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Monday Train Blogging: Blowback

by DoDo Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 10:53:12 AM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

To stay with events 88 years ago, the German command during WWI had the great idea to weaken the enemy by putting a known troublemaker on a train to Russia.

Boy, did that plan work out! I mean, on the longer term.

This should have been a hint to the government of a certain other empire at war in another country, also tinkering with various exiles.

Photo from Petersburg-Info.de

The above photo shows another locomotive connected to Lenin: he escaped arrest a month before the Revolution by travelling to Finland in a fireman's disguise. The locomotive is exhibited in Finland Station, where Lenin earlier arrived from Germany.

Another photo – this collage is the only one I found possibly depicting Trotsky on his famous armoured train, making front visits to boost morale (as a counterpoint to his brutal disciplinary policies of summary executions, political commissars and the detentions of the families of officers):

Picture from the Trotsky Internet Archive

What examples of history riding a train do you have?

Previous Monday Train Bloggings:

  1. (Premiere/ modern Austrian trains & locos)
  2. Adventure
  3. Fast Steam
  4. Heavy Haul
  5. Forgotten Colorado
  6. The Hardest Job


At the end of the American Civil War, the President, Abraham Lincoln, was assinated by a southern extremist.  Lincoln's funeral train departed on April 21, 1865, and it carried his coffin back from Washington to his home in Springfield, Illinois, mostly retracing the route that he had followed when he was first elected four years earlier.

Coming as it did after the surrender of the main southern army, Lincoln's funeral procession served as a coda to the war.  In every city it passed through, business came to a halt, as citizens draped their towns in black and observed a day of mourning.  The procession also prompted one of America's best known poems, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd by Walt Whitman.

by corncam on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 01:46:10 PM EST
The emperor of Manchuko (the "Last Emperor") visited Japan. It was customary to travel by sea to Yokohama, and to take a special train to Tokyo Station. The special arrangement was that the Japanese emperor himself was to greet the Manchuko emperor on the platform. A red carpet was set where the emperor's carriage door would stop, amid their national anthem would be being played by an army band on the platform. A very nice arrangement.

Now, a very experienced loco operator was chosen for the job and told to do two things at once, (i) the train must stop exactly where the emperor's door would be at the red carpet spot, and (ii) the train must stop when there would be 30 seconds of the national anthem still left to be played.  Back then, this sort of order was absolute; no excuse.

He made it. He stopped the train exactly where and when he was told to, and fell unconscious on the loco floor. (I wonder the same thing is still happening in North Korea today.)

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 09:21:15 PM EST
That poor engineer - I wonder whether he lived to see Chaplin's "The Great Dictator", and in it the Dictator of Bacteria arrival scene...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 01:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There might be picture around on the net, but Kim Il Sung of North Korea made a pretty high profil trip to Moscow - by train, in his own railcar one or two years ago. I think it was one of his first trips outside his country.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 10:08:56 AM EST
Sorry - his son Kim Jong Il.
Some fascinating details here

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 10:11:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, an up-to-22-car train, according to some sources complete with prostitutes, a train his father got as a present - from Stalin...

Spot the snipers.

BBC story of another crossing into Russia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 01:33:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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