By: Matej Zorko
Kočevje, which has been eagerly awaiting the launch of the renovated railway for too long, has been given a “new” steam locomotive, which once stood at the station in Zalog.
They quickly patched larger holes with sheet metal and poured fresh paint over it. Instead of undergoing comprehensive restoration work and leaving it under the roof of the Railway Museum, it was again driven into solitude. When the mayor cuts the ribbon, the tin music is unbuttoned and the crowd disperses, the locomotive will be forgotten by all, a pile of decaying iron, interesting only for homeless drug addicts and collectors of non-ferrous metals. It should be noted that another steam locomotive has been present in Kočevje for many years, the remains of which are now stored in a collapsing shed that no one really cares about. The crime against technical heritage is that after more than 30 years, the same practice is still repeated.
Unique machines are left at the mercy of the ravages of time in Slovenian places, and obviously there is no competent institution or person who would dare to stop this action. A performance of turning a museum steam locomotive in Maribor as part of the European Capital of Cultur depicts how bizarre Slovene culture can be. This steam locomotive is the only and unique representative of its type and they lifted it with a lift and rotated it 180 degrees. But there is no money for a couple of kilograms of paint. Austria is home to a number of smaller railway companies, which, with the help of volunteers, keep old vehicles alive and drive enthusiastic passengers. Take Borovlje, for example. A completely different world, a different mindset, a different approach.
One of the largest American rail companies has the words “Building America” and the American flag on its locomotives. They realize that the US without railroads would never be what it is today. I call on those responsible to change their approach to preserving cultural and technical heritage, to stop continuing to cause irreparable damage. The guilt of those who led to such a situation will be forever indelible in the eyes of the critical crowd.