Train Station Stories

Adi Bulboacă took up photography when he was 16 years old. Whichever town he visits, he knows exactly where the theatre and the train station are. For him, photography is a means of trying to give back to society what it offers, filtered through his personality.


If I were to give up photography, I would seriously consider becoming a station master in a small town. In January, I travelled 11.000 km through the country. I can’t recall exactly how many train stations I’ve seen, but I got on 103 trains. During this time I made a small list of favorite stations: Piatra Olt, Mediaș, Vatra Dornei, Săvârșin, Sighetu Marmației are just a few of the places where I could spend 12 hours straight without even noticing.

They are not clean, they are neither warm during winter, nor cool during summer, but each and every one of them has an incredible architecture, history and, most importantly, a unique story to tell. And every person who sets foot into a train station has a story to tell. They are going somewhere; they are coming from somewhere. The greatest luxury I allowed myself was to take a month off to photograph these people’s stories. When I started my journey, I expected these stations and waiting rooms to serve only as pit stops, but I had to realize that they were quite the opposite. In none of these places did I manage to take all the shots I wanted, there was simply not enough time and I feel like I will never end this quest. But I will resume my journey, and I will discover other train stations too.

Oh how I love to travel by train! For me, the saying that it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey itself is really true. For an entire month I had no destination except for these station stops.
And it so happens that I am writing this text in a train. In a few minutes’ time I will pass by the Burdujeni train station, and I know that it will be the highlight of my week. Then, I will get off in the Botoșani train station, a place which is as familiar to me as an old friend.

Instead of a conclusion, here’s a short note about the Mediaș train station, which I dearly miss: from the very first time I set foot there, I knew I would go back to photograph its two floors, the people going up the stairs, its big, red plastic chairs, and most importantly its walls decorated with small, turquoise tiles.

Text and photo: Adi Bulboacă | Translation: Timea Matyas

Article published in Celsius – Pilot Issue – 2016