The Pidzamche Railway Station

ID: 23


The railway station Pidzamche appeared in 1869, when the Lviv-Brody railway was constructed along the northern slopes of the Vysokyi Zamok Hill. It was no mere chance that the station was built there. The purchase of land for the railway construction caused a significant increase in land prices along the railway. So, to save money, the station building was built in the northern part of the former Paparivskyi cemetery, which was closed in 1856. In addition, the railway and the station swallowed up Studenna street, which once climbed the Vysokyi Zamok. By the 1870s, only the beginning that was left of it, but it preserved its old name Studenna; in 1946 it was renamed Krynychna street. Subsequently, the segment was attached to Ohirkova street.

The station complex and the railway blocked the access to the Vysokyi Zamok from Bohdana Khmelnytskoho street almost completely. However, after the construction of the railway, an old underground passage leading to the Vysokyi Zamok was preserved under it. The entrance to the tunnel was discovered during repair works at the corner of Bohdana Khmelnytskoho and Haydamatska streets in 1900 (Jaworski, 74).

The station building was rebuilt several times. After reconstructions in 1890 and 1908 the building still retained its Neo-Renaissance style, but after changes and restructuring in the 1950s and 2000s we can no more clearly imagine its original look.

For local residents, the railway station has always been a valuable material resource. Bronisław Lotocki, a Polish socialist, describes his experience of residing in his childhood near the station during the First World War in his memoirs in the following way:

"The gang was divided into smaller groups. I went out with four other guys. The territory of our activities was the station at Pidzamche. We collected coal or potatoes on the tracks, but not only from the ground. It also happened that two guys climbed on carriages and threw down everything that fell into their hands while the others picked it all up. Sometimes a driver or a fireman dropped us a few chunks of coal, and if it happened that the driver lived nearby, he gave us a few pieces of coal and we had to bring them to his house and then he gave some coal to us, since we honestly earned it. However, it was that good only when locomotives stopped at the station Pidzamche. (...)

In more numerous gangs, we made raids on carts leaving the station. Two of us walked on the two sides of the cart and teased the carter, who whistled around with his whip, while three or four assaulted the cart and threw down whatever happened to be there: coal, cabbage, chunks of rock salt." (Łotocki, T. 1: 1907-1944, 8)

The same practice, when children earned money on the territory of the station, but after the Second World War, is described by the current residents of Pidzamche:

"R: ... behind, from that side, in the fifties, there were "recyclable ferrous metals"...  "recyclable nonferrous metals"... "recyclable materials"?
R2: A "utility refuse."
R: Right, a "utility refuse" or "recyclable waste." It was there that it all was. And the goods station of Pidzamche.
R2: Yes, the freight one.
R: And then all those organizations, they were tiny, it was all like this, I know because I walked on this territory, so I know it. I used to go to Stare Znesennia, there was a straight passage leading there, I know it. Then it all started to settle around, "ferrous metals."
I: In which years did they begin to take it all away?
R: Approximately about 1955.
R: I know that we, the kids, the kids that were there, collected even bones. Large bones of cattle or something, that's what we collected. One could bring those bones to the "recyclable waste." So you found them and collected one penny, and then another one, and so you had some penny in your pocket. And the same way with metal, there were the "recyclable ferrous metals" there. Then, before the area was given to the diamond factory, there was a flea market there."

From the memories, we have information that in the postwar years, the station "Pidzamche" was used as a kind of market without middlemen.

"Then there was not that market here. A market was at the [former] checkpoint. Here. A little market. A good, cheap one. And we approached the train more frequently. When peasants arrived, we used to buy butter, eggs, and meat from them. We approached the peasants near the train."

The station was also a kind of social center for the entire district. Adults' attention was attracted more by cheap beerhouses, located on the square in front of the station, while children admired the fountain:

"Pidzamche, we used to go there to get on the train, there were neither restaurants nor cafes there. There was a beerhouse where one could drink a beer, but they always fought and scuffled there, those who were going to the train. Men used to get a little drunk and to scuffle there. So we could go and see what was going on (laughs), it was interesting for kids."
"This is our area, at Pidzamche, there is a fountain there. It is still there, an old one. Have you seen it there at Pidzamche?
I.: Near...?
R.: I'll show you. At the tram stop, there it is.
I.: Yeah, I know!
R.: Earlier, we used to bathe there... How? It was constantly filled with water. Yes, kids... like in a pool."

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