On the “Carpathian Tramway” – a well-known route of the narrow-gauge railway, which starts in the Benefit, Dolinsky District, on November 1, shootings of a documentary on the life of narrow-gauge railroads in Ukraine and Switzerland began.
“In contrast to the broad gauge, narrow-gauge locomotives have their own identity, they are like people – very emotional, very interesting, almost mythical creatures. You just look at these landscapes, on these people who work here every day, on those who use this tram every day to get from one village to another, or to the woodcutters that go to work, or the forest, which this track is laid out – here whole stories, “says Alexander Nedbayev, author of the idea and director of the film, writes Galician Correspondent.

In Ukraine, today there are 4 narrow-gauge railways: Borzhavskaya (Zarkapatya), Vygodskaya (Prykarpattya), Poliskaya and Gaivoronskaya (Kirovograd region). As the creators of the film noticed, Vygodskaya narrow-gauge is private, and therefore most touristly successful, it constantly works and is in demand by tourists. “For us, the Beneficial Circle is an example, maybe not yet perfect, but an example of how, in private hands, narrow-gauge railways can turn into tourist attractions for the whole region.” Other narrow-gauge railways are under the guidance of Ukrzaliznytsya and today take the first steps in order to attract tourists.

The documentary Ukrainian-Swiss film will first be filmed on four Ukrainian narrow-gauge railways, and then the shots will be moved to Switzerland. “The film will tell you how the narrow-gauge railways operate in Ukraine and Switzerland, which for many decades has been an example of how to save, restore narrow-gauge railways and attract tourists to these routes. In Switzerland, it has been working long ago and works very well. Instead, in Ukraine there are such exhibits, which in other countries have not even been preserved in museums, but they are acting in them, they travel on the background of our beautiful landscapes. Therefore, the Swiss believe that the Ukrainian narrow-gauge pearls are pearls that must be taken and turned into tourist attractions “, – observes Alexander Nedbayev.

The protagonist of the tape is a young activist, a railwayman who cares for narrow circles in Ukraine. He travels on Ukrainian routes, watches how they work, where they are, meet people who work there, who live or do something along those routes, revealing the potential of each of the regions. Then, at the invitation of the Swiss activist, the tracks will travel to Switzerland, where he will look at the narrow-gauge roads there, exchange experience and explore how to make an attractive tourist business from the Ukrainian narrow-gauge routes.

The film will show some aspects of the life of narrow-gauge bars. In particular, the technical – which engines, which locomotives, from which years, how it all worked – all engineering. Cultural aspect: why this narrow-gauge has appeared precisely in this region at that time due to it has changed in these edges. For example, the benefit at the end of the 19th century was a rather poor region. The forest was extracted here, but it is very difficult, because the area is high-altitude, the forest is fused with rivers, but a lot of wood is not transported in this way, because the river is shallow. And when the Austrian Baron von Popper, a specialist engineer, came to the Benefits and spent tens of kilometers of narrow-gauge railways at his expense and set up efficient forest transportation, the region’s economy immediately exploded. But the most important aspect – say the creators of the film – is human history. Who is the engineer, who and station worker, who are those people who are from Polissia who have no other chance of getting to the city except for a narrow walk that does not go every day. All these stories will form the heart of the film.

The protagonist of the film, Oleg Hudzlyak, says that the tape plays the same role as in life. Oleg is a student of two universities: the Uzhgorod National University, and the Kyiv State University of Infrastructure and Technology. “I am an enthusiast, a person trapped by narrow-gauge railways, rides them, is interested in, collects information and is looking for ways to restore these routes. I’m interested in the railway from my childhood. This is my life hobby, which, perhaps, will grow into work. Narrow-gauge railway is a reduced copy of a wide railway, a very interesting technological object, which remains very little in Ukraine. The Ivano-Frankivsk region was once very broadly built by narrow-gauge railways, especially mountainous areas, but all of them were eliminated, except Vygodskaya. From thousands of kilometers of Ukrainian narrow-gauge railroads today there are less than 300 kilometers.

If in Europe there is a debate about the restoration of narrow-gauge routes, then we, with like-minded people, have the goal of at least preserving what is now. The profitable is in good condition because it is the only private narrow-gauge railway in Ukraine, and the other three under the leadership of Ukrazaliznytsya and are not going through their best times. ”

Oleg Hudzlyak has great expectations about this film, since enthusiasts and community activists are now united to bring the discussion of narrow-gauge railways to a qualitatively new level – that is, “to bring state authorities and local self-government bodies what they need to do something about, etc. can not go on – that these railways are, they are working, but if this continues, in a few years they will be liquidated. ” In European countries, there is a very interesting practice for those narrow-gauge railways, which at one time lost their function of industrial transportation – they all turned into tourist facilities and are powerful centers of regional tourism. All of them are successful in tourism and earn on themselves.

The budget of the film is almost UAH 4 million, of which 50% is funded under a grant from the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation; 50% of the Swiss side is provided by the film company NouvelleViguFactory and the Swiss public broadcaster RTS. Project team: Pavlo Sushko (general producer, PrimeStoryPiccers), Alexander Nedbayev (director), Oleg Hudzlyak (main character, Ukraine), Christoph Bakman (main character, Switzerland), Olivier Kohler (co-director, Switzerland), Philip Champi (Producer, NouvelleViguFactory).

The first closed screening of the film will take place on December 4, after which the creators hoped for a successful film festival in Ukraine and in the world.

The project is supported by the Transcarpathian and Ivano-Frankivsk film commissions.