A TRAIN journey to the other side of the world begins at a Victorian station above the River Wear.
Jennie Beale and her film crew set out on January 25 on a journey which would take them 9,300 miles from Sunderland to Saigon in Vietnam – the longest train journey possible from Wearside.
And the story of the journey is the first exhibition featured at Monkwearmouth Station Museum in Sunderland, newly reopened after a £1m refit.
Jennie, who works at Sunderland’s Winter Gardens, and film crew Jon Pegler and Kate Harvest travelled through Europe, Russia and China to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.
Jennie, 31, from Albany, in Washington, said: “It’s the perfect way to end it really, to see the exhibition and hopefully to inspire anybody else to get up and go. This is what we travelled for.
“We experienced the coldest climate possible in Russia and saw an ice town carved out of ice blocks. And there were one or two hair-raising moments, such as when we tried taking photos at a train station in Kazakhstan.
“The guards did not like that at all and told us in no uncertain terms not to do that. We didn’t need to know the language to understand how angry they were.
“But the whole purpose of this was to show people the experience of travel and what it can mean and I think we definitely achieved that.
“We have already had so many positive comments about this and other people who just want to share their travel memories, and that’s really what Monkwearmouth Station is about.”
Sunderland city’s culture and leisure cabinet member Mel Speding said of the museum: “The refurbishment, which the city council has helped to fund, will not only have restored a listed building of great value to Sunderland’s heritage, it will also significantly improve the cultural offer of the city.”