 19, 22, 17, 18, 23, 15
[handwritten at the bottom] car 0 [is] between 5 and 6

And here are two reader comments:


Big deal! This is how apartments in [St. Petersburg]'s old buildings are numbered ;) On one floor you'd have apartments 3, 17, and 24.


This is an IQ test for Murmansk residents :)

There was time when my wife was riding this train, and there's another fun thing about it: half of its cars are [registered in Belarus], while another half - in Russia, and the tickets for the former are 1.5 times cheaper. So when you were buying tickets, you had to say, "I need one for a Belarusian car" - and it came out cheaper that way.

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