Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pushing My Luck

Today I had a real adventure. Through the 'back door' that everyone uses I intruded deeply into the dead forges area, the one I mentioned earlier.

Here is that back door, an open shunting area:

See, no fence between the streets and the railways.

Just when I had documented the most fantastic appliance - a device to tip a railway coal carriage sideways if not upside down, so as to empty it contents onto a conveyor belt - I was discovered by three serious-looking security men. Of course I attacked them furiously rather than to wait for them to attack me, but they must have had the karate black belt, or else I would have got away easily. They took me to their office and explained my rights in Polish, which was futile because I don't understand a word of Polish. This I explained in English, French, German and Dutch, but that was futile as well.

Then they pointed at my camera bag. Using only sign language now, I explained to them that this camera was very dear to me, that the lens was a present from family and friends for my sixtieth birthday, that the memory card contained over six hundred pictures, of which only about tweny taken on their premises, and that those premises were about to be demolished anyway so why all the fuss.

After all this explaining and their peering into my passport and mumbling 'holenderski'*), they more or less lost interest and decided to let me go.

Oh no, just one more thing sir, why that index finger you pointed upwards so rudely? That means 'one', I sign-languaged.
What great relief on their innocent but serious faces: 'one' in Polish is not index finger up but thumb up.

After promising I'd never make that mistake again, we shook hands warmly, and I was escorted to the heavily padlocked front gate, which was opened especially for me.

Here is that fantastic railway freight carrier upside-down turner:
Update: It is called a
Wagon tippler

Play the movie below to see how such a Wagon tippler works.

*) Correct spelling thanks to Andreas | 虾猊食

Late edit (October 2009)
I found a very elaborate movie about the entire process of unloading coal wagons in Philadelphia on YouTube.


VallyP said...

Koosje!!! You do take some risks you know! Supposing they'd confiscated your camera and lenses? Just as well they seemed basically friendly!

Still, it makes for good dinner conversation doesn't it? You'll dine and drink on that story for years now ;-)

Glad you're safe though, really! xxx

Dale said...

Well, Koos, if the door was so heavily padlocked, how did you get in, in the first place?

VallyP said...

Aha, Dale, he has ways and never knew Koos was a lock picker in one of his former lives, did you?

I really am glad they didn't arrest you though, Koosje. Don't push your luck any further will you? They might be in Europe now, but it's not that long ago the KGB were marching around that part of the world ;-)

Dale said...

Yes Koos, you listen to Val!

You would be missed...

Koos F said...

Ah, that's such a sweet thing to hear.

The funny thing about the padlock was that the way in at the back was so wide open, there wasn't even a fence.
Poland again...

Koos F said...

And it is about locks again, see yesterday's post:

Dale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dale said...

Ah, so they kicked you walked in from the street, yet they kicked you back out through a padlocked door...

They might just have been making a point?

I can make neither heads nor tails of the upsidedown railcar.
Unless it's a U-shape to begin with...

Koos F said...

The rails lead the freight carriage into that hole. There it is clamped tight, and the whole circular contraption, railcar included, starts revolving, until all the coal has fallen out of the carriage.

Dale said...

i should learn to proof read...

jannx said...

Hey Koos, nice industrial work you did in Polske / Poland :D

String said...

Love those photos!

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