Kushka to Ashkhabad trains

To Kushka by Camel is an excellent December 2009 article by Isaac Scarborough describing trains on the Kuskha (Serhetabat) to Ashkhabad route in Turkmenistan.

For incomprehensible reasons, however, the whole edifice stood. Trains arrived – generally on time – and left, only a little late. The pistachios arrived from Kushka, tomatoes were shipped to Ashkhabad. I only had to bribe my way onto the train once, and that was from Ashkhabad home. … I always got the impression that things were just on this side of completely falling apart. The trains hadn’t been repaired in thirty years, the rails themselves were rusting and a touch warped. Stations were little more than cement slabs populated by piles of sunflower seed shells and half feral dogs. Everyone involved was somehow a little crooked, there was always an extra man or two in each compartment and the conductors spent more time drinking tea than actually paying any attention to what the passengers were doing.
Source: To Kushka by Camel, Isaac Scarborough, This Recording, December 2009

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