A new train that symbolizes hope for citizens' aspirations

ABC News reports that a new train connecting Romania with Moldova made its first run today, cutting an hour off the former journey-time by eliminating a border-stop where train-wheels had to be switched to accommodate a wider track-guage used throughout the former Soviet Union and its satellite countries, including Moldova.

For now the train will make one round-trip each day, between Chisinau in Moldova and Iasi in Romania, the one-way travel-time being 3 hours now instead of 4.

Prior to World War II Moldova was part of Romania, the Romanian language still is spoken in Moldova, students from Moldova are allowed to attend state universities in Romania, and efforts are underway eventually to integrate Moldova with the West.

One problem with that ambition concerns the Eastern portion of Moldova, known as Transdniestria, where the majority of the population speaks Russian, feels loyalties to Russia, and reportedly still has Russian tanks and army troops stationed as an occupying presence.

But during a week in early July this year, a delegation of one thousand young people marched 300 miles from Chisinau to Bucharest to petition for reunification of the two countries.

And three weekends ago Moldovan citizens staged a massive protest in downtown Chisinau, demanding their President's removal and creation of a new constitution.

Now Romania has opened an office in downtown Chisinau and is helping to train young people in Moldova for future political leadership.

So perhaps this new train-service ought to be regarded as a prompt and tangible, if symbolic, response to those youth marches and citizens' protests.

30 SEP 2015