Savyolovsky Station, Moscow
In 2002, Moscow's "newest" station celebrated its 100th anniversary. Savyolovsky is Moscow's only railway station whose name is derived not from a town, but a village.
The construction of the Savyolovskaya line was initiated by Savva Mamontov, the famous industrialist and philanthropist who was also Chairman of the Board at the Moscow-Yaroslavskaya Railway Company. Largely due to his energy, the concession for the construction of the line, which had originally been awarded to another private company, the Second Sidings Company, was transferred to "the Yaroslavskaya".
After received Imperial Permission, the Moscow-Yaroslavl-Arkhangelsk Railway began surveying the route in 1897 and then started laying the new line from Moscow to the village of Savyolovo, which stood on the bank of the Volga opposite Kimry. The new branch line was not very long, just 130 km, but promising. The trading village of Kimry was famous at that time for its master cobblers and the ancient town of Kashin was nearby. In the future, it was planned to extend the line to Kalyazin, Yglich and Rybinsk.
For the construction of the Savyolovsky line, a special department was created "under the management of the Chief Engineer K. A. Savitsky." The line was envisaged as single-track with a capacity of two pairs of passenger trains and five freight trains per day and an average speed of 20 versts per hour. A verst is a Russian unit of distance equal to 1.067 kilometres 0.6629 miles.
The line was built from both ends - from Moscow and Savyolovo. Only rails made by domestic factories in Putilovsky, South Dneprovsky and Bryansk were used. Construction began with the laying of a branch line from the 10th verst on the Moscow-Yaroslavl railway, from the marshalling yards at Losinoostrovskaya station to Beskudnikovo station, from where, in fact, the Savyolovskaya line was to begin.
A site for the station was chosen at Butyrskaya Zastava on the outskirts, where the price of land was low. The Savyolovskaya branch line was extended from the Beskudnikovo station to the Kamer-Kollezhsky Val.
After numerous delays, the Moscow City Duma gave its permission for the line, and sand, stone and other construction materials were brought to Butyrskaya Zastava. The building was scheduled to be completed by winter 1899.
However, work was halted suddenly, as the Vindavo-Rybinsk Railway Company proposed to the Management Board of the Moscow-Yaroslavl-Arkhangelsk line to buy the section of the Savyolovsky line from Beskudnikovo station to Savyolovo. The station's prospective new owners were going to build the passenger station elsewhere.
Meanwhile, by the beginning of 1900, the main work on the Savyolovsky branch line had been completed and temporary services had begun. Trains to Savyolovo departed from Yaroslavsky station, which greatly inconvenienced passengers, who, after reaching the "milestone" at the 10th verst on the Yaroslavl line, were forced to change to carriages owned by the Savyolovskaya line.
In summer 1900, the Moscow-Yaroslavl-Arkhangelsk line was transferred to public ownership, so the sale of the Moscow section of the Savyolovsky line to the Vindavo-Rybinsk Railway Company never took place.
In September 1900, construction work on the station resumed under the direction of the engineer A. S. Sumarokov, and there is speculation that he also developed the project. The station building was quite modest, and did not have even a front entrance. It consisted mostly of just one storey, and only in the centre did it boast two storeys to accommodate the service apartments. Separately from the passenger station, a so-called military barracks was built, which far exceeds the size of the station building. It was suggested that it house a temporary passenger station. In any event, the freight yard and its tracks were some distance away.
Construction work was completed by spring 1902. On Sunday, 10 March (Old Style), the station, which had received the name Butyrsky, was blessed and the first train departed. "In the morning, the new station building and the whole station yard," wrote the daily newspaper the Moscow Listok, "were decorated with flags and green garlands which covered the main entrance. At about 12 o'clock in the afternoon, a service train arrived from Yaroslavl station carrying commanders and the invited representatives from other railway lines. The ceremony began in the 3rd-class hall with a litany before shrines brought from the local church. After the litany and the sprinkling of holy water on the building, everyone was invited to the 1st-class hall, where champagne was served."
Regular services began. Initially, two pairs of trains ran per day, with a passenger train departing at 10:35 am and a mail train at 7:30 pm.
The railway line and station transformed the life of this quiet corner of Moscow, from Novoslobodskaya Street to Marina Roshcha from the one direction, and to Butyrsky Khytor and Petrovsko-Razymovsky, where formerly mostly horse-cab drivers, artisans and farmers used to live, from the other.
The industrialist Gustav Liszt built a new factory near the station, and counted on the labour force from the suburbs to man the plant. In anticipation of an influx of visitors, Moscow homeowners built about 30 new homes in the neighbourhood, and land prices rose sharply.
The station was built behind the city zastava or gates, that is, outside Moscow. However, in view of the prospects which would open up for the region, in mid-1899 the Moscow City Duma issued documents for a new delineation of the city and county, and from 1900, parts of the suburban land were incorporated into Moscow. As a result, residents of the Butyrka suburban settlement became Muscovites thanks to the railway line and the train station.
For many years Butyrskaya Station, which was later renamed Savyolovskaya, successfully fulfilled its function, but with the growth of traffic, especially in the suburban areas, it began to lag behind the times and fell into disrepair. In the 1980s, it was decided it was in need of major repairs and restoration and plans were drawn up by the Institute of Moszheldorproekt under the direction of Y. V. Shamrai. The work took several years, but train services continued and the ticket offices worked from temporary premises.
On 1 September 1992, 90 years after its original construction, the updated and rejuvenated station reopened its doors. It was now a two-storey structure, but the building still retains the original architectural appearance. Today, Savyolovskaya Station is a modern passenger terminal, offering travellers a wide range of railway services.