And today, it is here that innovations are being introduced, new technologies, digital services and services are being tried.
"The station, fireproof box of my parting, meetings and partings...", - once wrote the poet Boris Pasternak. He believed that Russia is a "nomadic country". In modern terms, transport in it is a demanded "consumer product", akin to air, food and water. This idea is vividly confirmed by the current congestion of Moscow railway stations. Each of them receives from five hundred to one and a half thousand passengers hourly.
The word "station" comes from the English vauxhall, which back in the 18th century was called a hot spot in London - the Amusement Park. The very first station in the Russian Empire, opened more than 180 years ago, is considered to be a restaurant at the Pavlovsk station of the Tsarskoye Selo railway. Gradually, a building was called a railway station in Russia, to which platforms adjoin, and trains arrive to them by rail.
Mandatory attributes of modern train stations: waiting rooms, ticket offices, lockers, restaurant buffets. At all stations, police officers and doctors are always on duty, porters and cleaners scurry about. And, of course, those who meet and see off.
There are nine railway stations in Moscow today, located in buildings with centuries of history, which are considered cultural monuments of the capital. Recently, however, another hub has appeared - Vostochny. Muscovites do not yet call it a "train station" - they are not used to it, probably. But of course, three legendary stations are considered the main ones in the city - Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky and Kazansky stations.
Russian Railways strengthens its leadership
According to Oleg Belozerov, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Russian Railways Company, 2020 has become one of the most difficult years for the passenger railway complex in history. After a four-fold drop in traffic volumes in the first half of the year, their restoration began, the technological process was promptly rebuilt and the fulfillment of the established requirements for protecting the health of passengers was ensured. At the same time, the company continued to introduce new services and services and, which is very important, renewed its rolling stock.
“More than 1,000 new cars have been purchased. The composition of the world-famous long-distance train "Russia" Moscow - Vladivostok has been completely renewed. These are more than 200 new generation cars! Design solutions with an emphasis on personalizing passenger space have received positive feedback from Russians”, - says Oleg Belozerov.
In general, despite all the problems of the past year, Russian Railways continues to strengthen its leadership among the world's railways in terms of safety, energy efficiency, speed and reliability of cargo delivery.
Oleg Belozerov called the development of digital services and innovative projects, the introduction of a new model range of passenger cars throughout the country and the formation of a new model of suburban transportation, the key tasks of 2021 for Russian Railways. According to him, the time has come to increase the volume of freight traffic, as well as to develop the Eastern landfill in compliance with all requirements for environmental protection. The pandemic has forced to speed up the transfer of work to digital interfaces. The digitalization of transport and logistics activities is in full swing no matter what. As a result, more than 70% of legally significant procedures are already being processed on the Freight Transportation electronic trading platform.
The strategy of innovative development, renewal of infrastructure, management systems, equipment and technologies is directly related to the renovation of station premises, the creation of a modern station infrastructure, and new technological services. Three Moscow railway stations - Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky and Kazansky - take leading positions in this strategy of innovation.
Three Stations are innovating
The correspondent of Novye Izvestia contacted the Directorate of Railway Stations and asked a question: what new services and services are provided at the Leningradsky, Kazansky and Yaroslavsky stations today?
"At each of the stations you named, new digital services and services are provided for the convenience and comfort of passengers. For example, passengers can use new modern cells of automatic lockers of a new type with unmanned service technology, or use the service of renting portable chargers. Information video terminals are also installed on the high station walls, through which passengers can get the necessary information about the train timetable, departure time, cost, etc".
In addition, new modern spaces appear at the station complexes. So, at the Yaroslavsky railway station this summer, the Comfort hall was renewed, in which a playground was installed for young travelers.
The world's first squash club, located right on the territory of the station complex, was opened at the Kazansky railway station in the spring. There is a separate warm-up area as well as a recovery center with professional therapists and massage therapists. All courts are equipped with an air conditioning system with built-in sensors to regulate and maintain the desired temperature. The club's professional team includes certified trainers from the World Squash Federation.
Speaking about innovations, the Directorate of Railway Stations press service especially noted the Leningradsky railway station, which in recent years has become one of the key Russian railway proving grounds for testing advanced technologies designed to make the life of millions of travelers more convenient and comfortable.
"In September, at the Leningradsky railway station, an innovative project was launched on a biometric payment system for the services of a business lounge of a new format. The new digital service allows you to accelerate payment for services, making it easier and more convenient. To use it, you need to select a biometric payment method on the terminal, then stand in front of the tablet, which will automatically identify the face of the Sberbank client and instantly conduct the transaction. This payment method is available to everyone who has connected the one-glance payment function in the Sberbank Online mobile application”, - the Directorate of Railway Stations press service noted.
