A photo of Petrozavodsk station in 1916
Photo by C.M.Prokudin-Gorsky
These days 90 years ago the first freight and passenger train has arrived to Petrozavodsk from St.-Petersburg, which has commemorated completion of construction of Olonetskaya railway which stretched 263 versts from Zvanka station (nowadays Volkhovstroy I) to Petrozavodsk station.
Prior to the beginning of 1916 as an administrative centre of Karelia Petrozavodsk remained perhaps the last in the country provincial city not connected with a railway network. More than half of settlements were connected by footpaths and winter seasonal roads, and when the navigation was over the district remained cut off from the basic part of Russia for many long months. The government of Russia realized that from the strategic piont of view it was impossible to leave this extensive territory on approaches to the northern capital without reliable transport communications. An offer from a group of private businessmen to construct a road and create a joint-stock company in the Ministry of Railways for this purpose was submitted in 1910. In April of 1912 a joint-stock company for the road construction at participation of the French capital has been organized: the core shareholders were - the Azov-Don commercial bank and a group of French banks. The society regulations have been approved by Nikolay II personally. The total cost of construction of Olonetskaya railway was valued at 13 million roubles.
Construction of Olonetskaya railway has begun in 1914. Engineers of communications V.Skryabin, V.Nagrotsky and G.Gonig have been at the head of business. By energies of the joint-stock company, most of the work has been done in the scheduled time constraints, and the war broken out has urged on efforts of the state. On January 1, 1915 the Highest Decree had approved regulations on construction of the Petrozavodsk - Sorotskaya bay railway at government expense. For construction of the line from Petrozavodsk to the north and the second track from Zvanka to Petrozavodsk it was allocated more than 20,5 million roubles. Thus, the construction of Murmanskaya (nowadays Oktyabrskaya) railway has been launched.
It is remarkable, that in 1915 a question on the place of construction of Petrozavodsk station has arisen. The joint-stock company insisted on construction in Golikovka town district, at it had no means for construction of bridges through the rivers Lososinka and Neglinka. At its extraordinary session the Municipal Duma has passed the decision to submit a petition to the Ministry of Railways for assignment of means from the treasury for construction of the station and bridges. The petition has been satisfied, and by the beginning of 1916 the joint-stock company has completely performed all works on construction and arrangement of the railway.
For those days construction of Olonetskaya railway has been completed in record-breaking-short terms in July of 1916. On January 13, 1916 the Minister of Railways A. F.Trepov came to Petrozavodsk at 11:30 p.m. by train. He was welcomed by members of the Municipal Duma and the city head E.Pimenov. On January, 22 the first freight and passenger train has arrived to Petrozavodsk station from Zvanka, and the next day it had set out on the way back. A single-track railroad in the extent of 263 versts became the result of construction of the road capable to pass nine pairs of trains a day. Work on increase in the road throughput proceeded at full speed. By September the railway was put into normal operation that corresponded the level of construction of that time, though yet it did not provide a designed capacity of the throughput of 21 pairs of trains a day.
Olonetskaya railway constructed by the joint-stock company has been sold to the state treasury in 1917 for 40 million roubles and incorporated with Petrozavodsk-Kem-Murmansk railway line constructed by the end of 1916. The incorporated railroad was named Murmanskaya railroad.