Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gone are Proud Locos

haydarpasa central station
 It leaves without a hassle from Haydarpasa everyday, destination: Adapazari; and so it is appropriately called: Adapazari Express. Filled with workers and students, but especially workers, it runs back and forth during the day. The regulars of early morning and late evening departures are easy to spot. Tired, seldom in the mood for chat, living in their own worlds, trying to get some rest and above all, accumulate strength to make it again another day, for tomorrow.

As soon as it clears Bostanci, it gains some momentum, as if it knows it has its real customers on board now, not those who sneak in to reach the suburbs of Istanbul faster. Electric powered, it runs as if it is tearing the air and the ground apart, regretting the laws of physics that restrain it. Arrogant and selfish, it is way different than its predecessors. I remember.

steam powered locomotive
When I was a regular, when the service was first introduced, the locomotives were steam powered. Those engines, they were gentle, humble souls. They were aware of their limits. But most of all, they knew that the reason of their existence was passengers, you, us. Primitive as they were, they still tried their best to take you to your destination on time. Puffing and steaming, replenishing coal and water along the way, they shyly apologized you for not getting you any faster. When they were delayed, they almost cried in despair. If only they had more power...

Maltepe: her place. Can't remember how many times I came here, day and night, dawn or midnight. I should have never dated her. Yet, in affairs of the heart, reason seldom prevails. She wasted her two years for me. Time, it was important for her. She tried again after me. How I wish she had succeeded.

After the diesels were introduced, they renewed the rail tracks. So our selfish engine is running above par on its way to Gebze, where Pippa was murdered. I am looking at the scenery, trying to understand what went wrong. Diesels were a different breed. They were and still are indifferent, despite all the heat, cold creatures. A robot of some kind. They simply work. What went wrong? During the transition from steam to diesel and to electric, something changed. Someone poked a finger?

My joyride begins as we are approaching to Hereke. I deliberately choose the first car in trains (long time ago, you were allowed to smoke there). You could have watched the sparks at night when steam-powereds were at service. Now I see the reflection of the moonlight over the bay. No sparks, though.

As soon as we clear Hereke, it is the loco's time. Until Yarimca, or its present distasteful new name Korfez, it will go at full speed, rail tracks permitting. It does not care whether you are on time or not. Screaming through the night, it will satisfy its own hunger for speed, cursing the railroad company for the tracks and possibly Newton as well. It will only last ten minutes, alas. Soon, the sound of the brakes will be heard, silencing its moans and cries of protest.

Yarimca: my usual stop nowadays. I get off here, sort of glad not hearing its protests any more, that arrogant creature! It slowly accelerates as I watch the cars go by, a habit that stuck long time ago. At the back of the last car I notice the conductor and we mentally wave hands at each other. And Adapazari Express disappears with memories, my memories, as I turn back and walk home.