In August, a pilot project for contactless payment for car parking based on Fast Track technology was launched at the Leningradsky Railway Station. Now, when entering a car park, a visitor just needs to put a bank card or a device with contactless payment technology to the parking terminal. When leaving, repeat the operation. The system will automatically calculate the time spent in the parking lot and will automatically write off the amount in accordance with the established tariff.
A new digital food delivery service is also being tested at the Leningradsky Railway Station. The service is designed for passengers and visitors who plan to order lunch on the road, as well as for those who wish to have a snack while waiting for the train. Average order delivery time is only 10 minutes. The menu is updated daily. The service works around the clock.
Another digital service, the testing of which at the Leningradsky railway station was completed this summer, is a project to pay for the services of automatic lockers using a QR-code. Currently, this method of accepting payments was introduced on 9 major railway stations of Moscow, as well as on all the stations in St. Petersburg and a number of stations on the North-Caucasian railway, said to "Novye Izvetsia" the representative of management of JW.
Not only innovations, but also architectural monuments
"Komsomolskaya Square is a unique place for the Russian capital, - the Moscow expert, Doctor of Historical Sciences Pyotr Zelenkov told Novye Izvestia. - The railway buildings can be used to study the history of Russian architecture of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The architectural solutions of the three stations illustrate the most diverse styles of Russian architecture: the strict Russian-Byzantine style of the Leningradsky railway station, the figurative stylization of antiquity in the appearance of the Yaroslavsky railway station and following the historical examples of Russian architecture in the image of the Kazansky railway station".
Preserving the historical appearance of buildings, their architectural value is also an important modern task. It is difficult not to destroy the architectural identity in the heat of renovation. Difficult, but possible. And the experience of Russian Railways proves this. History can also be capitalized. And she's rich.
Nikolaevsky or Leningradsky? Or maybe St. Petersburg?
In February 1842, Emperor Nicholas I decided to build the St. Petersburg-Moscow railway, which was the world's longest double-track "cast iron".
The emperor understood that it was necessary to build two stations - in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The project was entrusted to the court architect and favorite of Nicholas I, the architect Konstantin Ton, the creator of the Russian-Byzantine style in Russia. Ton at that time was actively building in the Kremlin - the Kremlin Palace, the reconstruction of the Ivan the Great bell tower, the Armory. He was also the author of the first project of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Ton developed the architectural plan of Kalanchevskaya Square, according to which the construction of a station with a clock tower and rich decor was planned on its northern border, and two more buildings with a more modest decoration were to be located on the sides - a customs house and a residential building, which for some reason not built.
The construction of the station building was completed in 1849, and the road, which cost the budget 67 million gold rubles, was opened on August 16, 1851. On this day, the first train with the emperor, retinue and two battalions of the guardsmen of the Semenovsky and Preobrazhensky regiments traveled from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
Emperor Alexander II, having begun to reign in March 1855, immediately changed the name of the railway and the stations of its terminal stations. They became Nikolaevsky. Thus, the autocrat immortalized the memory of Nicholas I, through whose efforts both the road and the station appeared.
After the revolution, the royal titles held out for five years. In 1923, having assumed the post of People's Commissar of Railways, Felix Dzerzhinsky ordered to immediately change the royal names alien to the new government. Nikolaevskaya became the October railway. The station in Moscow was also named Oktyabrsky.
The road lived with a revolutionary name until 2003, i.e. before the transformation of the Ministry of Railways into the Russian Railways holding, but the station retained its new name for less than a year. On January 21, 1924, the leader of the world proletariat died in Gorki near Moscow. Petrograd became Leningrad. The station in Moscow also became Leningrad.
Who were the sturgeon sandwiches for?
The history of the Leningradsky railway station is the history of the country. It was here in 1927 that the first in the USSR Deputy Room with a set of good rest was opened. Her room was covered with carpets, sofas, armchairs, cupboards for dishes and clothes. A closed buffet was open around the clock, the obligatory menu of which included sandwiches with sturgeon, red and pressed (black) caviar, sausages with green peas, Moskovskaya cutlet with mashed potatoes and other dishes. Among the compulsory drinks were black tea with lemon, cognac, vodka, port and dry wine of three varieties.
Cleanliness and neatness have always been a sure sign of the Leningradsky railway station. In Soviet times, and especially in the dashing 1990s, this was especially striking.
