The birth year of the Republic of Estonia, the year 1918, brought the islanders, among other things, the fulfillment of one of the old days' dreams, which in the coming decades once more, once more, kept anxiety in people's minds. Namely, all this year, under the auspices of the German occupation forces, a large-scale railway construction was under way. Below, I will stop for Saaremaa, for the rare, but now forgotten mode of transport, on Saaremaa.


In connection with the railway triumph in Estonia began in the 19th century. During this decade, discussions on this issue were also held in Saaremaa. At the same time, the railway line connecting the regional and the city to the port of Roomassaare was in the conversation. The usefulness of the railway was justified primarily by economic goals but also by national defense.

Urban railway

The need for rail between the city and the port rose to the agenda shortly after the port was launched in 1894. In order to connect with the main carriers, it often happened that long-haul freight and "slow-moving" were forced to walk to the city. During the coming season, they also deeply complained that they were paying one ruble in the boat trip from Riga to Roomassaar; however, the traffic jockeys took two rubles from the harbor to the city. Both the horse and the narrow-gauge railway were taken into consideration.

On the horse trail began in 1898 more specific negotiations with Siemens & Halske, a limited liability company in Riga, and subsequently continued with the German company Orenstein & Koppel, which, in 1900, In the summer, the railway plan and budget were also prepared. The establishment of a horse-pavement trail ran from midday to the towns until 1907, when it was finally abandoned as an overly costly undertaking.

The route between the city and Roomassaare harbor began in 1909. Oskar Wildenberg, owner of Wildenberg Leather Factory. Because his company depended heavily on imported raw materials, the factory was willing to build its own facilities. The road was supposed to start on the shore of the harbor, run along the tramway along the Veski, Pargi, Allee and Vana-Roomassaare streets and finish at the factory courtyard. Unfortunately, it was a plan for paper.

1917 Urgent city commissioner Bernhard Behm, who represented Kargopol's infantry manger, Ivan Skovichi, was jaundiced by the city government in January. The latter wanted the city government to conclude a contract for the construction of a railway leading to the port, which was to be completed no later than 31 December 1919. After a long discussion and a lobbying of the Livonian governor, the township had come to Rakovich's plan, but this did not materialize either.

Major railway plans

Since 1895, the newspaper Arensburger Wochenblatt began to publish articles emphasizing the necessity of the Saaremaa railway. As today, the construction of an ice-free deep harbor to the Gulf of Kihelkonna, which saw both the pre-Romanian and the naval ports of St. Petersburg and northern Russia, rose. Already in Catherine II, I was interested in the Kihelkonna iceberg as the location of the future naval ship.

Haapsalu-Lihula-Virtsu-Kuressaare-Kihelkonna railway was needed to transport goods from the port, as Haapsalu received railway connection to Tallinn in 1905 from Keila. Of course, the hardest problem would have been the transmission of the train across the Great Strait, but at that time, it did not go back to the idea of ​​a fixed link, the long railway bridge.

The issue of the inner rail was most seriously on the agenda in 1912, when the Kuressaare City Government was negotiating a narrow-track route between Kuressaare-Kuivastu and engineer I. Bernatovichi in the railway design and construction office in St. Petersburg. Bernatovich suggested that three branches be moved from Kuressaare hub to the various regions of the island, seeing the main use of the railway, especially in the transport of forest materials. According to his calculations, the construction of the 125-versatile road would cost 1190000 rubles, most of which was expected to be obtained from banks.

On June 18, the city government set up a five-member Railway Commission (Mayor von Nolcken, mine engineer von Harten, tax inspector Heinrichsen, Commissioner Sander, Trader and merchant Bergmann). A representative of Bernatovich, V. Svjatopolk-Mirski, came to see the situation. Although on September 2 Bernatovich had already turned to the "highest" request for a railway building permit, the project was not implemented.

However, the islanders still witnessed the construction of the railway in the Czarid. The Coast Guard batteries were built in 1917. 750 mm narrow-gauge railway on Muhu island from Kuivastu port on Võikülla and Sõrve peninsula from Mõntu port to Sääre. The first served two 50 hp, the second one 90 hp, the company "Orenstein and Koppel" steam locomotive.

