RAILWAY

The railway was an important factor to Lahti’s development. The year 2019 is the anniversary year of the St Petersburg railway: the railway between Helsinki and St Petersburg via Riihimäki, Lahti, Kouvola and Vyborg which was opened 150 years ago. The Lahti – Riihimäki section of the track was completed a year earlier in 1869 (during the summer it was estimated that there were about 12,000 men). At the same time, an approximately two-kilometer railway line to Vesijärvi was opened. An 82-kilometer narrow-gauge railway line was completed in 1900 from Vesijärvi’s Niemi harbor to Loviisa’s Valko seaport, which was used mainly for the export of timber. Thanks to the railway, the area started to grow, and the railway was also the impetus for Lahti’s industrialization. The sawmill and wood processing industry were born, and a separate narrow-gauge railway track was built in Loviisa for use in timber traffic. The opening of the Vesijärvi Canal, now Vääksy, contributed to industrial development. Rail traffic was lively from the beginning, and in the abundance of freight traffic (timber, agricultural and livestock products, consumables, etc.), made Vesijärvi Finland’s second most important station until 1895. The local train from Lahti to Vesijärvi also carried passengers daily to the harbors and in the evening from the harbor back to Lahti station for further connections. The rail traffic represented an huge step forward in Lahti’s development and contributed to the acquisition of Lahti city rights, due to this the harbor and railway are emphasized by the flaming train wheel depicted in the coat of arms of Lahti. Nowadays, Vesijärvi train station building in the harbor is a popular cozy café named Café Kariranta.