I bet you’re the same. I can’t just sit and watch the scenery pass me by if I’m on a train in a foreign land, I’m constantly scanning the vista for interesting things as I hurtle past. On the very impressive Railjet between Prague and Vienna, I happened to have my camera on standby, together with a long zoom lens and the ISO set as high as I could possibly get away with. Other passengers were looking at me as if I were a child trapped in the body of a man, with my constant shooting and frequent blurts of “ooh, look at that”. And staggeringly, a few of the frames actually recorded something of note.
So it’s here that I present our first instalment of Vehicles I Saw On Rail. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea where they were. Perhaps you can help me out.
It was seeing a pile of Mig 21 corpses that piqued my interest. I enjoy looking at the scrapyards that frequently flank train lines back in the UK. Seeing a stack of once-loved cars at their final resting place has always had an appeal, as macabre as it may be, but you rarely get to see supersonic jets in the same condition.
I caught the Migs through the lens a split second before the camera caught the lede image in this post, and was amazed that it found focus through the grubby window to catch the image above – and the one below.
I was plotting my journey with Google Maps by taking advantage of the free on-board wi-fi, and at managed to grab the name of the nearest town. The internet then did the math and some blog post confirmed the existence of a military junkyard not too far from Prague – and I totally failed to make a note of any of it. This evening I’ve entered many variations of “military vehicle surplus, junkyard, Prague, Czech, Mig 21” and everything else I can think of, to very little avail. All I’ve come up with is that there’s a company called STV Group, based in Prague, which has a presence 14km from the city, and specialises in used military equipment.
However, their website doesn’t make specific mention of the Tatra 813 Kolos, a species that accounts for many of the vehicles that passed by my window in that incredibly brief period of time. So there we have it. Somewhere in the Czech republic, there’s a huge number of decommissioned military vehicles standing by the railway for some reason. That’s all I got.
Indescribably awesome, though.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2017)