For 170 years, the Leningradsky railway station has gone through five reconstructions and expansions, three major overhauls. And now it is a modern European-level passenger service complex.
The last large-scale reconstruction of the Leningradsky railway station was completed in August 2013. Like 170 years ago, the goal of the work carried out was to create the most comfortable and convenient conditions for passengers. The Moscow Mayor's Office, commented to Novye Izvestia: "During the reconstruction of the station building, a difficult task was solved: it was necessary to preserve the external historical appearance of the building, its unique color and, at the same time, completely re-equip the internal premises for their most efficient use". And this task was solved.
Today, the station halls have modern navigation and informatization systems. In hall 2, long-distance ticket offices were reconstructed into “open-type” ticket offices, which improves the quality and speed of passenger service.
It was not the Kremlin, but the Yaroslavsky railway station!
- In 1965, I, demobilized, went from Kazan to Moscow with the sole purpose of seeing the Kremlin. I knew that I was doing a big detour, but I had a childhood dream and my soul was eager to go to the capital of our country. Early in the morning I arrived at the Kazansky railway station, went out to the square and was stunned - this is where, it turns out, the tsars lived, and now the Soviet government is working! Having burst into tears, I involuntarily knelt down. Passers-by looked at me in surprise, and no one said a word. My heart calmed down, my tears dried up, and I left for my native Nizhny Tagil. And only thirty years later I learned that I saw not the Moscow Kremlin, but the building ... of the Yaroslavsky railway station on Komsomolskaya Square, "Ivan Ryabov, a former editor of one of the Ural newspapers, told NI.
“The Yaroslavsky railway station has its own history, no less interesting than that of the Kremlin”, - says Pyotr Zelenkov, a connoisseur of the capital's architecture. - In 1858, a group of merchants, among whom was the millionaire Ivan Mamontov, on the initiative of the professor-mathematician of Moscow State University Fyodor Chizhov, began the construction of a new road in the northern direction. "Chugunka" was supposed to connect Moscow with the Orthodox Mecca - Sergiev Posad. The motives of the authors of the project are clear even today - the crowds of believers will turn into passengers on the new road and will quickly recoup the colossal expenses. It was not for nothing that Mamontov, before giving the go-ahead to participate in the project, personally calculated the possible risks and thought how much the road would be in demand.
But the rails running into Sergiev Posad soon again began to excite Russian industrialists, scientists and educated tsarist officials. Behind the dead end, which was crowned with a large Orthodox oak cross, they saw the great paths to the North of Russia and Siberia. In an area where there is a lot of iron ore, coal, gold, precious stones, forests, furs and fish.
In 1870 Troitsky railway station became Yaroslavsky and the name stuck. Later, the road went to Arkhangelsk and connected Moscow with the vast territories of the Russian North. The Yaroslavl direction began to bring good money to shareholders.
In 1902, funds were found for a complete reconstruction of the railway station building in Moscow. Emperor Nicholas II appointed the head of the project - the famous architect Fyodor Shekhtel. Applying new building materials - reinforced concrete, metal structures, facing tiles - Shekhtel managed to create a unique building at a much lower cost than the traditional method would require. All the work cost the state 300 thousand rubles with a noticeably accelerated construction period. Among the impressive features of the building are the huge entrance arch, the keel of the canopy above it, and the pylons in the form of stylized fortress towers.
Yaroslavsky railway station has gone through two reconstructions, one restoration and one major overhaul. In 1966, the main building received a glass extension from the side of the aprons. In 1995, the area of the station was significantly expanded, which made it possible to double the number of passengers and eliminate the excessive congestion of halls and aprons.
Stalin was dissatisfied
For 33 years (from 1922 to 1955) Yaroslavsky was the Northern Railway Station. They say the station was renamed because this name reminded Stalin and his entourage of the great peasant uprising in the Yaroslavl province. Nevertheless, despite all the games with renaming, the people of the station continued to call the station Yaroslavsky out of habit.
Today Yaroslavsky is a modern and one of the largest railway stations in the capital. Every day it passes up to 30 long-distance trains, including foreign ones, to the capitals of Mongolia, China, North and South Korea.
As of 2020, it ranks first in terms of passenger traffic in the country. At the same time, the main share of traffic falls on suburban trains - more than 6 million people per month, while only slightly more than 500 thousand people use long-distance routes per month.
Currently, the station platform is occupied by 16 railway tracks. Six of them are intended for long-distance passenger trains, 8 serve the suburban traffic of the Moscow region, and two tracks are allocated for high-speed express trains "Sputnik".
