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The story of a train ride in Russia

I have taken two trains in Russia. The same route both times. The first time was from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and the second time was from St. Petersburg back to Moscow. Although the route taken is the same, I found an interesting situation, the appearance of the railway station in Moscow and St. Petersburg (renamed Leningrad in 1924-1991) is actually the same. More interesting is that the railway station in Moscow is called “Leningrad Railway Station”, while the railway station in St. Petersburg is called “Moscow Railway Station”.

This is a story left over 100 years ago.

In 1842, Tsar Nicholas I signed the order to build Russia’s first railway, the Great Russian Railway from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The famous architect KA Dun was commissioned to undertake this design task. He is a very famous Russian architect, who has presided over the design of the Church of the Savior, the Church of Catherine and the Kremlin and other great projects. The railway stations in both cities were constructed according to one design. After 7 years, it was completed in 1849, with a total length of 649.7 kilometers. It took 7 years to build more than 600 kilometers of railways, which shows how difficult it was to build railways at that time. On August 3, 1851, the first train arrived in Moscow from St. Petersburg, which became a very sensational event at the time. Russian nobles are proud to be able to ride this first train.

The railway station in St. Petersburg looks exactly the same as the railway station in Moscow. The difference is that there is a bust of Lenin standing in the waiting hall of the Moscow railway station. Chinese. The bust of Peter the Great was replaced in the old waiting hall of Leningrad Station. After these years of great changes like the vicissitudes of life, how did Lenin and Peter the Great feel and how did they feel?

While I was thinking this way, a Russian policeman came to me, saluted, and then said to me, “Please hand me your passport for inspection.” In middle school, I studied Russian for a few years, very hard. According to an insider, my Russian score in the college entrance examination was 2 full points, which was great. In fact, it’s not that I have much language talent, it’s mainly that Mr. Wang Defu, who taught us Russian, taught us well. But I had almost forgotten it by now, so I picked the simplest words and asked him: “Why?” He said, “Routine inspection.” In fact, I already understood at this time that he wanted a “tip”. At that time, China’s reform and opening up was in full swing. Russians think that Chinese people have money, and everyone who comes to Russia will make money. And most Chinese people are reluctant to make trouble, especially in a foreign country, they can pass a few small sums of money. After going back and forth, the police there are used to making mistakes. If you don’t take the initiative to give a “tip”, he will find you a fine. There is no way, the hero does not suffer immediate losses, I slowly take out my passport. Who knows, he only glanced at him, and before he took it, he saluted again, and said very politely, “I’m sorry, please keep your passport. I’m willing to serve you.” I understood immediately. My passport is “red skin”. The red-skin passport has diplomatic immunity, which is consistent with the Soviet Union and China. The police understand that those who hold such passports, either high-ranking officials or diplomats, cannot be checked casually. I fell to the ground with a stone.

Russian trains are very good. The first is cleanliness. The bedspread and pillowcases on the sleeper are all white, and the quilt is also white. It seems to be filled with fluffy cotton. Lying on it is very reassuring, and you can’t help but take off your coat. The second is convenience. We are thoughtful for passengers. Wherever you need to pull with your hands, there are handles. Getting up, sitting, standing and standing is reassuring. As soon as I settled down, a male train attendant brought boiled water and some snacks, and made a strange voice in Chinese: “Hello! Chinese friends.”

Lying in bed and unable to sleep, I remembered a few train rides abroad.

I remember the first time I took a train abroad in Germany. It was in the middle of the Frankfurt Book Fair, from Frankfurt to Berlin, for the ISBN conference held at the Berlin Library. Arrive at the station ten minutes before leaving the car. There was no ticket check, so I entered the platform and found the carriage marked on the ticket. When I got into the carriage, I found the door number written on the ticket. I found that there was already a signature with my name on the door. It doesn’t seem to be a high-end box. There are two or three people in it, all of them holding a book or a magazine, and there is no sound. I also quietly found a seat and sat down. I was tired, took a nap, woke up and found myself covered with a blanket, I don’t know who covered it, so I had to say “thank you” softly.

The second time I took the train was in Italy, from Florence to Venice. The train station is completely open, and you can buy tickets at the automatic ticket machine and wait until the train you want to take arrives. There is no queue for ticket purchase, no queue for ticket check, no queue for boarding, and no crowds. I feel that the train is just like taking a domestic bus. Open the door to get on the train and get off at the station, which is very convenient. But there is one thing, although there is no ticket checking when getting on and off the train, the ticket is checked once in the middle of the car. Of course, we will not evade fares, with tickets in hand, waiting for the conductor to check. Unexpectedly, the ticket inspector took our ticket and looked at it again and again. Look at the tickets, look at us again. Any questions? See our hair straight. The ticket inspector finally spoke up. Italian, I don’t understand. The ticket inspector found someone who could speak English to talk to us. It turned out that our tickets were not checked, and there was no imprint on the tickets. Only then did we realize that the Italian railway station seemed to be loose, and no one was guarding it at all, but for tickets bought through the automatic ticket machine, we had to “check the ticket” in the waiting room, that is, punch in the card. In this way, even if this ticket has been checked, the record of the ride is left on it, and it cannot be used again next time. And we are so focused on enjoying the freedom and unhindered happiness that we forgot to check the ticket. The ticket inspector thought we were doing something wrong, and after asking carefully, he finally believed that we did it without knowing it. The ticket inspector said: “I know that you are Chinese and you are not familiar with the situation, so I won’t be fined. But I want to indicate on the back of the ticket that this ticket has already been used.” We thank the ticket inspector for their trust.

