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Russian Transport

7th March 2011

Dear All,

The message below was receivied from a member.

Regards,
Andrew

Issue 183 of Today's Railways Europe March 2011 is a Special edition on
Russian Railways, if anyone is interested. There is a lot to interest
geographers and logisticians.

It does repeat the funny story about the derivation of Vokzal, which would
be Volks Zaal in Dutch and something very similar in German and Swedish.

' "Vokzal" by the way, is a corruption of the London "Vauxhall", and
simply means "station". ' (p.36.)

C. Hamilton Ellis in Rapidly Round the Bend: A short review of Railway
Transport from the time of Abraham, LONDON (1959) says:-

"Vauxhall needs some explanation. The reason why all Russian railway
stations are named after the celebrated establishment between Clapham
Junction and Waterloo is that many years ago a Russian Technical Mission
took a cab there from Kensington Palace Gardens, to study locomotives so
that Georgi Stepanov could invent them and so become a Soviet Pioneer.
They took several photographs of the 5.47 from Waterloo to Ascot via
Woking, and were astonished when they did not even have to claim
diplomatic immunity. This gave them great regard for Vauxhall." (p.97)

Putting all in italics is a clear indication that Hamilton Ellis was
pulling someone's leg. I guess this term might have arisen from
translating an architect's drawing, since a characteristic of this type of
station is a large circulation hall. The Dutch do however seem to have a
station named after a much loved Russian Princess – Anna Paulowna
(1795-1865). Perhaps she invented the name for her Romanov relations,
though I have not been able to find it as one word in any dictionary other
than Russian.

There is a non railway Vokzal in a park in Wroclaw according to google but
this was built just before WWI.

Regards

Robin Whittaker

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