Borzhavskaya “small railroad” in Transcarpathia – part of the Ukrainian-Swiss film project. The mission of the documentary film is to help revive Ukrainian narrow-gauge tracks.

75 centimeters. So much is the width of this track. Now there are laid out artificial flowers, parts of the grape press and shoes, and along the rails spread the oilcloth: here clothes, dishes, in fact, though they will be sold …

Already very soon, “pushing” this chaos, an elegant locomotive will come in yellow-blue colors, which entails three wagons. And they’re selling here right now. Not everything in the world. These are Transcarpathian Vinogradov, the bazaar-station, where and from where the miniature train goes – Borzhavskaya narrow-gauge railway, known by the people as “Anka Kushnitskaya”.


Once as the first in the history of the “movie” they showed “Arrival of the train …” Now they shoot a documentary about “small railways”. The locomotive will endless counters with new and used shoes, even having touched one boat: it will fall on the track. It is as if shy, carefully, as if shy, leaving behind a row with curtains (Tajik merchants do not like here, they say, a lot of places are occupied) and nets with seedlings and garden reamants, stop near the boxes of apples and a table with spices (due to their aromas amplified association with India).


Then the locomotive will untie, and he will go to the circle, and simply “in front of the nose” the dealers will disassemble their cargos and remove the folding chairs – for a minute, and put them back in place. And in a few minutes, the locomotive will arrive at parallel rails and cling to the “tail” of the train, that is, now its head.


The opposite direction from Vinogradov is the Khmilnyk station, and it is completely different than this railway station: this is a picturesque station in the middle of the forest, and, passing by the “carriage cemetery”, we will go to a wonderful bridge.


It will then be, and now the potential purchaser measures, relying on the carriage’s foot, and a number of women are traded for an old mixer, gray uncle, who has all the repair equipment on the box, the politicians are deceitful: small salaries and pensions, and he gas has risen … In short, everything, as in the standard bazaar and at the station, but here they are connected, and, we can say, even rather picturesque.

“Cool! Today is Sunday, a market day, and we are here from the very morning, still the sun has not come down, and people are already laying the goods. This place is the center where all these people are gathered and where you can get everything you want. Actually, it seems that it is possible to get married, and to sneeze, and here comes this train – this is something magical. He gives voice, goes slowly, people break up, give him a way … “- says Alexander Nedbayev, film director.

“Narrow track … Compared to usual, the small railroad is more emotional. She takes people from small villages to small villages, helping them, in fact, transport people to people. She and herself – as a person, and here she even has a name, “Ance”, and is it not wonderful? From, say, Intercity does not have a name, it’s just a route. And here’s something personal, and it gives inspiration. Why did we get it? Throughout Europe, narrow-gauge railways become tourist attractions, museums, all of them love and support. We want this for our small railways, and for Antsi in particular. We believe that Ukraine has the full potential for this, especially since we have narrow-band roads in the most picturesque places: in the Transcarpathia and in the Carpathian region through the mountains and forests, in Rivne region and in Gaivoron, too, because of the beautiful nature. I know that foreigners are specially traveled to get acquainted with these railways. I think that they need more information about them. And from – we make a film “.

“They have developed the tape for three years, submitted a competition, supported us by the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, and we immediately began to shoot,” the author says. The crew hopes that small railways will continue to give great inspiration and will present wonderful stories that will arise in traveling and communicating with people. ”

Borzhavskaya narrow-gauge railway completed its first flight on December 23, 1908, after four years of construction, its length was subsequently 123 kilometers. They began to erode for the money sought by the local authorities, but at the start of the work she became private: the possession of a joint-stock company, whose name from Hungarian meant “Commercial railroad Borzhava valley.” The purpose of such transport is to revive life, communication and trade in the region. And it happened: in the period from 1910 to 1920, 4,432,000 passengers were transported by Borzhavsky Railways, as well as 637,000 tons of various cargo. For its more than 100 years, Borzhavskaya narrow-gauge railway was part of the network of Austro-Hungarian state railways, Czechoslovak, Hungarian, Soviet-era railways, and finally Ukrzaliznytsya. In 1926, the total length of the roads of Borzhavskaya Railroad was 107 kilometers, after the war the railway network increased. Borzhavskaya railroad, dragged after 1945 with a width of 76 cm to 75, by the end of 1960, carried out the passenger connection Irshava-Kamianka. At the beginning of the 1980s, passenger transportation at the Beregovo-Kushnitsa station was stopped, while the Beregovo-Priborgavske section continued to carry loads, and timber was transported on the deck. At the Berehove-Khmilny area, the passenger traffic stopped in 1983-1984. Until the 1990s, Antsu actively used local enterprises; in 1994 the main branches were discontinued, but the narrow-gauge was short-haul flights, being a good alternative to public transport by locals. Actually, it continues now, but there is no regularity.

This is the shortest biography of this “lady with a locomotive”, for reference – over a century of interesting stories about technology and people, the construction of a serious infrastructure object, its development, work, daily work for the region, the decline of the decay, and yet constantly – living stories and emotions . Yes, Ance is a living story, and in the early 2000s, the movement for the revival of the “small railway” also began as a tourist facility. And it is about this dream – a film whose shooting began in Transcarpathia and will continue on three narrow-gauge bars in Ukraine, and then in Switzerland.

