RR between St. Petersburg and Zelenogorsk

Discussion of historical data and questions related to Zelenogorsk/Terijoki and surrounding territory

Модератор: Vladimir S. Kotlyar

Phil Penningroth

RR between St. Petersburg and Zelenogorsk

Сообщение Phil Penningroth »

Hello, Again:

First, I want to thank you again for the help you've given me thus far. Thanks to your website, I also heard from Leena Pullinen who sent me a summary translation of a chapter about the several border crossings between Russia and Finland in 1918-19 as well as some wonderful historical photos. I hope to hear more from her. And, of course, from you.

As I mentioned before, I'm researching a book about my grandfather. I'm also going to try to sell the book before hand, hopefully to raise funds to help defray the cost of next year's trip to Finland and Russia. As part of that process I'm writing a book proposal. This must include two sample chapters, preferably the first two. One I have well in hand, about my grandfather's childhood in Iowa in 1890. The other is coming along, thanks to you and to Leena. At this point I want to open the book with a dramatic chapter that describes my grandfather's arrival at Beeloostrova with his POWs and the problems he immediately encountered from both the Bolsheviks and the Finns. As part of this, I would like to contrast what the trip from the Finland Station to Beeloostrova/Terioki looked like in April 1919 and today, from St. Petersburg to Zelenogorst.
In the old days I gather that there was one (two?) tracks from St. Petersburg to Terioki (before they closed the border) and that the train passed through forests with various stops along the way for passengers going to and coming from the dacha "rivera" in Karelian Finland. Is that correct? Besides the train stations, pictures of which I have seen on your site, and some of the more elaborate dachas, what else would a passenger see from each side of the train? Forest? Fields? Water? Frozen lakes, since that would have been in April. What would people have been wearing? What would the soldiers and border guards have been wearing? What kind of weapons would they have been carrying? What kind of engine and railway car would my grandfather's party have traveled in, given that it was a "special" single carriage train assigned by the Commissar of Foreign Relations? Was the station at Beeloostrova to one side or between the tracks, as seems to be implied from a drawing on your site? Any and all detail you can offer will be gratefully appreciated.

In this chapter I also want to contrast the past with the present. Of course, next year I will be there and able to see for myself, but until then, so that I can prepare a preliminary draft of this chapter for my book proposal, I wonder if you could also give me information, or direct me to sites where I might find details about what that same railway trip looks like now? From what I have read, what you have told me and the maps I've been able to decipher, it appears that Zelenogorst is now what we in the States call a "bedroom community" for St. Petersburg; that is, a suburb that is indistingusihable from the larger city. Is this correct? If so, can you give me a word picture or, better yet, direct me to some photographs that will show me what a passenger sees now from the train? Where it stops? How long it takes. What the guards and people look like and how they dress. What the train looks like, inside and out. Again, once I have seen this for myself I'll no doubt rewrite this chapter, but for now, I'd appreciate your help.

If this is too much of a burden, please don't hesitate to tell me that my request is beyond the call of duty even for dedicated historians such as yourselves. As I've said before, I deeply appreciate the work you have done on this site and the help you have already given me and don't want to become a pest. While I look forward to your assistance next Spring, perhaps there is something that I could do for you now in return for your help?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes,

Phil Penningroth

Alexandr Bravo

RE: RR between St. Petersburg and Zelenogorsk

Сообщение Alexandr Bravo »

Hello, Phil.
You have a lot of questions, not sure that I'm ready to answer to all of them. May be it will take some time to prepare information to you. But we'll try to do it. I'll also discuss your questions on this weekend with my friends in local Zelenogorsk's museum, they can have something usefull for you too.

Some short answers which I have right now :

1. As far as I know there was originaly one track from St.Petersburg to Terijoki. At least from Beloostrov train went through the forests. Passengers could see only forests (mostly with pine-trees), stations and may be some dachas. Lakes are not seen directly from the railway. Nowdays there is a highway going along the railroad almost from Beloostrov to Zelenogorsk (on the left hand if you go to Zelenogorsk by train). But this is a new road built in 70th.

2. I think that Beloostrov station was between the tracks like now. But not between the tracks going to Terijoki/Zelenogorsk. Beloostrov is a cross-station. One track (now - two) goes to Zelenogorsk and another track goes to Sestroretsk which stands between the Gulf and Razliv lake. The modern station is in between of these tracks, I think the original station was in the same place.

3. We have some articles about Finland railway on our site. Unfortunately all of them are in Russian, but there are some pictures there and you can try babelfish translation. Look here for this articles:
http://terijoki.spb.ru/history/tpl.php? ... &lang=en#2

4. In fact we are preparing an article for our site devoted to the Finland railway now. But it's a very slow process... I have some historical pictures of original wooden railway stations of its russian part - Udelnaya (third station from St.Petersburg) and Levashovo (7th), and also pictures of the most of "russian" part stations which were built in the every beginning of 1900th instead of wooden ones. Your grandfather could see them.
If you need I can send them to you along with some modern photos I have, please let me know.

5. Now it takes one hour to get from Finland railway station in St.Petersburg to Zelenogorsk by suburb train. I understand what is "bedroom community" but I think this is wrong definition for Zelenogorsk. May be better to call it "recreation area". Not so many people lives here (officially - about 14 thousands), but a lot of people goes here on weekends, especially in summer, but in winter too (skiing). Finnish Gulf, lakes and forests around the town are the beautifull places for the rest.

That's probably all for the moment, but we'll try to find more details for you. Thanks for your suggestions about something to return, may be the best will be if you will be able to share with us some historical materials and pictures which you found during your research.

Best wishes,
Alexandr Bravo.