Rizhskaya Station, Moscow
The growth of Tsarist Russia's foreign trade in the late nineteenth led to an increase in the construction of new railway lines to the ice-free ports of Latvia. Russian industrialists and merchants were penetrating global markets aggressively. In addition to grain, flour and meat, Russia had rich deposits of ore, coal and other minerals. Domestic industry was also developing and gaining confidence and momentum. Entrepreneurs quickly realised the advantages of laying a new railway line to the Baltic Sea.
As a result, the Moscow-Vindavo-Rybinsky railway line, which had a total length of 2,453 km, was laid. Track construction began following an Imperial Decree issued by Tsar Nicholas II on 2 March 1897. The Moscow-Vindavo-Rybinsky Railway Company approached the Moscow city government with a request "to express agreement on the location of the Moscow freight and passenger station at Krestovskaya Zastava on the vacant plot of land between Nikolayevskaya railway line and Lazarev Cemetery."
It was proposed to construct the passenger station at Krestovskaya Zastava on the large plot of vacant land adjacent to one side of First Meshchanskaya Street. Between the station building and the street a large area was to remain to provide access to the station for the train crews. The freight station was supposed to be next to the passenger station. Space was specifically allotted next to the freight station for unloading timber and firewood, which at that time were of great importance to the city.
A significant investment was required on the part of the Railway Company in order to improve the streets and resolve various issues with the existing and future urban water supply, as the pipes of the Moskvoretsky water supply crossed the station's site. As a result, the Company agreed with the city's requirements set out in the "Judgment of the City Council on 9 February 1899 On the Conditions Presented by the City to the Moscow-Vindavo-Rybinsky Railway Company During the Construction of the Moscow Freight and Passenger Station at Krestovsky Zastava."
The Railway Company undertook to build a passage at least 10 Russian fathoms wide along the Lazarev cemetery and pave it, lay pavements and build a bridge in Trifonovskaya Lane, resolve a number of questions on the maintenance of the river Naprudnaya and perform other work. A Russian fathom is equal to 2.13 m.
Since the amount of time for the construction of the new railway was limited, its design was based on simplified technical conditions, with the creation of a large number of bypasses around the natural obstacles on the Klinsky ridge.
The grand opening of Vindavskaya station in Moscow took place on 11 September 1901. The first train departed from Vindavo at 18:05. In June 1901, the first train arrived here from Rzhev. Subsequently, the Moscow-2 - Rzhev train ran regularly three times a week.
Vindavskaya station was built by the St. Petersburg architect S. Brzhozovsky, who designed Vitebsk Station in St. Petersburg. The actual construction of the station was carried out under the direction of the architect Y. Dietrich.
The station building stands out due to its beautiful outdoor facade in the old Russian style and its three towers connected by covered walkways on the first floor. The station's central part and wings are two-storey. The building is adorned by almost all the elements to be found in the Russian architecture of the seventeenth century, such as windows of various shapes, linings, corbel arches and edgings. Contemporaries unanimously agreed that the design chosen was distinguished by its great taste and dignity.
The station's central part in particular stood out due to its covered porch and convenient entrance. The station was rightly considered the most convenient for passengers, and in many respects was technically perfect. It had its own power supply, which illuminated the halls and platforms.
The station's name was changed repeatedly. From its construction and up to 1930, it was called Vindavskaya, then the Baltic, then Rzhevskaya. In 1946, the station was renamed Riga.
In the late 1930s, a situation arose in which the technical speeds of suburban commuter trains with steam traction started to hold back all kinds of rail transportation. Electrified railway boasted increased capacity. In 1929, a section on the Moscow - Pushkino line to Yaroslavl was the first to be electrified on the Moscow hub. Electric train services to Gorky began in 1933, followed by Ryazan in 1935 and Kursk in 1937.
According to the third five-year plan, the first electric trains to Riga were due to enter service in 1943, but the Great Patriotic War intervened and the first trains ran only in spring 1945.
Over time, Rizhskaya Station fell into disrepair. Due to congestion, Riga Square also need to be reconstructed. On 10 January 1995, the Moscow City Government adopted a resolution "On the Complex Development of the Area at Riga Station with the Decision for a Traffic Interchange."
The main problem facing the city was the decision on the transport interchange at the intersection of Prospect Mira with the Riga Overpass and Sushchevskaya Val. Among the possible options - a tunnel or an overpass - experts preferred the overpass due to the complex hydrological situation in the vicinity. The construction of the flyover required the partial demolition of the freight yard at Riga station, the left luggage area and a number of other buildings.
Modern spans with many traffic lanes in both directions and a system of underground pedestrian crossings which linked the station, the underground station and the city's streets, now form the current station square, which houses a refurbished and brighter station. After the reconstruction, the station's appearance did not change - no extensions or additional floors were built. Moreover, the old ornate stucco ceilings and delicate chandeliers were restored in accordance with the old drawings.
Today, Rizhskaya Station covers around 5,000 square metres of usable area and contains modern ticket offices, light information displays in the halls and on the platforms, bright and spacious waiting rooms which can accommodate 1,300 people, a mother and child room, a comfortable hotel and much more. The through capacity of the railway station has tripled.
Rizhskaya Station serves passengers travelling to and from the north-west. Direct electric trains from Riga station connect Moscow with Krasnogorsky, Dedovsky, Istra and Volokolamsk.