Railway Praga

Listing the most important events in the history of Praga, it is impossible to omit the construction of two great buildings in the nineteenth century – the St.  Petersburg and the Terespol Railway Stations. 

The railway was a milestone in the development of Praga.  It attracted not only jobseekers, but also people willing to invest money in purchasing land.  It happened, however, that the construction of the railway ruined the plans of certain landowners.  This became painfully apparent to Marcelli Zyznowski vel Żyznowski, the owner of a part of New Praga and today’s Targówek Mieszkaniowy, whose lands cut in twain by the Vistula Railway, in a place where there were arable fields.  In address lists from the beginning of the 20th century, many of the inhabitants of tenements near the railway stations are shown to be railway workers.  During this period, demands to establish communication between New Praga and Szmulowizna also appeared in the press, on the line of Konopacka and Ząbkowska Street, next to liquor plants.  The two Praga districts, cut in twain by the St.  Petersburg-Warsaw railway, could not properly develop over a large length of space (2 versts.) The problem of the separation of Nowa Praga and Szmulowizna continues to this day.

The St. Petersburg Railway Station was built in the years 1860-1861 in a Neo-Renaissance style, according to the design of Narcyz Zborzewski.  Initially, it was a passenger and goods station, while after 1867, when it was expanded, the main building was made to only cater to passengers.  It was located on the even side of Wileńska Street and also occupied a section of the present Aleja Solidarności right up to the junction with Radzyminska Street.  The station had a central square and two lawns, of which the western one was very extensive and resembled a landscape park.  The green spaces created at the St. Petersburg Railway Station have been thoroughly investigated by Jarosław Zieliński.  In 1915 the station building was burned down by Russian troops retreating from Praga.  Until 2010, a railway station was still visible in the landscape of Praga North, which, in the minds of the inhabitants, operated as a locomotive shed.  Unfortunately, despite the protests of defenders of cultural heritage and the actions of the Masovian Provincial Conservator of Monuments and the Warsaw Conservator of Monuments, this valuable building was demolished.  Currently, one of the local cheap clothing shops stands in its place, the shape of the building resembling the demolished one.

The Terespol Railway Station was built in the years 1866-1867 according to the design of Alfons Kropiwnicki, who, apart from the main reception building, also designed other buildings, the oldest ones there.  The neo-renaissance train station served both passengers and goods.   It did not change its purpose with the expansions of 1890 and 1896.  The Terespol Railway Station and the railway facilities were, for a long time, almost the only buildings in the area, apart from small brick and wooden buildings.  Currently, on the site of the station that was burnt down in 1944, there is the Warsaw East Railway Station, designed by Arseniusz Romanowicz and Piotr Szymaniak.  At 14a Kijowska Street, a fragment of the Terespolski Railway Station has been preserved, where a scrap metal buying facility has been operating for many years.  This, the only relic of the nineteenth-century Warsaw railway stations, was entered onto the list of historical buildings in February 2020 by the Masovian Provincial Conservator of Monuments, though PKP appealed against this decision.

If one is interested in railways, it is worth going to Targowa Street, where, at number 74, is the site of the PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A., built in 1928-1931 according to a design by Marian Lalewicz.  The façade of the building is decorated with interesting architectural details.  At the rear of the Rail Management Office, at Aleja Solidarności 44, there is a manor-style house built according to the design of Wacław Szuszkiewicz at the request of the Warsaw Railway Directorate in the years 1920-1921.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp


ul. Targowa 74