Perhaps because I am the son of a railway worker, and most of my neighbors are family members of the railway worker, when I was in junior high school, I took the train to and from school every day, so I was very familiar with the atmosphere of the railway station and had a special feeling for the train.

Russian trains are very famous. There is the Trans-Siberian Railway, with a total length of 9937 kilometers, which is the longest railway in the world. Westerners call this railway the “Great Wall of Russia”. It was built in 1891 and has a history of more than 120 years. The scenery along the way is very beautiful. There is a beautiful church near the Irkutsk station; the car crosses Lake Baikal, and the smoked fish made from the autumn whitefish that is abundant in the lake is sold on the platform. The fragrance wafts, attracting tourists to line up to buy; It takes five or six hours to walk, the waves rolled by the wind, the flying seagulls, the carp jumping out of the water, and the scenery on the lake can be seen. The car set out from Novosibirsk, the green buds of the trees had just been conceived, and the Ural Mountains were covered with ice and snow. If we went further, we entered the Eastern European Plain, and the young leaves were already green. Two or three days of itinerary, experienced early spring, cold winter and early summer. It is said that the golden autumn season is the most beautiful along the way, with green pine, white birch, and redwood, as brilliant as Russian oil paintings.

I took the train from Beijing to Russia, and I had to change tracks when I arrived in Erenhot. The rails in China are international standard rails (commonly known as narrow gauges) with a gauge of 1435mm, while those in Russia and Mongolia are 1520mm (commonly known as wide gauges). When we arrive at Erenhot, we will go further to Mongolia. Therefore, our narrow-gauge chassis will be replaced with their wide-gauge chassis. This is also a very good show to ride on this train.

The process of “change of tracks” is like this: the whole car is lifted up, and the passengers are all on the train and do not need to get off. Next, the chassis left on the rails was driven by the steel wires on the side, and the narrow-gauge chassis of all the carriages were withdrawn, and the Russian and Mongolian gauge chassis that had been arranged in sequence at the other end moved to the designated position under the carriage. Then the whole carriage is put down, tightly connected with the chassis, and then the carriages are spliced ​​together, which completes the rail changing ceremony. It takes two or three hours before and after.

There are many stories about Russian trains, so let’s get down to business.

This time, because the ticket was booked late, I didn’t get a two-person cabin. After we arranged our luggage, there was no one else in the carriage. 20 minutes before leaving the car, a friend stood at the door of the box and said, “Hurry up and pray. I hope there are no people in the two empty beds.”

Just as he was talking, a man came in. After greeting me politely, I sat down to read a magazine.

The friend said: “Pray again, I hope no one comes, especially no lady.”

I didn’t understand why he was so nervous about Ms. Lai, so I asked. He told me an anecdote he had experienced. He took the Soviet train for the first time, and it was also four people, three men and one woman. After the car started, he saw that it was getting late, so he got into bed and lay down. After a while, the two men went out, the lady didn’t move, he ignored it. After a while, a man who was out came in, patted him on the shoulder, and said, “Please come out.” The friend was stunned and asked, “What are you doing?” Answer: “Please come out and let the lady change.” The friend was relieved, hurriedly climbed down the bunk, and got out of the box inexplicably. The lady closed the door immediately. After about a quarter of an hour, the lady opened the door and probed. The two men walked in, and the friend followed. I saw that the lady had changed into pajamas and a nightcap, leaning against the pillow to read a book.

He understood, and then he went to sleep.

Unexpectedly, the next morning, the man invited him out again. It turned out that the woman had to get up and change clothes.

In view of this, this time he stood at the door of the box, looking left and right, and said again and again: “I hope there is no one in the rest of the bed. No one is a lady, let alone a fat lady. Otherwise, not only will you have to toss, but it will be impossible to turn around. already.”

10 minutes to go, no one came.

5 minutes to go, no one came.

My friends were overjoyed, and they were about to cheer and celebrate when a lady came in in the last 3 minutes. Luckily not fat.

In the evening, it really “behaves like a ceremonial”. It’s just that this time he was experienced and he pulled me out first. Another Russian man just bury his head in his book and was politely invited out by the lady who couldn’t wait.

From St. Petersburg back to Moscow, we sat in a box for two. After we entered the station, we recognized our seats and stood in the aisle of the carriage, watching the passengers coming and going on the platform. A train on the opposite side was about to leave, and it was already full of people. I knew at a glance that it was a “commuter car” for workers in the suburbs to commute to and from get off work. Some people in the car were dozing off, some were chatting, and some young people were playing cards. The scene was the same as when I took the train to and from school when I was a teenager, which made me feel cordial.

With a flute, the train started. The platform fell silent for a while. My car still has no lights on. Perhaps it was a kind of nostalgia caused by “the evening of the day, the sheep and cattle are coming down”, I suddenly thought that it was in this St. Petersburg railway station, between the entry and exit of this sleeper carriage, the beautiful and noble Anna and Wo Lenski’s eyes met, and the ups and downs and the long-standing story happened…

Our train was about to start, and under the lights, I saw the young Russian girl hugging her friends and saying her last goodbyes; I saw the old father in the Caucasian hat wiping his tears and instructing the young man in the car ; I saw a man hurriedly put a handful of flowers into the car window…

The train started slowly, making a bang chi chi chi sound, a long chirping sound, getting farther and farther from the farewell person, but getting closer and closer to my hometown.

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