At the same time Kuressaare also undertook intense preparations for the construction of a military-owned railway. On May 23, 1917, the commandant of the Muhu Väina Insured District approached the municipality of Kokin to demarcate the area to build a railway from the port of Roomassaare to the military fortifications at the Wildenberg factory. There were two options: either build a road through the city or run it along the coastal factory. With the hard heart, the municipality agreed with the last option, because it was feared that the railway would be a holiday for survival. The excavation started at Roomassaare pastor was interrupted by the German occupation.


The Germans began construction of railroads already in 1917 in Saaremaa. in autumn. According to these plans, the cross-country railway line with a 600 mm track had to branch from Kuressaare hub to the Ringassaard, Kuivastus, Sõrve peninsula Mõntus, Kihelkonna and Soela. On the spot, the railways under the 8th Military Railway Board in Siauliai, which was located in Kingissepa's Pargi Town Hall, was in charge of the construction work. 5

From Roomassaar to Kuressaare

Already in the end of October, the route between Roomassaare Harbor and the city was started. The road started from the shore of the harbor and near the nearby town. One branch led to the main station. the depot located in the area adjacent to the current Pihtla road, Talve and Jaama Street; the other, however, turned parallel to the park next to Old-Roomassaare Street, in turn to two. The long road crossed the ruins of the Wildenberg Leather Factory over Pargi Street, along shorter rooms of Roomassaare mudroom along the city park's tennis court, next to the military moon government wagon at Kuurhoon.

The ready-made section was immediately put into use. Alongside this, all the rolling stock was transported from the port to the port: 12 steam and 2 motor driven vehicles, 2 sanitary, 22 forestry vehicles, 125 semi-trailers and platforms, 4 wagons fitted with ovens, and some tank wagons.

As manufacturers, Henschel & Sohn, Oberurzel, Orenstein & Koppel and Arnold Jung plants were represented. The line was also open to passengers. According to the current procedure, each ship with a luggage on the railroad fleet had to flew a moon government wagon, where documents and luggage were checked. Thus, the Kuurhoone filled the customs of the customs and border posts as well.

Railway construction extends across Saaremaa

In 1918, the Germans began to realize the plan for the entire island network. First of all, a 21.5-kilometer long Kuressaare-Putla-Haeska road, which started from the depot, was completed. In this section there were six intermediate stations: Luuguse, Upa, Laadjala, Uduvere, Putla and Haeska, the average distance between stations was only 3.6 km.

The question arises why the originally planned road to Soelan remained unexpectedly in Haeska's tavern. The reason was probably that in 1918 In February-March, the Germans occupied the whole of Estonia and there was a urgent need for the main road of Kuressaare-Kuivastu. 1918 In May, the construction of a road leading to Kuivastu was released. The railway tower reached Orissaari, with the exception of a few meters between Pöide and Rõõsa Manor. The rails could be put down to the manor of Rõõsa, i.e. about 22 km. There were five on the road there: Putla, Võrsna, Valjala, Kalli and the so-called Waldbahnhof (located between Kalli village and Laimjala manor). On the go, the line did not go far beyond the paths of the trees.

Railroad construction was heavy on the shoulders of the people. All adults were employed, including women. The rebels were allowed to send Haeska to the Russian prison camp. Men dug the ditch to get stuff for teetammi. The horse carriers carried slip blocks, building materials for slugs, posts for a telephone line to be built along the track and rails from Roomassaare harbor. Russian prisoners of war were also used for road construction.

All built-in lines traveled. Since May 18, 1918, the military railways authorized the use of railroads by civilians. The prices for one kilometer were 8 pennies in the 2nd grade in grades 12 and 3, and the freight taxis had to be agreed separately with the local railway company.

