Smoking East '03-'16 - 21: Goodbye from 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:
Grandfatherly East '03-'16 - 20: Arrested in Chernivtsi (50 p.)

April 17 2003

In the previous report I had been arrested by the station police for the first and until now only time. As mentioned, the officers were not very keen on this. I pointed at the cell phone to make a call for somebody with better knowledge of the language. In the meantime, they were up for jokes, I almost would have gotten served some horilka (Ukrainian version of vodka). After a few minutes, my father arrived, as former university teacher he can speak Russian like his native tongue. After a short, friendly talk I was cautioned: even if the mood had been nice, they always had to be one the lookout for international terrorism (the 2nd Iraq war was only a few weeks old back then, and Ukraine a part of the "coalition of the willing"). Then my father and I drove back to our restaurant "Utah" where I was greeted by an ecstatic family just sitting down for dinner.

At noon the same day, we already had visited the station once. Luckily, my mugshot did not end up on the wall next to the former local timetable... ;-)

The main hall with express timetables.

Plenty of freight cars in the yard.


Passenger cars to Kiev to the left, but no moving trains.

Alright, I will be careful once the next Shinkansen arrives! :0)

Train to Uzhhorod.

You can spot some slight smoke to the left.


At least one switching movement thanks to lineside maintenance.


Someone had the right idea...

And then something actually happened: a 2M62 smoked out the station with a freight train towards the Romanian border!
It was one of those pictures where you think: had I only been at the right spot at the right time, something you will probably never get a chance to capture again.

From the station you can climb a hill through a park, on the way:

Definitely people with a positive attitude towards life around.

Ah - students! We have arrived in front of the Yurii Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University.

The complex had been erected 1864 - 1882 by Czech architect Josef Hlávka and originally served as the residence of the Orthodox metropolitan of Bukovina and Dalmatia. The university had been founded in 1875 as "Franz-Josephs-Universität", later during Romanian times "Universitatea Regele Carol I din Cernăuți", and in the Soviet Union "Chernivtsi State University". In 1955 this compound was occupied by the university, in 2011 it was declared UNESCO world heritage site.


Comparison: April 17 2003 to the left, August 2 2016 to the right.

A Skoda 9Tr trolleybus was operating in regular 2003 traffic on University Street. Cheap "kseroksing" next door.


Proud Earthling
Trolleybuses in 2016.


The urban dental clinic to the right.


In 2016, street vendors still were around, but in contrast to 2003 you could also find shops on every corner. Consequences of the Ukrainian crisis can be spotted on second glance.

You could undertake a whole photo trip just for pictures of balconies in Chernivtsi.

Former Herrengasse is the central pedestrian zone, nowadays Olha-Kobylanska-Street.

By pure coincidence Anne and Thomas had chosen the same hotel on the same day as me. So, we went out to dinner on Olha-Kobylanska-Street in the evening. Once more, Anne had bad luck as she always received her meals much later than the rest of the group. As it is tradition in the former Eastern Bloc states, all meals were listed with exact grams of ingredients. First problem was, you could not take anything away from one meal, just add something to another. The waiter spoke decent English, so we thought the communication had gone well. Then, another waiter turned up, serving a completely inverse meal just including all the unwanted ingredients. It took a while until the original waited had been found and the misunderstanding was cleared up.

In 2003, people waited nicely dressed in front of the Cinema Palace.

Cable service is here!


Ukrainian-Orthodox Saint Nikolay Cathedral, also known as "drunk church".

Assumption Cathedral.


The compound of wooden Saint Nikolay Church right next to the cathedral. It had been built in 1748 still during the Ottoman period, the oldest Orthodox church in town.

Firefighting equipment could be found next to every wooden structure.

Mass inside Catholic Exaltation Church.


In the afternoon of April 17 2003 we drove to the Jewish cemetery, one of the largest in Europe - we will visit another one soon during this series.

By chance, we met a relative of Rosa Roth-Zuckermann deceased in 2002. She became known through the Volker Koepp documentary "Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann" from 1999.


Proud Earthling
The history of the Jewish population in Chernivtsi (in German, please use browser translate function):



From the cemetery you could overlook the industrial quarter of the city, the engine depot in the background.

August 3 2016

I was about to continue to Romania next morning. With full luggage I walked downhill, purchased a ticket to Vadul Siret in the local traffic part of the station and sat down next to other waiting passengers.
Wait a minute... something let me run uphill with the heavy backpack to the bridge of Prut Street... In the meantime, M62-1473 approached from the depot to the left, the track to the right leads to the Romanian border.

What else was waiting in the yard?

Five minutes later, the freight train departed to Vadul Siret! 4x power by two 2M62 double units... I erased the power lines near the bridge for the tele shots.

A rolled up yellow flag was shown, the M62 switching in the background.

Wide angle version, then I quickly changed to video mode to capture some of the sound:

Later, I took train 959 to Vadul Siret. A 2TE10M just had arrived on the neighboring track.

Next, we will travel to another destination in that region before both reports are going to be joined... :)
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