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Pļaviņas - Valka railway line

Location: N57° 11` 0.86", E26° 45` 55.4"

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Pļaviņas-Valka railway line marks out the whole history of the 20th century Latvia transportation. Vidzeme spur track society started to build 210km long Pļaviņas-Valka narrow gauge railroad in 1898 simultaneously from both destination points, and in 1902 a temporary train movement up to Alūksne was opened, but the whole line was given into exploitation after a year. The railway line was cut shorter after some time – initially section Pļaviņas-Gulbene was rebuilt as a broad-gauge railway in 1916, but since 1973 the train is running only in section Gulbene-Alūksne. After the official division there is only one station (Gulbene) and 9 stop points in Gulbene-Alūksne narrow gauge railroad line. Historical station buildings are located in main stations – Kalniena, Stāmeriena, Paparde, Umernieki and Alūksne. Birze station was created between Gulbene and Stāmeriena station during the WW II, but in 1970-1980 Pūriņi, Dunduri and Vējiņi stations were made, putting small waiting sheds for the passengers.

Most significant buildings during the whole line are Vecgulbene narrow gauge railroad station and Gulbene railroad station. Vecgulbene narrow gauge railroad station (Viestura street 10) was build at the beginning of the 20th century, together with railroad line construction. Stone walls built by Vidzeme spur track society architectonically are made in a unified style – red brick construction with decorative brick lines and long isle finishing. There are passenger waiting room, service premises, cash and also apartment of the station superior made after a unified plan in all the stations. The building as a station was used until 1930, when the new Gulbene broad gauge railroad station started to serve the passengers. Later the building was adapted to apartment necessities.

Architectonically impressive Gulbene station building was built in 1939 after a project made by the familiar architect, professor Pēteris Feders (1868-1936), when the narrow gauge railroad was added to the broad gauge railroad for passenger accommodations. Gublene station building together with other railroad buildings badly suffered in 1944 during the soviet aviation air strike. Almost completely destroyed passenger building was actually rebuilt anew by German prisoners of war. The job was done in good quality, actually renewing the building architecture and technical solutions. The building is still considered to be one of the aesthetic railroad infrastructure objects in Latvia.