The director continues to share emotions: “As for Anci,” we hope that this not-so-good stage in its history is only an intermediate, and that it has changed for the better, and we are working. Inspired by the fact that she is more than 100 years old. Inspired by the specificity of history, the first locomotive here was Hungarian, I saw a lot of photos, it’s beautiful. She has united cities that had not previously traded. There was a commercial purpose, and social, it revived life of people. Small railway is important. For example, in the Benefits of narrow-gauge railway had a prominent role for local trade. And in Polissya, the train rides between villages that have no other connection. There are interesting, delicious moments: in Gujaron, the locomotive, which was received from Germany as a repatriation after the Second World, is still in the Gaivoron, and there are also preparing for the tourists the eggs just in that boiler when it is split up. I was told that “Ance” had strayflies and guilty flights as an attraction; this is brilliant, that is what to do in Transcarpathia: to taste wine and savory at the stations. What could be better? ”

During a half hour trip from Vinogradov to Khmilnyk station, we communicate with Oleg Hudzlyak. He is the protagonist of the film: a railway student who wants to create a public organization for the revival of small railways, studies narrow-gauge railways, and, at the same time, the lives of people who use them. Oleg is one of the few Anci passengers today, on Sunday. In general, the train makes flights on Mondays and Thursdays (if the locomotive is on the go).

From now on, Oleg talks to Ms. Ester: a woman, arriving by bus from Khmelnytsky to Vinogradov, goes to her sister in Shalanka, her native village. “From my childhood I go to Antsi, and the ticket costs 8 UAH, and the bus 38 would be here to get there. Yes, of course, I would like that it was as soon as possible to go every day, it is convenient for people, it is difficult to transport with it, and at all times it is necessary to go to the district center and from Sunday to the bazaar. ”

“Railways – my hobby since childhood. For me, the reason can not be explained, I just like and interesting. It looks like these railways are commonplace, but one has to knock down on this vision, because for the first time here, this is an opening. The purpose of the project? The popularization of narrow-gauge railroads, to show that they are, that such tourism is possible, that in Europe these are developed tourist objects, that is what we should use. And what are people who do not care about it. And that in fact, for renovation of Ukrainian narrow-gauge railroads does not require too much resources, it’s real, should just do it. I study the experience of other countries, for example, we can agree with the scheme of the Baltic countries, where enthusiasts have made changes to the legislation, where the share of financing and the system of restraints and benefits that do not allow corruption to develop are fixed. Interesting experience in Poland, in Slovakia … ”

“A European road map similar to that is possible for us, but of course we should look for our own way, our own way. Moreover, as for me, our narrow-gauge railways are more interesting, with their own peculiarities, somewhat more sincere, in particular, Antonovka-Zarechnaya, which in itself is a separate life, 106 kilometers across the wilderness, where the only train is this train. We have a great potential, a push, a discussion and our own work. Yes, these narrow-gauge railways are a dream. And life is a dream. And life is a movement. And this train, which is in motion, is an atmospheric, emotional clondike, this is life. And I dream of once showing their children a beautiful narrow-gauge railway that lives and delights people, “- says the film’s hero.

In Shalanky, Oleg helps Ms Ester to unload the bag, and the conductor delays the train at the station, because the crew rushes to make several frames from the platform. Not a problem: only “Ance” rides this track, and stopping on demand is not a surprise here. Two Mykhailo – a machinist and an assistant (who, however, will not leave the interview room for modesty, though they could testify in love with their “Anke”) – all contribute to passengers.

Conductor Ivan Rospopa more than two decades associated with “Ance”. She says that this lady does not go faster than 25 kilometers per hour. She respects her and loves the old railway bridges that still exist in Transcarpathia. “It is necessary to revive narrow-gauge railway, necessarily! First of all, for passengers: in Shalanky, Black Stream, Oleshnik – people find it difficult to get differently. For tourists, this is a story, and landscapes, beautifully! And our station with the bazaar? And we are used to it! Of course, we are experiencing, people are different, it happens, the train goes, but they do not hear and do not see. It happened that some box was touched, but there were no other problems, we care about it! “- says the railroad.

We leave our friends at the Khmilnyk station. Here they will take away, as “Ance” after the maneuver the locomotive will go back, as well as the bridge and old wagons, “sleeping” along the track. No one is fussing here, and as soon as the driver stops giving farewells, only the forest and the river will sound, and the birds will sing. The crew will take the bus from here, because the next flight is “Anki” only in a few hours. Now we are waiting for a return road to the bazaar-station: from a beautiful picture of the sympathetic “Ance” among the local nature – into the turmoil turmoil. The adventurers of narrow-gauge dreams are dreaming that this symbolic path is the opposite: from the tumultuous realities that drag the “small railroad” into chaos and, probably, nothingness, to a revival and a glorious future. The authors of the film hope that the tape will help to draw attention to the fact that mini-railways – this is another lure of Ukraine, including the Carpathians, which is worth attention and renaissance, and especially in tourist regions.

After the trip Borzhavskaya narrow-gauge railway and acquaintance with the Uzhhorod children’s railway (it was there that they took the second locomotive “Antsi”, because of which she does not ride now every day, because the locomotive needs to be serviced and constantly repaired), the authors of the film will go to Frankivsk, where they will meet with Vygodskaya railway, and to Rivne region and Kirovograd region. And the way to Switzerland, where another film hero, Criticof, a former railroad, enthusiast of narrow-gauge railroads, will show the local experience of the revival of small railroads that operate both as a popular transport and as an interesting tourist attraction. The film should be installed already in December, when our “Aneta” will have the opportunity to be a loud buzz to celebrate 110 years of going out on a narrow track, which has become a great road from, hopefully, to the future. Of course, if the last locomotive, which before the removal not only wasted with love, but seems to have a little tint, will not break …

Text: Alla Khayatova

Photo: Sergey Gudak

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