A Travellerspoint blog

Time Machine

snow 0 °C

When H.G.Wells was writing about the adventures of ‘The Time Traveller’, in his 1895 sci-fi novella The Time Machine, little did he know that the Russian railways were already way ahead of him. And, with a track record going back over one hundred years, the Trans-Siberian train is not only the longest railway on the planet it is still the world’s only bone-fide time machine.
Here’s one of Russia’s earlier time machines…
And this is the very latest model, called the Sapsan…
But time travel is not the only technological achievement of the Russians. A Russian invented the monorail in 1820 while another, Sikorsky, built the first passenger airliner in 1913. Perhaps equally remarkable is the fact that a Russian, Boris Rosing, first demonstrated television in 1907 – eighteen years before John Logie Baird claimed the invention for the Brits. However, all these time warping inventions – and even Russia’s greatest ‘first’ of space travel – pale into insignificance compared to the miracle railway that daily swings thousands of passengers back and forth in time with the ease of a pendulum.
Here’s James enjoying the experience of going back in time…
Long distance travel always gives us glimpses into the past and we have previously experienced the shifting of time on our travels in south Asia, where camel carts and ox-ploughs are still the norm. But this is not the medieval landscape of rural India. Russian woodsmen and farmers may live in rustic trackside cottages but they drive jeeps and tractors and follow the commodity markets on their I-Pads…
So, you ask, how do we know the Russian railways secretly operate time machines?
Take our recent overnight trip from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk. When we board it is definitely 1.30pm. (we know because we just finished a filling lunch). Then “Bam!” we get caught in a time-warp and suddenly we’re four hours younger. It’s now only 9.30am. and we are being served a hearty breakfast by a young stewardess who can’t understand why we’re not gobbling down her sausages.
But it gets worse: the following morning when we alight in Irkutsk we discover that we’ve lost another hour. The clocks on the train and the station claim that it’s 2.30 in the morning, but it’s not the middle of the night, it’s the middle of rush hour, and our taxi driver assures us that it is nearly 8am. We are suddenly 5 hours older than we thought we were when we left Moscow. No wonder our bags seem heavier – we have inexplicably aged.
This keeps happening - but as soon as we start to feel our age, we hop on a train and immediately become younger. We should soon be turning south across the Gobi desert to Ulaan-bator in Mongolia but we are tempted to keep going east to Vladivostock where, on the train, we would be a full 8 hours younger than our present selves. And what if we were to keep going? With a hop, skip and a leap we could be across the Pacific, and home, where today is still yesterday, and we would be younger still. But why stop there?

But hold on - all this time travel is beginning to wear us down. Perhaps, dear blog reader, you could help us solve this mystery of time travel while we chill out for a few days and get acclimatized to the snow and to old age.
Answers on a postcard please to: Sheila and James somewhere in eastern Siberia.

Posted by Hawkson 03:35 Archived in Russia

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Oh you two - what fun. This is a marvel alright and how clever of you to stay on the train and not head home yet. Love you. G/***

by gabriole/***

R_ab - (1/2)R * g_ab = k * T_ab

I was cancerned you wouldn't sleep, worrying about this puzzle so here is the formula. Decided to post it in cyberspace rather than by dogsled to reduce the time you would fret about this. Hope this helps. Glad to be of service. Trudy xoxo

by taboyle

You two are perenially young at heart already, and there is no formula for that....love S

by Sharron

What fun. I can see that you are staying very well hydrated, and happy too from the looks of it. Just make sure you don't go into the bathroom during one of the time switches - would not want to be stuck in your typical train washroom any longer than needed. But the again, maybe the Russians are doing that right too.

by Tom

Really good photography lots of interest to capture and seems as though you are really enjoying your Russian adventure.

by David Henderson

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