Under the sound of wheels: second-class carriages of Russia through the eyes of an Englishman


Since the Russian Railways company is gradually ceasing to use second-class carriages, Briton Tom Clark and Russian photographer Maria Sakirko decided to capture the experience and traditions of railway journeys in Russia in order to understand what the Russians will lose when their favorite way to travel in third grade will fade.
There is a common habit in Russia to measure distances by traveling to a destination by train. “Vladivostok is six days by train,” say Muscovites. To St. Petersburg, for example, is just one night. Electrified railway lines in Russia are no longer a source of pride, as was the case in Soviet times, but they still reliably connect the west of the country with the east. Apart from pipelines, 90% of cargo in Russia is transported by rail.From Vladikavkaz in the south of Russia to Vladivostok on the coast of the Sea of Japan, the cultural space of Russian trains – and especially second-class carriages – has long been an integral part of national culture. As if they were voluntary prisoners, passengers know the rules of travel very well. They bow to carriage traditions.