1918 Jüri Pärna, a ringleader who came home from prison in the autumn, describes the ride on Saaremaa railway as follows: "I arrived at Haeska railway station at nine, there were already seven people waiting. A small chipboard, only one man spans in. A four-dimensional hole like the square of the old-fashioned window. The wagons are loose, like the big boxes of goods that the wheels are laid on. The driver is like a horse with a coachman.And one man crashes, we are now sitting on a slipper.Road starts, we sit and drive, a small locomotive bumps and bolts.Over his six-seven small bogies and then they would be tightened, so that the empty armored iron was spun on the gravel, and at three in the afternoon we were in Roomassaare. " The collapse of the occupation regime caused by the German Revolution of November ended with the construction of the railways. The existing road was handed over by the Germans to the city of Kuressaare, and the city retained the right to preempt for rolling stock.



Fighting the road to build a building

Following the departure of the Germans, the issue of road rebuilding of the road immediately rose. The matter was discussed on several occasions both in the county council and in the city council, gatherings were convened, prayer letters were submitted to the government, an active exchange of views was held in the columns of newspapers. During the breakthrough of their railways, the assistance was sought from Prime Minister H. Piibult, who was in the ceremony in the Kuressaare School School Board, and other well-known personalities related to Saaremaa.

In the end, it turned out that on December 7, 1920, the Kuressaare Road Engineering Engineer V. Nemirovich-Danshenko arrived at Kuressaare- Kuivastu narrow-track railway project and budget, and the tracking of the route in Muhus. The work progressed well: in the course of 1 week, the route was marked, and the completion of the project is evidenced by its remaining copy in the Saaremaa Museum.

As a result of the lobbying of ambassadors Aleksander Jõeääre and Alexander Hindi, on June 15, 1921, Saaremaa Railway Construction Act was adopted by the Riigikogu, and the government allocated 23.5 million marks to the construction work. Now a new round of negotiations with the local authorities on the issue of the existence of the existing road and its future maintenance followed. As the city did not renounce the railways and the municipalities refused to pay maintenance costs, the government was directed in 1922. At first Saaremaa railway construction money elsewhere. The decision of Kuressaare City Council began in 1922. The demolition of the road in the country in November and the sale of the material, the majority of which was acquired by the JSC "Estonian Marble". Only the so-called "Kuressaare" and "Roomassaare" ports were left. urban railway.

Kuressaare City Railway e. the so-called Susla

For a long time, the roadway between the port and the city was being maintained, along with the mud transport going to the Great Lakes. Firstly, a number of reorganizations were carried out on the railway: unnecessary rails were taken from the depot, the port and the park, and the axles were replaced with rail clips for the whole line. The railway station was temporarily moved to the Mierzejevsky mud bathhouse until 1924. Allee Street completed a new wax building, the so-called. parkshaft

The regular staff of the city railways consisted of a clerk, two bulk drivers, a ticket check and a guardian of the depot. In the case of tighter shipment and major repairs, temporary workers were hired, while at the same time it was only a salary from the machine.

Traffic between the city and the port took place without a specific schedule, as needed. Usually Jahla Caves, who lived in the vault of the depot, asked the machine from the Kuivastu harbor to get over the ship, and then it was time to heat the locomotive boiler. The depot was driven into the park dock and from there to the harbor with passengers. From the port people first and foremost were taken to the city, later freight continued.

In 1931, a one-way ticket cost 30 cents, students, soldiers, members of the Defense League and tourists were able to pay half-price. There was a fixed tariff for the carriage of goods for every 100 kilograms or one wagon load, which was 15 cents and 6 kroons in the same year. 50 cents. Since the cars of Suslale began to compete intensively in the 1930s, preferences were introduced for larger shipments.

The story of the urban railway when the liquidation of the non-economic mode of transport began in the mid-1930s, but its closure was not completed until 1940. in October. During the World War II, the road broke down, only one was in operation, the depot was demolished. After the war, the tea was used to use the Soviet construction units, which in its possession it would soon be completely destroyed and disbanded.


