History of the Brest Railway Station
The Brest railway station has its own “metric” – a telegram sent by the telegraph operator on behalf of the head of the repair service for railways and buildings of K.S. Lyamin to the member of the board of the Moscow-Brest Railway, N. Peters, 124 years ago, on May 28, 1886. “After the prayer, this date from 2 pm followed by a change in traffic to new routes and the opening for the public of the passenger building of the Brest Central Station,” Mr. Lyamin told Mr. Peters. The telegram is carefully kept in the museum of the station.
Brest. The platform of the station. The 1920s.
Then the station made a great impression on his contemporaries. He looked like a fortress on the island. It was covered, and this was the first time in the history of Russia’s railway transport. In 1888 160 electric lamps with a capacity of 20 candles each were lit in the waiting rooms and in the service rooms of the station, and 12 lamps with 50 candles grew on the platforms. The author of the calendar-directory “Brest for 1913” was sure that the first few years of its existence Brest Railway Station “was rightfully considered the only one in Russia for elegance and convenience.” With the construction of the railway station in Brest began to develop public transport. In place of the lone cabbies came omnibuses – multi-horse carriages connecting the station with the city center and the Brest-Litovsk fortress.
After the city became part of Poland, the railway junction lost its former significance, but the crippled First World Station building left no room for fate. The Polish government announced a contest for the best project for the restoration of the station, and by 1929 the reconstruction, which had changed the architectural appearance, was completed.
During the Great Patriotic War, the station buildings held defense, but they did not suffer much. True, after the liberation of Brest, the sappers spent almost two weeks working on their demining. And then active repair work began, in which German prisoners of war participated.
The next reconstruction fell on 1953 – 1957 years. A new building of sergeants and soldiers was built with an agitation station on the third floor and ticket offices at the first floor, an extension to the main building appeared – a customs hall and a hall for foreign tourists.
– One of the problems that stood before the designers, decided the famous sculptor Eugene Vuchetich, the author of the “Liberator’s Warrior” in Berlin’s Treptow Park. He was passing through the station. The sculptor proposed to remove the strings that fastened the walls of the station, and in exchange along the entire perimeter to make a belt of reinforced concrete. Thanks to such alteration, the central waiting room became more spacious and more beautiful, – says the director of the Brest railway station museum, the honorary railway worker Savva Shpudeyko.
During this reconstruction, a variety of rocks were used: granite, granodiorite, marble from the deposits of Georgia, Karelia, the Urals, and Ukraine. The color scheme is so diverse that the halls of the station can be regarded as an unusual museum of minerals. It was in those years that the spire and five-pointed star appeared on the central tower.
In 1993 – 1994, the station was renewed again. True, in part. The Polish firm-workshop for the restoration of monuments of antiquity requested 1, 5 million dollars, but the Belarusian Railways could allocate only a little more than a million, and some necessary work had to be deleted. It was then that the question arose about changing the Soviet symbolism. Disputes broke out serious, but as a result it was decided to leave the symbol of the era. A new star was made in the restoration workshops of Warsaw.
Now the station is on the threshold of another reconstruction. Recently, the repair of the aprons and the tunnel on the Moscow side was completed. The hall for foreign tourists is waiting for its turn, the roof needs attention, it is necessary to change the mosaic floor in the central waiting room…
It goes without saying that the station not only witnessed important historical events, but also saw many people. Soon after the opening of the building, on August 29, 1886, Emperor Alexander III and his son Nikolai met at the station the heir to the German throne, Prince Wilhelm. In 1900, on the way to Germany, Lenin stayed here. There were Klim Voroshilov, Nikita Khrushchev, Alexei Kosygin, Petr Masherov, Sergei Smirnov, Valentina Tereshkova. Khrushchev and Brezhnev, as well as the President of France, Georges Pompidou, had dinner with pleasure at the station restaurant.
In the museum there is a huge album, where on every page there is an autograph of a celebrity. Here Alexandra Pakhmutova left the record, here Mikhail Ulyanov congratulated the staff, but Lyudmila Zykina, Pyotr Klimuk and Yuri Luzhkov wish the employees of the Brest branch of the Belarusian Railways good and long years…
True, there were unpleasant situations at the station. Especially in the 90s, when after the collapse of the Soviet Union, former Soviet citizens rushed for happiness to Europe. In 1992, through the station, almost 9 million 534 thousand people proceeded, in 1993 – about 11 million 310 thousand! Without conflicts with the passengers could not do. But there were a lot of funny stories. Once the border guards did not allow a family, leaving for Germany, to take a parrot with them. The frustrated owner attributed the unfortunate bird to the duty officer of the station, Elena Klimovich. The parrot suddenly spoke: “Tosha Radaev – krasotulschik! Give a spoonful of porridge ! “Talkative Tosha lived for a while in Brest, until the owners received permission to export it.
… For many who follow the West through the “gland”, the Brest Railway Station remains the gateway to Europe, and for those who enter Belarus it is the visiting card of the country. In the near future, the time of the transit passenger trains in Brest will almost halve, and this hour should not be sitting in the car: walk around the station, feel the harmony, beauty and convenience. Next year, by the way, Brest railway station will celebrate its 125th anniversary.