Yaroslavsky Station is the zero kilometer of the world's longest railway, the Transsib. If a tourist wants to take a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway, the journey will begin at the Yaroslavsky railway station in Moscow, and in six days and a little over an hour the train will arrive at the railway station in Vladivostok. During this time, he will make 120 stops, cross 8 time zones in 19 regions of Russia.
"Gateway to the East"
Perhaps the most popular fun of taxi drivers on Komsomolskaya Square since Soviet times is to separate passengers who first arrived in the capital who need to get from Leningradsky and Yaroslavsky to Kazansky railway stations. And vice versa. Visitors who do not know the city well will be given a ride around the square for a lot of money.
Once upon a time on the site of the Kazansky railway station there was a swamp near the Olkhovets stream, then - a sawn timber market. In 1860, the swamp was drained, Olkhovets was enclosed in a pipe, and the market was closed. In 1862, the tracks of the Moscow-Ryazan railway were brought here.
In 1893, the railway was extended to Kazan, the flow of passengers increased significantly. The need for a new station became apparent. The board of the railway considered several projects for the reconstruction of the station building, but even the most successful option had serious shortcomings and was not approved by the ministry. In addition, Nicholas II expressed a desire to make the station the "eastern gate" of Moscow. And through them - to connect Europe and Asia.
Soon a competition was announced for the design of a new station. Academician of architecture A.V. Shchusev. The fundamental difference between his version was that he transferred the main architectural forms from the narrow Ryazan passage to the corner of Kalanchevskaya Square, "thereby turning the entire composition to face the direction most favorable for the city."
In addition, Shchusev proposed a project in a national-romantic style with elements of art from the countries of the East. Largely thanks to this, the board of the road decided on October 29, 1911 to build a new station according to the project of Shchusev. On November 12, 1913, after the necessary approvals, the project was approved by Nicholas II.
Construction began in 1913 and overshadowed all other construction projects at Moscow stations. The best architects, engineers and artists of Russia were involved in the work. Suffice it to say that N.K. Roerich, A.N. Benois, B.M. Kustodiev, Z.E. Serebryakova.
In 1919, the unfinished building was commissioned in a simplified, so to speak, form. Only seven years later, the Moscow authorities found money to complete the first stage of reconstruction and decoration of the station. And this is understandable - young Soviet Russia was not up to the comfort of passengers and people were content with benches made of planed boards and shared carriages.
Only in 1940 was the last stage of the reconstruction of the Kazan railway station completed. So, many of Shchusev's plans remained unfulfilled.
At the very beginning of construction, the architect insisted on the construction of a striking clock and ordered bronze zodiac signs for them in St. Petersburg, having independently completed drawings for them. However, the watch was started only in 1923 and worked until the fall of 1941 - it was hit by a German high-explosive bomb. The watch was returned to its original place only in the 1970s.
There will be a garden-station
In the late 1980s, the Kazansky Railway Station underwent a large-scale reconstruction: the appearance of the main building was renewed, the internal premises were expanded and re-planned, roofs were erected over the platforms, and the building was equipped with modern technical means.
The builders fulfilled the behests of Academician Shchusev - they built an underground passage under all paths of the station from Komsomolskaya Square to Novoryazanskaya Street, a landing stage over platforms, new buildings on Ryazansky Proezd and Novoryazanskaya Street. And they did it according to the drawings of the famous architect.
Today, from the Kazan railway station you can go not only to Kazan and Ryazan, but also to Bishkek, Grozny, Tashkent, Karaganda and many other eastern cities.
Kazansky railway station has a bright future. It’s hard to imagine that very soon it could turn into a multi-storey shopping center with green public space and outdoor areas. In any case, Roszheldorproekt presented a concept for the development of a railway station by 2030.
As conceived by the architects, a real park will be created over the tracks of suburban trains and long-distance trains, where now even sheds are absent. It will be possible to get into it with the help of escalators from Komsomolskaya Square and Novoryazanskaya Street. The green space will serve not only as a place for walking, but also as an alternative path, allowing the townspeople not to go around the entire station in order to get to the neighboring streets. Inside the historical part, where everything is now lined with kiosks, they will make a three-level center with a total area of more than 25 thousand square meters. m.
The pavilions on the second and third levels will house shops, waiting rooms and an inspection center, which is now located in a historic building. And towards Novoryazanskaya Street there will be a small open-air terrace. In addition, it is planned to improve the area of Three stations.
We are waiting and getting ready to be surprised. And what new technologies the rebuilt station will be equipped with - it remains only to fantasize.