AROUND SLOVAKIA

Armoured train in steam engine competition

HISTORICAL trains and engines are popular in Slovakia, and their exhibitions and competitions have a proud tradition. The 11th year of one steam engine competition, Grand Prix 2009, was recently held in Zvolen. Five steam engines from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia took part in seven disciplines. As Monika Schmidtová, PR manager for ZSSK Cargo, Slovakia’s main rail cargo company, told the TASR newswire, “The disciplines included, for example, the sprint, ‘lady on the rails’, or ‘beer on the con rod’ – in which the engines were supposed to drive as fast as possible without knocking over a beer positioned on the edge of the rails.”

"Soldiers" operating the Štefánik armoured train. "Soldiers" operating the Štefánik armoured train. (Source: ČTK)

HISTORICAL trains and engines are popular in Slovakia, and their exhibitions and competitions have a proud tradition. The 11th year of one steam engine competition, Grand Prix 2009, was recently held in Zvolen. Five steam engines from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia took part in seven disciplines. As Monika Schmidtová, PR manager for ZSSK Cargo, Slovakia’s main rail cargo company, told the TASR newswire, “The disciplines included, for example, the
sprint, ‘lady on the rails’, or ‘beer on the con rod’ – in which the engines were supposed to drive as fast as possible without knocking over a beer positioned on the edge of the rails.”

Apart from this competition for small steam engines, on September 12 visitors to the veteran trains’ day could watch the Štefánik armoured train in action.

The Štefánik armoured train, used in the [WWII] Slovak National Uprising (SNP), had been presented to the public during the celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the SNP [in August], but in Zvolen people had the unique opportunity to watch the armoured train in action. Schmidtová explained: “Historians and history fans conceived a scene in which the train fought to take over the railway station in Zvolen. It was in the same station that the Štefánik armoured train was constructed 65 years ago to fight in the uprising.” On September 13, the train was used to reconstruct the uprising in Stará Kremnička.

Schmidtová added that the Zvolen event, co-organised by the Club of Historical Technology at the Zvolen Engine Depot and the railway company ZSSK Cargo was visited by many locals, but also by foreign visitors.


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