It feels directly tied to the power that, one after another, the people working aboard ascribe to the railway. What accounts for this magnetic or addictive aspect to working on the railway? Kirillova gives us fragments of the workers’ answers – a feeling of family and camaraderie, that being aboard lets one really see ‘human souls’, a sense that the train is a living creature or that each carriage has its own ‘spirit’, and, again and again, that the train has become home.
The experiences we create when we take the time to look out the window, start a conversation with a stranger, connect with a family member, or just read a book while swaying rhythmically to the clatter of wheels, it helps to restore parts of us that we neglect and miss.
The Trans-Siberian is as storied a railway as any in the world, the 9,289 kilometers of its route between Moscow and Vladivostok both a stark physical reality and a mystique-laden gestalt shaped by a bloody and romantic history, incomparable landscapes, thousands of artistic interpretations and the journeys of innumerable souls.