Jaroslav Kořán: The Hidden Appeal of Czech Railways
rAdioCUSTICA selected 2004 | 15:44
The Hidden Appeal of Czech Railways
Trains, toy trains, memories and dreams, or The Hidden Appeal of Czech Railways
My fascination with trains and toy trains has been percolating within me in one way or another ever since my earliest childhood. Trains have always been my favorite means of transport and I can truly consider myself a young railroad old-timer.
In my life, real-life railways were represented by model trains, by miniature station buildings, dimly lit platforms, abandoned storehouses, even the landscape...
Stories from real life were played out on the platform bench, in the waiting hall, behind the lit windows on the town square; the deserted road by the train station was a real-life deserted road with a real-life parked car, waiting for a real-life driver... By shrinking the real world to the size of a sofa, I saw the world from a different angle, not unlike Japanese monks as they gaze at their sand landscapes and rock islands.
One of the greatest advantages of traveling by train is the chance to watch the passing landscape from as close as possible, mostly at a monotonous, slightly bumpy pace that helps you surrender to and merge with the landscape... It is fascinating to watch and listen to scenes played out at railway stations. The mere act of waiting creates a special sense of stagnating time, the hint of faraway countries and infinite spaces - no matter if the station is swarming with passengers or completely abandoned.
I have always been fascinated by the details I can see on railway cars. It is beautiful not to be able to read incomprehensible signs. Rusty screws tell us all their old memories.
The sound of brakes, the station loudspeaker, the distant wail of train engines, footsteps in a pedestrian tunnel... sounds remember everything.
Sounds are memory...