Yaroslavsky Station, Moscow
From the end of the seventeenth century, the New Field Artillery Yard, with a factory, a warehouse for guns and shells, and numerous wooden buildings, occupied the site of today's Yaroslavl Station.
Artillery Yard was located on the land of coachmen from the Pereyaslavskaya Yamskaya Sloboda or settlement and occupied about 20 hectares. The road to the village of Krasnoe and further east ran past Artillery Yard. In 1812, the New Field Artillery Yard was burned down after the shells in storage there exploded.
The railway from Moscow to the north of the country was built during the years of vigorous transport construction in Russia that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century. The idea of laying a steel mainline to Yaroslavl was largely developed by the professor of mathematics at Moscow State University, Fyodor Chizhov, who later became one of the leading theorists of Russia's industrial and commercial development.
The "first Russian" private railway - in other words, it was built without involving any foreign capital - ran from Moscow to Sergiev Posad.
The line's construction attracted a group of Moscow merchants who sought profitable investments for their capital. An active role in the railway was played by the wealthy and energetic merchant Ivan Mamontov, the father of Savva Mamontov, who in the future was to become a well-known patron of arts.
In favour of the line's feasibility, contemporary newspapers noted that many people travel to the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the famous monastery at Sergiev Posad, two or three times a year, that the number of pilgrims would increase, and that near the line "gardens and farmyards were multiplying, because supplying garden vegetables and butter will cost a trifle compared with horse-drawn deliveries".
A site for the station was determined immediately and finally in accordance with the regulations for government buildings, in order of ranking, on one line with the building of Nikolayevskaya Station. The St. Petersburg architect Roman Kuzmin was invited to construct "the building of Yaroslavl Railways" on the recommendation of F. V. Chizhov.
In 1862, a small station was built for the Yaroslavsky railway line between Krasny Pryd and Nikolayevskaya Station (now Leningrad). Until 1870, trains only went to Sergiev Posad. The new station cost 220,000 roubles. The station's design envisaged a rather small building, given the magnitude of the railway line itself. However, it did have one peculiarity: the left part of the building was assigned to the line's management. The white two-storey building was distinguished by its rigorous and elegant lines and the divisional rhythm of its windows, which were framed by finely shaped string cornices and emphasised its intended business uses. The building was crowned by a flagpole from which the standard of the Department of Communications fluttered in the wind.
The station stood virtually unchanged until 1900, when the passenger building was extended by the construction of a new annexe and a superstructure put up on part of the second floor to increase both the passenger space and the facilities for the line's management.
The extensions, however, were clearly insufficient. Due to increasing train services and the extension of the Moscow-Yaroslavl railway line to Arkhangelsk and the connections with the Shuya-Ivanovskaya, Yaroslavl-Kostroma, Yaroslavl-Rybinsk and Alexandrovskaya-Ivanovskaya lines, the construction of a new station became particularly urgent.
The new design for Yaroslavsky station in Moscow was delegated to F. O. Shekhtel. The expressiveness and well-thought out functionality of his design made a good impression, so it was no surprise that the project was approved quite quickly by the authorities at all levels, including Tsar Nicholas II himself. But because of the continual autumn rains and " the lateness of the hour," the capital restructuring was postponed until spring 1902.
New building materials were used, such as reinforced concrete, metal structures and faced tiles, enabling Shekhtel to create a unique building at a much lower cost than the traditional plaster method would have required. The work cost a total of 300,000 roubles, and construction proceeded at a significantly fast pace than normal.
In 1906-1907, the station was replaced by a building in the neo-Russian style. It was three times larger than the previous station. Using the characteristic principle of old Russian architecture, which united in one whole diverse building forms and sizes, the architect highlighted the volume of the main passenger hall, which is connected with the lobby and entrance hall and provides a direct passage to the platforms.
The exterior vestibule design uses the flowing accented forms of a giant entrance arch with a canopy in the shape of a keel above it, which frames its semicircular pylons with stylised fortress towers, and a high "tower roof" with woodcarving and crowning ridge that lend the building a unique and bizarre appearance.
The high left tower is completed by a pavilion echoing the vertical silhouette of the vestibule. The upper part of the walls are decorated with ceramic decorative panels with stylised floral ornaments in muted tones corresponding to the facade's general pale colour scheme, which evokes associations with the Russian North. The platform was built in the 1910s according to a design by L. N. Kekushev. During the reconstruction in 1965-1966, a building with a solid glass wall was put up at the side of the platform.
In 1995, the second reconstruction was finished. Its purpose was to expand the space for passengers and improve services in line with the increasing passenger traffic. By redesigning the interior area which became available, the station could now serve double the number of passengers. The ticket hall was put on the first floor, and the area measuring 1,500 square metres which was now free was converted into a waiting room. The gallery and columned hall were also renovated, the ceiling re-decorated and automatic fire extinguishers and an electronic information system were installed.
Yaroslavsky Station is the capital's largest station. Every day, some 300 pairs of trains depart, as well as a considerable number of suburban passenger trains.