The train station at Peterhof was the jumping off place for tourists visiting in 1900. This picture shows an amazingly clean and orderly station - it almost looks like a corner of "Main Street" at Disney World.

The first public railway in Russia was opened from Tsarskoe Selo to Pavlovsk on October 30, 1837. The tracks had been laid in 1836, but the trains from England had not arrived yet and the railway cars were first pulled by horses.

Above: Tsar Nicholas's first train ride in 1837.

In 1837 Tsar Nicholas rode on the train for the first time. His carriage was driven onto a platform attached to the train. The Emperor then climbed into his carriage and rode from Tsarskoe Selo to Pavlovsk. The trip proved to be agreat success and henceforth the Tsar rode in a first class compartment. Nicholas I immediately orderd the construction of a line from Petersburg to Tsarskoe Selo and with the Imperial blessing the work proceded fast.

In 1851 the future of train travel in Russia was greatly advanced by the building of the Petersburg/Moscow track in 1851. At first the trains weren't heavily patronized and it remained a service catering to the aristocracy, bureaucrats and the rich for many years. The cost of train travel was initially expensive and it went to few cities. The luxury of Russian trains of the time is legendary. The service was impeccable, the food delicious and the trains were clean and extremely comfortable.

The peculiar location of Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland and the initial focus of the rail network on the capital city, distorted the growth of railroads. The disasterous failure of Russia to supply its troops in the Crimean War convinced the Imperial government of the need to quickly develop railroads throughout the country. Lacking the funds to finance the construction itself the government opened the building of railroads to private companies in 1857. This lead to the rapid growth of the rail network in European Russia in the 1860's.

Next photograph: Peterhof Palace - The Fountains

For a small map of the St. Petersburg area click here.

To see a large map of the center of St. Petersburg go here.

Comments on the website should be sent to Bob Atchison.

Alexander Palace Time Machine Pallasart Austin Web Design