The new magnificent railway plan came in 1951. The Soviet Army was the first to introduce the most important military objects, especially the creation of a wide-ranging rail network connecting military airports and coastal defense batteries. In the autumn, Army No. 61206 (Railway Builders Division), which was placed at the village of Kihelkonna in the village of Viki and in Kuressaare. The town was built to accommodate soldiers in military squadrons in the Pihtla road and Talve streets and in the Quarter in the vicinity of the streets of Sweden, Rohu, Torni and K. Ojassoo. A warehouse was set up from the current dairy industry, from which the lines were based on the port of Roomassaare and the Vika hub. In turn, the villages of Viik received the routes to the Lümanda Karala and Sõrve Peninsula - one from Mõntu to Tammuña, one from the Rahuste - Karg Region, Jaagarahu Harbor and the Tagamõisa Peninsula, and from Pidula, Küdema, Võhma to Pank and from Metsküla to Pammana. 1952 the transport of railway material was already completed, while the coordination of the project with the Executive Committee of the District took place. In total, 2583 hectares of land went to rail and gravel harbors, which was not quick to compensate for collective farms and private individuals. Since 1953, work has been slowed down, as the development of rocket technology has led to changes in the USSR's defense concept. 1955 On the second half, the construction work was completed, with the completion of the construction of approximately 500 km of the embankment, half of which was equipped with rails. The following year Saaremaa Railways was provided with the Estonian Railways balance sheet, but it was soon found that it would be more appropriate to eliminate it for economic reasons. The bulky railroad dismantling began and the export of materials and rolling stock through Roomassaare harbor. The body of the earth was handed over to the Saaremaa Road Authority, which later founded almost 60 kilometers of roads. There were 42 different buildings left to the Ministry of Education, the District Executive Committee, the Fish Combinat, and the Road Administration, the communication lines to the Ministry of Communications and the power plant with lines to the Ministry of the Commune. Several houses in the city and the military square in the village of Viki took over other parts of the army.


Although the racers on their railways were only slightly enjoyed by the islanders, this mode of transport still left its tracks to Saaremaa. There are also gravel-carvings, formerly railway ditches that are recognizable on the surface, and some building-yards stand. Maybe they could be protected as a cultural heritage?

Construction and builders of the 1950s have influenced people most directly and have therefore survived in the memory of the people today. Still, they are perceived by people with a stranger appearance in the south, because railway builders, in most of Central Asia, who were hunted on the spot, sometimes acted violently. Committed to thefts, abductions and rapes. Communicating with the railroad community somewhat influenced the time of the time, with the particular result of the birth of small islanders of a different appearance.

The rapid dismantling of latitudes has even given rise to anecdotal matter. One high-level military engineer was summoned to Moscow's superiors. Moscow, you know the big city, a lot of temptations. He walked in to the restaurant and made strong slings. The next morning, went to the head of a shattering head and trembling heart to the superiors. It says that he needs to build a railway, but where he did not remember. Just remember that to the island starting with the "s". Then the man looked at the map of the Soviet Union in the hotel room and kept his eyes on Saaremaa. Of course, the railway was ordered to build there! Then the corresponding orders and road construction went off. A year was built, a couple were built until a terrible mistake came to light - not to Saaremaa, but rail was needed for Sahhalin.

The most vivid picture is the Kuressaare Urban Railway, which is still in the memory of the then-volunteers and Kuressaare. "susla" Although quite a critical state dweller, Jaan Tõnisson, described this death sentence, urban driving became a major success story. It was attractive to the "susla" for photographers who took it over and over again.

Saaremaa has become an attractive tourist attraction again, Kuressaare is a well-known center for its health centers and sights. A serious talk is about the ice-free deep port and the permanent connection. Although it is known from the history that at one time both of them immediately created the railway plan that passes through the island, today it is only possible to dream of it at high altitudes. It would be more realistic to take a train journey between the city and the port as a tourist attraction. Such lorries and wagons with rubber tires can be seen on the road in several European ski resorts. All the more so, the place around it all turns out to be there.

This year, Allee Street opened its doors to the historic park quarry, which, unfortunately, was once the widespread name of the "Green Brook" drink, although it was named by the owner of the park, on May 26, 1945, under the name of the "Pargivaksal". Also on the nameplate could be the Kuressaare Suslat portrait, but not the usual large steam locomotive. We hope that the potential of the park taxis will be used as a tourist attraction.

Saaremaa Museum