Today.Az » Arts & Entertainment » Tracks of Time: Legacy of Czech Railways highlighted in Baku [EXCLUSIVE]
20 May 2024 [19:33] - Today.Az

By Laman Ismayilova

Railways have played a significant role in the historical narrative of technological progress. They facilitate trade, bolster industries, and boost tourism.

The Czech railway history is replete with fascinating nuances and remarkable technical feats, shaping global railway development significantly.

The Azerbaijani photographer Aydin Sadikhov finds railways to be among the most convenient, comfortable and safe modes of travel. It was during one such journey, back in 2019, that the idea for the photo project "The History of Czech Railways" took root, inspired by the photographer's visit to a railway museum.

Q: How did the idea for the exhibition come about?

A: The realm of railways and transportation

With its expansive history and global impact, the realm of railways and transportation has always captivated me.

Railways play a major role in the development of many industries, including trade and tourism.

As a professional photographer, I find myself frequently relying on this mode of transportation during my journeys and photographic expeditions. Railways are one of the most convenient, comfortable, swift, and safe means of travel.

The idea of creating this photo project came to me back in 2019 during one of my travels, when I visited the railway museum for the first time.

I envisioned this project as an opportunity to narrate and showcase the history and evolution of railway transportation worldwide through the lens of photography. I would like to note that a vast community of railway enthusiasts exists in Azerbaijan.

Moreover, there is a large and popular group on social networks where experts and enthusiasts share intriguing historical tidbits and updates about railways.

Towards the end of 2019, I hosted the first exhibition on railway transportation at Baku Railway Station.

The overwhelming interest garnered, both from experts and enthusiasts, affirmed my belief in the project's potential continuation. So, I resolved to dedicate my new photographic endeavour to the railway heritage of the Czech Republic.

The Czech railway's history boasts unique records, intriguing peculiarities, and outstanding technical achievements that have significantly influenced the global railway industry's historical development. With one of Europe's largest and densest rail networks, spanning almost 10,000 kilometres across the country, the Czech Republic offers unparalleled opportunities for rail travel. Notably, the majority of passenger transportation is overseen by the state-owned enterprise, Czech Railways.

My project, titled "The History of Czech Railways," aims to acquaint viewers with unique and rare steam, diesel, and electric locomotives, railway stations, depots, and modern Czech-made trains. Visitors to the exhibition can also anticipate an intriguing surprise-a display of unique historical badges dedicated to Czech railways.

Q: Could you please share some memorable impressions you had while working on this project?

A: The majority of photographs demonstrated at this exhibition were captured during my visits to the Railway Museum in Lužná u Rakovníka. Situated amidst the picturesque forests of Kinovklat, this museum is the largest railway museum in the Czech Republic. The museum's collection, titled "Steel Legends," comprises over 30 narrow-gauge railway locomotives, offering a diverse array of steam and diesel locomotives, electric trains, and railway equipment. The opportunity to explore historic trains and embark on a journey within the museum's park left me with unforgettable and vivid impressions.

Rail transport is the most convenient mode of transport for visiting this museum, located literally across the street from the railway station. Several times throughout the year, Czech Railways provides everyone with a trip to the museum from various railway stations in the Czech Republic on legendary steam and historical locomotives. An interesting fact: at literally every, even the smallest, railway station in the Czech Republic, railway enthusiasts can purchase original souvenirs from the Czech Railways. Perhaps it is worth sharing an interesting incident while working on this project.

On the day of my visit to the museum, it was raining heavily in the morning. At some point, I already thought that it would be impossible to take good photographs of the locomotives

Despite enduring heavy rain on my journey, the weather miraculously cleared upon my arrival at the museum, providing me with an opportunity to capture excellent photographic material, some of which is showcased in this exhibition. Undoubtedly, the most remarkable experience during my museum visit was the chance to step inside the cabin of the legendary Czech locomotive, "Albatros, the first."

Q: What other projects are planned for the future?

A: I aspire to continue exploring themes related to railways and potentially broaden my scope to encompass other modes of transportation in future projects. Additionally, I harbour a long-standing dream of organising a large group photography exhibition dedicated to the history of Azerbaijani railways. Such an exhibition would provide professional photographers and enthusiasts with a platform to showcase their captivating works on this fascinating subject.

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