Grandfatherly East '03-'16 - 20: Arrested in Chernivtsi (50 p.) is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Finale in the Southeast '17 - 19: On top of the Greek Rail-Olympus (50 p.)

What happened until now:
Trolleybuses in the East '03-'16 - 14: Kolomyia - Chernivtsi (50 p.)

As I just brought back more pictures from this region, we return to the series from 2016.

The photos of this report part have been taken on April 16 and 17 2004, as well as August 2 2016.

Around Easter 2003, we undertook an extended family trip through Western Ukraine. We also visited the home of my paternal grandfather at Chernivtsi/German Czernowitz. He had been born into a family of Austrian soldiers at nowadays Polish Przemyśl, still in the monarchy they moved to Chernivtsi. During the interwar period, Bukovina region belonged to Romania. My grandfather also spoke Romanian and felt most at home at that time and place. In 1940, the city at first was occupied by the Soviet Union, after negotiations about 25000 "Germans" were sent "home to the Reich". That way my grandfather arrived in Vienna. However, due to this trauma he never again trusted a government, even if it would have been advantageous later in peace time Austria.

More details about the city history can be read here:

Manhole covers last a long time, in 2003 we found relics from various periods spanning a century.

Streets had been renamed, grandfather's house was situated in hilly Roschergasse leading to the suburb of Rosch, in 2003 it was Vulyzia Gastello.

Similar view, August 2016


The house in 2003. 2016 I found several new buildings and modifications, so no proper image for comparison exists.

During the first half of the 20th century it had been a single-family home, in the early 21st century four tenants shared it.

With only one outhouse for all.

The residents turned out to be very friendly, we were welcomed into all four apartments.

That's how we gained unusual insights into Ukrainian every day life.



This lovely pair was our favorite. We gave small presents everywhere, amenities like coffee which were not easily attainable at the time. We kept up correspondence with this old couple, sent some money from Vienna. They were glad to have found a new family that late in life. Sadly, they already were partially blind and died soon afterwards...



We spent the first night in a Soviet concrete bunker of a hotel, the highlight of which was a stuffed cow in the breakfast area. A part of the family decided they had to move, so we all found this "nicely designed" "motel" in the suburbs.

Facing such a mullet-adorned cover, my cousin could not resist this cassette-purchase.

Also popular: the newspaper "Without Censorship".
On the way to the "motel" we always passed the "Reactor" disco club.

The most important Ukrainian lyric poet Taras Shevchenko was not able to liven up the crowd at the moment.

To the left: former synagogue, now a cinema. To the right: palace of culture with Jewish museum.

The stars in the banister had been crippled during the Nazi era, in the 1990s they were restored leaving one reminder of the past.

Poet Paul Celan also had been born in Chernivtsi.


We found picture postcards from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Late afternoon on April 17 2003, I walked around town to take comparison pictures - here on the Central Square.


Many elderly ladies offered products from their gardens.


The City Theater had opened in 1905.

In summer 2016, flowers on Theater Square were watered using this Soviet-era truck.

Two sisters are supposed to have lived opposite each other here.

At 8 p.m. on April 17 2003, I walked down Gagarin Street towards the station.

To the right, in front of the post office, a T-34 as monument for the tank crew of lieutenant Pavel Nikitin who first reached Chernivtsi on März 25 1944.

The main station constructed 1905-1908.


Local traffic in the evening waited for departure into several directions: Stefaneshty, Vyzhnytsia, Mamalyga and Mezhyrichchya (a village, also name for Mesopotamia).
Main traction: ChME3.



Lighting only was activated later in the evening.

Typical end-of-trains: in the back the express to Lviv, in front local train 6685 to Stefaneshty departing at 8:32 p.m.

Hauled by ChME3-4546.

Heating the stoves for a cool night.


Shortly before departure.



The train to Lviv received mainline diesel: M62-1397. Captured with my compact digicam Olympus Camedia C3000Z from the year 2000 pressed against a lamppost.

In the background, you can spot a 2M62 double loco approaching from Vadul Siret at the Romanian border.

The train came to a halt, first sleeping car: Bucharest - Moscow.

Four cars in total

A switching ChME3 lit the contours of the 2M62.

It was the time before the Orange Revolution, some engineers still were hardcore-Soviet-types. A disciple of Lenin - also by looks - in the cab of the M62 noticed me and switched on the headlights for a closer inspection.

Consequently, he alarmed the station police who had not been interested at all in me before that. As the officers took me into custody, this guy actually shook my hand as if I should be proud that he had done his duty as a comrade. The whole setting was so surreal that I already had the feeling I was free to go - but no, they took me to their police office inside the station building... is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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