FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Hotel on wheels

Posted in Kyiv, Ukraine by folkestonejack on February 16, 2008

At 6.45pm the signal was given for everyone to make their way out of the impressive waiting rooms to join train N981/982. It was a long, long train with 13 carriages (including three restaurant cars) but then it needed to be with something like 120 passengers and 45 staff. Tonight it would be hauled out of Kyiv by an electric loco, but for a large part of the tour it would be hauled by steam locos (with a diesel or two on the back).

Inauspiciously most of the train was in complete darkness, but in spite of this I managed to find my way down to coach number 12 and drop my stuff off. My home for the next seven nights would be compartment 6 which I was lucky enough to have to myself – a pleasant surprise. I’ve never done anything like this before so was more than a little nervous, but mixed in with that was excitement and anticipation.

One of the realities on board our ‘hotel on wheels’ was that the train simply wasn’t able to generate enough power to light the compartments at the slow speeds we would be travelling at. At least, that was the reality as far back as carriage 12! Never mind, it was a good excuse to stay a little longer in the restaurant or bar cars and to linger in the corridor for a chat as the Ukraine whizzed past.

Compartment 6 (with a rare burst of light at the end of the trip)

Our train left at 19:57 as we were sitting down to a welcome dinner in the restaurant cars. The first meal of the trip featured a fish hors d’oeuvre, salad, locker of pork with complex garnish and a pastry – served up with champagne. I was in no doubt that we would be well fed on this trip, with three meals a day inbetween all the photographic adventures…

Roll on Lvov!

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