Morzhenga Station is located 50 km north of Vologda. It is situated in the small village of Morzhenga, which means "Berry River." The settlement originated in 1611, but since then the name has not lost its meaning, for there really are unique berry and mushroom sites here. Every summer and autumn hundreds of people from Vologda arrive at this small commuter train station of a weekend to collect blueberries, raspberries, cloudberries, red berries and cranberries.
The local residents - those living in Morzhenga all the year round - number no more than 200 people, but as soon as the snow melts, thousands of dacha dwellers arrive, some for the whole summer, other just for the weekend, to breathe in the fresh forest air, to gather mushrooms and swim in the small stream.
The village Maloshyika of the Onega district in Arkhangelsk Oblast is included in the guided tours offered by several travel agencies. The village's name came from Malaya Shyika, the small river here.
The main attraction is the Church of St. Nicholas, which stands on the high river bank and is easily visible from the sea. As a monument of wooden architecture from the first half of the seventeenth century, it is protected by the state. In ancient times, similar churches near the sea served as a landmark for sailors when sailing in Onega Bay, so they were usually dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of travellers. No wonder that the Arkhangelsk region has a saying: "From Kholmogor to Kola there are 33 Nicholas's".
Today, Maloshyika is home to about 3,000 people. The railway is virtually the only going concern and place of work for the village's residents. The line also connects Maloshyika with the outside world and trains to Murmansk, Moscow and Arkhangelsk pass through the village.
Among the endless tundra and snow-capped peaks of the Polar Urals nestles the small railway station called Sob - which of course has no relation to crying in English!
Sob employs 12 drivers and 5 track workers in shifts. They serve the station-to-station block on the Chum -Labytnangi line, which links the main run of the Sosnogorsk branch of Northern Railways with the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. The electric token system for signalling and communication which operated in Tsarist Russia is still in operation on this single-track line laid across the marshes on the permafrost. Temperatures here can fall to -54°C, while frequent blizzards with winds of up to 45 m/s form snow drifts up to 8 metres high.
The origins of the name of the river Sob, which also gave its name to the station, go back to ancient Novgorod's old sayings and expressions. The word's root refers to the word "osobenny", which means "special". In the twelfth century, the route of Novgorod's ancient warriors from Europe to Asia passed through the Sob Mountain Massif. The highest bicephalous or double-headed mountain of the Massif has an altitude of 1,472 metres and is called Pai Er, which translated from the Nenets language means "Master of the Urals, Lord of the Mountains." Many tourists visit the ski slopes here.
Recently, a new modern station building consisting of 16 modules was put up. The station now boasts a well-built complex for work and recreation which is equipped with modern office facilities, rest rooms and warm showers.