CZ/SK verze

'Passengers often offered me lottery tickets, rings, or drugs instead of money,' recalls influencer and former train conductor Julie Šodková

'Passengers often offered me lottery tickets, rings, or drugs instead of money,' recalls influencer and former train conductor Julie Šodková
photo: RAILTARGET/'Passengers often offered me lottery tickets, rings, or drugs instead of money,' recalls influencer and former train conductor Julie Šodková
12 / 01 / 2023

Julie Šodková is a twenty-one-year-old student of transport school and railway influencer whose passion is, naturally, rolling stock. Previously working as a train conductor for ČD, she moved to the Railway Administration this year and manages HSL designs.

You are studying transport school. What led you to this unconventional field of study for a woman?

The path was quite complicated. I first started studying Bohemian Studies and English right after graduation, and then I started a part-time job at Czech Railways as a train conductor. There I fell in love with transport, trains, and rolling stock in general, and I said to myself that Bohemian Studies was fine, but it was not something I wanted to do all my life, so I switched to transport school.

You worked as a train conductor for Czech Railways, as you mentioned. What was your journey toward this profession? Could you describe it more specifically?

It started in my teens when I was commuting to school from Krnov to Opava every day, and I became interested in how the trains worked, whether they had diesel engines or ran on electricity. So I started looking for information about all this.

Then I met people from Czech Railways who showed me that the path is not that difficult to become a train conductor, so I applied, passed the interview and the psychological tests, and became a train conductor.

What duties does being a trainmaster entail?

It's a very responsible job, you have to pay a lot of attention to safety, especially with the older trains, which don't have, for example, door interlocks, and the doors can be opened even at 160 km/h, so you really have to make sure the doors close properly. And then we compile the train documentation, without which the train couldn't even leave.

All the data has to be entered correctly, like the UIC numbers, unique for each vehicle, the door locking system, and the braking system. So it's a lot of stuff and a very stressful job because sometimes even the passengers are not very kind to us, and when it all gets mixed up, there are some emergencies on top of that. Really, when I got home after my shift, I laid down and...

Can you think of the strangest experience you've had while working on the line?

As far as extraordinary events go, it was probably when I was escorting the Rožmberk express train from České Budějovice to Plzeň and our locomotive broke down right at the level crossing, so we were standing there and I was pointing at the drivers from the window and shouting at them to go around, and they were also old cars, so they didn't even have an information system. I was going around in five cars, compartment by compartment, informing the passengers.

Speaking of the passengers, there were also various offers, for example, if they couldn't afford a ticket, they tried to pay me in other ways, like lottery tickets, gold rings, and even drugs offered to me, so I laughed about it sometimes, and it was certainly not a boring or mundane job, but sometimes it was a bit much.

You changed jobs this year, you've now strengthened the Railway Administration team. Could you tell us what position you hold there and what your job description is?

Definitely, I'm currently in the high-speed rail administration team, so we're doing various studies and proposals on what the high-speed rail could actually look like, and my job description is that I'm mainly taking care of the email agenda, answering messages from ordinary people, and also from the Ministry of Transport, commissioning various projects there, looking a lot in the land registry. The queries are mostly about whether or not a cadastral area will or will not interfere with a given area, so we do a lot of searching in that documentation.