Modern anniversary in retro style
Monument to 150th anniversary of Belarusian Railways unveiled at first Belarusian railway station in Porechie, Grodno Region
By Yelena Stasova
The anniversary of the first section of Belarusian railway has been widely celebrated in its place of ‘birth’. The 30km line across Belarus was part of the St. Petersburg-Warsaw route, running between Grodno and Porechie.
To mark the occasion, Belarusian Railways has restored two original locomotive engines (made in Poland) and a carriage, in 19th century style. Works were carried out in Lida and Volkovysk and the rolling stock has been tested — for future tourism use and to promote rail travel.
On the main day of celebration, one steam train pulled a train of guests from Porechie while the second delivered historical figures from the 19th century. Porechie station has been restored, as has a passenger building, with waiting rooms given particular attention on the second floor. New paving has been laid and 19th century lamps installed. There is also a memorial plaque and monument: a small copy of the first locomotive, bearing the coat of arms of a double-headed eagle.
The Head of Belarusian Railways, Vladimir Morozov, notes that other railway services between Grodno and Lithuanian Druskininkai may be restored, with talks underway. The move would make the station an important railway hub and tourist attraction.
The movement of trains across the territory of modern Belarus began on December 27th, 1862, when a train whistle first disturbed the frosty silence of the town of Porechie. Today, Belarusian Railways unites 31 organisations and 86,000 employees, in addition to 503 stations, 573 flag stations, and 20 large railway stations. Around 267,000 people set out daily from these stations.