AROUND SLOVAKIA

Ten years of ‘relaxing’ work on a steam engine

GRINDING, welding, painting and never-ending polishing are not necessarily hard work. A group of hobbyists and fans of historical trains finds this work to be ‘relaxing’. Sometimes it takes a long time for them to see the results of their relaxation but they claim it is all worth it. Volunteers in Bratislava have been renovating a steam engine for 10 years already and they hope to soon see it riding the rails.

(Source: Ján Krošlák)

GRINDING, welding, painting and never-ending polishing are not necessarily hard work. A group of hobbyists and fans of historical trains finds this work to be ‘relaxing’. Sometimes it takes a long time for them to see the results of their relaxation but they claim it is all worth it. Volunteers in Bratislava have been renovating a steam engine for 10 years already and they hope to soon see it riding the rails.

“I cannot choose the kind of work I prefer; we all have to do everything. When you start repairing old engines, you have to like all the tasks,” explained Peter Kallo, a young man in his 30s to the ČTK newswire. He is one of 15 members of the Friends of Railway Transport History club who have been regularly labouring in an old depot hangar between Rača and Vajnory to make a 1943 steam engine beautiful and viable again. “I also love railway history, I search for old documents and other archival materials,” he told ČTK. “We usually come here on Saturdays and also spend free afternoons after work. It is difficult to find some spare parts, so we tend to make them ourselves,” said Martin Bezák, 18, to ČTK. Jiří Kubáček of the Museum Documentary Centre in Bratislava, which oversees the club, said the work of volunteers is absolutely necessary for the preservation and revival of historical engines, because “a repair made by professionals can cost somewhere between €33,000 and €50,000".

Kubáček said a huge amount of work has already been completed by the volunteers and that they are also able to find money to cover the work that can be done only by experts. Other sources of funds for repair and renovation of old railway equipment are film-makers, sponsors, and foreign travel agencies.


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