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The highlight of the Finnish Railway Museum collections is the special train built for the Russian Emperor. The train was built for the Emperor's and Grand Duke's of Finland trips to Finland, an autonomic part of Russia at the time. The train consists of three wagons, Emperor's car, Empress's car and the lounge car. The three wagons are the only remaining Russian Imperial train cars in the world.
The decision to acquire imperial wagons was made in 1869, at the time of building of the railway line Riihimäki - St. Petersburg. The Emperor, Alexander the II, had already imperial wagons in other parts of the country and it was considered necessary to have such rolling stock for Finland also. The railway line connecting Finland to St. Petersburg was opened in 1870, but it was not until 1913 when the railway networks of the two countries were finally connected when the bridge over Neva-river was finished.
Originally the Imperial train consisted of six wagons. However, train's dining car, kitchen unit car and the heating car did not survive to our days. The oldest cat of the train is the Emperor's car which was built in Germany in 1870. The interior of the car was decorated with luxury materials. The walls and the furniture of the reception area of the car were covered with dark green leather, the ceiling is decorated with silk. Wooden decorations are made of American walnut tree and the carpeting is of wool plush.
The Empresses' car and the lounge car were built in 1870's in the Finnish Railway's repair shop in Helsinki. The decoration of the Empresses' car is blue silk and the lounge car and it's furniture are decorated with red silk. The outside of all the three cars was painted dark blue and decorated with golded imperial emblems. The cars were later modified and improved in many parts like in the heating system, illumination and the toilets.
The Imperial cars survived mainly for two reasons. They were built by the Finnish Railways and kept from 1914 in Kaipiainen train shed instead of earlier storage site in St. Petersburg. If the train had been left in town, it would have most certainly been destroyed during the Russian revolution in 1917 like happened to all other imperial trains in Russia.
© Finnish Railway Museum. 13 January, 2012