Aizpute - Liepaja Railway Station Building

Let's start the walk with the eyes of the guest of Aizpute, who once arrived in the picturesque small town of Lower Kurzeme (Lejaskurzeme) with a train that connected the big Kurzeme city Liepāja with Aizpute from 1899 to 1964, so let's first look at the history of this traffic road.

The idea of connecting Liepāja and Aizpute with the railway in both cities was first discussed in public already in 1890, when a general meeting of house owners was held in Aizpute on November 11, and no one voted against such a proposal. However, no one also agreed to pay increased taxes for this purpose. However, this issue remained on the agenda of Liepāja City Council until its successful resolution 9 years later.

The Liepāja-Aizpute narrow-gauge access railway was the first narrow-gauge railway line in Kurzeme and Latvia to be the only one with a gauge of 1000 mm typical of German narrow-gauge railways, which corresponded to the railway track width of streets of Liepāja, thus allowing freight wagons brought to Liepāja to the city center.

The railway belonged to a private limited company (LC), whose statutes were approved on May 22, 1896, when "the Lord and the Emperor had a condescendence reviewing these statutes and supremely approving them." The founders of the LC were: Baron Karl Manteuffel, the head of the german landlors of Grobiņa District of Courland Province, who had inherited the Kazdanga Manor a year earlier, the head the german landlors of the Aizpute District, Baron Leon Buchholtz, Mayor of Liepāja Hermann Adolphi and Mayor of Aizpute town Wilhelm Groth.

The Liepāja-Aizpute railway line project was developed by Liepāja engineer Eugen Baer, but all works, starting with the project development and its implementation, were coordinated with the government engineer W. Sawitsky from Tsarskoye Selo. The building of Aizpute Station was designed by St. Petersburg architect W. Herzenstein.

The main reason why the private project enjoyed the Tsar's favor was the rapidly growing population of Liepaja, as a result of which the city felt an acute shortage of food, which had made it one of the most expensive cities in the empire. In autumn and spring, when the country roads became practically impassable, the situation became even worse. Of course, this also made the supply of the army and fleet stationed in Liepaja more expensive.

Considering that until the agrarian reform in 1920 Aizpute Station of the newly opened railway line was located not in the town but in the territory of Aizpute Castle Manor about 1.3 km beyond the then western border of the town, the Town Council together with the owner of Castle Manor had to take care of a quality dirt road from the station to the town. Aizpute Town Council was forced to allocate 714.83 Rubles instead of 320 previously planned for street maintenance and repair works in 1898. Street lighting also had to be improved with the purchase of 10 new lighting lamps.

The arrival of the first test train at Aizpute station was described in a letter to Latvian writer Fricis Brīvzemnieks on October 12, 1899 by his half-sister teacher Wilhelmine Treuland living in Aizpute:

„This morning, something new happened in Aizpute: while being in the Town Hall suddenly there was noise outside. The gentlemen get up from their seats, approach the windows and see a large row of carriages in which the gentlemen of Liepaja are sitting, and deeply agitated tell each other the good news that the first train from Liepaja has arrived.”

The railway line for public was opened exactly one week later - on October 19, but the grand opening of the railway took place on October 31 at the Liepāja Railway Passenger Station, which ended with a no less magnificent dinner in the Big Hall of Liepāja Hotel Petersburg. The toast of the Railway Director Mr Zink for His Imperial Majesty was greeted with big passion and joy. The orchestra played the national anthem, and the Lieutenant Colonel Lazarev of Liepāja Fortress wished good luck to the new railway.

By 31 October, 3971 passengers had been carried, but by 1 April 1900, 41 740 passengers (2745 in Class 2, 38 995 in Class 3) and 674 391 poods of cargo (pood is a unit of mass equal to 40 funt/ 16 kg, it was used in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine).

Until January 18, 1938 (without exception, also during the First World War), this railway line was operated by a private joint-stock company of the Liepāja-Aizpute Access Road. In the first half of the 1920s, one of the members of the Liepāja-Aizpute Railway Board was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics.

On August 1, 1938, it was taken over by the state – Republic of Latvia and handed over to the disposal and ownership of the Latvian Railway Board. In 1939, the Liepāja-Aizpute railway was converted to a width of 750 mm and connected to the Liepāja freight station, but the current station building on the Liepāja canal bank was demolished.

Aizpute - Liepāja railway station and a train locomotive with a freight wagon around 1900
Aizpute - Liepāja railway station and a train locomotive
with a freight wagon around 1900.
The station restaurant and bistro can be seen
between the track and the station building.
Aizpute station in 2014
Aizpute station in 2014

Today, the station building is privately owned.
Aizpute - Liepāja railway station around 1900
Aizpute - Liepāja railway station around 1900
Aizpute station in 2014
Aizpute station in 2014

On the left side behind the station building, you can see a passenger carriage, with accompanying persons in front of it. In front of the station there are carts waiting for accompanying persons to take them home. Light carriages can also be seen there. On certain days and times there was a stage-coach or diligence traffic on the route Aizpute Station - Kuldiga and return. In 1902, the right to transport passengers from Aizpute Station to Kuldiga was granted to 3 cabmen, who were not allowed to carry passengers from the station to Aizpute.

Back in 1925, there were 1 single-horse and 2 double-horse carriages for passenger transport between the railway station and the town, which also maintained passenger traffic with Kuldiga.

There were also Post - Telegraph Office salaried mail carriers, who with their horses carried mail bags to the station and back.

In July 1931, Liepāja - Aizpute Railway JSC opened a bus service between the station and the town with the stop "Pie Feldmaņa" (At Feldmann’s) at 14 Atmodas Street.

Aizpute station of Aizpute narrow gauge access railway in 1930
Aizpute station of Aizpute narrow
gauge access railway in 1930
Aizpute station in 2014
Aizpute station in 2014
Passenger goods train at Aizpute station in the 20-30s of the 20th century
Passenger goods train at Aizpute station
in the 20-30s of the 20th century

The freight cars are the first behind the locomotive. Also trains with a mail wagon were there behind the locomotive, four Class 3, two Class 2 coaches behind it, several freight wagons behind them.




Valsts Kultūrkapitāla fonds


Skolas iela 1, Aizpute, Aizputes novads, LV-3456
Phone Phone: 29623284
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From 01.10. - 30.04. on working days from 09:00 - 17:00,
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