Lviv railway station

Lviv railway station is the first railway station on the territory of modern Ukraine!

In 1858, the Imperial Royal Privileged Society of the Galician Railways named after Karl Ludwig received a concession for the construction of a railway station in Lviv. Construction was made on a swampy mountain on an area of 67 morgues. The station was 70 fathoms long and 10 fathoms wide. It housed waiting rooms for passengers of all classes, a restaurant, a cafe, offices of technical services and police, a luggage office and a post office.

railway station
Lviv railway station. Picture – Johnny

The station building had two pavilions for offices and premises for employees, a wagon depot with fourteen wagons, barracks for inspectors and railway workers, repair shops, and warehouses. The station staff consisted of 38 people: the chief, 26 employees, 10 inspectors and a doctor.

The opening of the station was on November 4, 1861, simultaneously with the opening of traffic on the Karl Ludwig Galician Railway on the Przemysl – Lviv section. At 14:30, the first train arrive. It consisted of the steam locomotive «Yaroslav», two passenger wagons and four platforms. The train moved at speed of up to 30 km/h. On November 24, 1861, the railway administration received permission for the regular movement of trains from Lviv to Vienna and Krakow.

This was the first regular communication, which meant the inclusion of these territories in the European railway network, which opened up wide opportunities for the implementation of industrial, cultural and military projects in Galicia. In 1866, a train operation was opened to Chernivtsi, in 1869 – to Brody and the border with the Russian Empire, in 1881 – to Ternopil and Podvolochisk. In 1892 the railway became the state property.

It accelerated the investments inflow and the construction of new lines. Also, it raised a question of the construction of a new railway station in Lviv, because the existing one could not cope with the growing passenger traffic. The project of the new station building was designed by the Polish architect, professor Vladislav Sadlovsky. Construction began in 1902 on the site of the old station.

The construction work was carried out by the firm of Ivan Levinsky, Alfred Zakharevich and Jozef Sosnovsky. Eminent engineers and sculptors worked on the project. The pediment of the building was decorated with sculptures by A. Popel and P. Voytovych: a woman symbolizes the road and trade, the man on a lion – industry and the city of Lviv.

railway station
Lviv railway station. Picture – Haidamac

The walls of the station were decorated with exquisite stucco and stained-glass windows. The main design element of the main lobby was the stained glass window «Archangel Michael» with a panoramic view of Lviv in the background. The station was then one of the best in Europe and not only because of the architectural design; everything here has been thought out for the convenience of passengers. They entered a large central vestibule, which also served as an operating room. On the left were five ticket offices for I and II class, on the right – five ticket offices for III class. In the side parts of the station there were waiting rooms for passengers of various classes.

During the construction of the station, the best achievements of the beginning of the twentieth century were used: electric lighting and ventilation, central heating, the first electric elevators in Ukraine and a matrix clock. One of the engineering wonders was the openwork overlap of the aprons, which glowed at night. Visitors had to pay to enter the station.

A Polish guidebook of those times wrote: “If you want to see a miracle, go to Lviv and look at the railway station.” Lviv railway station, created in the Art Nouveau style, was recognized by contemporaries as one of the most beautiful railway stations in Europe.

The platform of the Lviv railway station is still considered one of the most successful engineering structures of that time. It is also striking that such a beautiful building was built in an incredibly fast time frame for that period – in just two years. The grand opening of the new modern station in Lviv was on March 26, 1904.

On June 20, 1915, the station was set on fire by the retreating troops of the Russian Empire. The building was also significantly damaged as a result of the Polish-Ukrainian war of 1918-1919. As a result, the initial interiors and the central portal of the station were destroyed.

After the transfer of Lviv to Poland, they began the station restoration works under the supervision of architect Henryk Zaremba. In 1923, several compositions by Pyotr Voitovich were installed on the facade and inside the building.

The complete reconstruction of the Lviv railway station was completed only in 1930.

The station was badly damaged during the Second World War, it was damaged from the first day of the war – September 1, 1939. The full post-war reconstruction was completed only in 1957. In 2003, by the centenary of its construction, the station was restored and today pleases Lviv citizens and guests of the city with its beauty.

Railway magazine “Railway Supply”

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