The Anykščiai Railway Station Construction of the Narrow Gauge Railway Network In the 1860s the government of Tsarist Russia, which at the time included the region now known as Lithuania, began to show an interest in narrow gauge railways, and in 1870 dispatched a delegation to England to study its narrow gauge railway system.    The first phase of construction of the Lithuanian narrow gauge railway network was implemented as part of an overall plan with the building of a 71 km (44 mile) 750 mm gauge line, completed on November 11, 1895. This line ran from Svencioneliai some 70 km northeast from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius to Pastoviai (Pastavy), now in modern day Belarus. During this initial development period the Russians built both 750mm and 600mm gauge railways.   Two years later construction began on a 144 km-long (90 mile) line between  Svencioneliai and the northern Lithuanian city of Panevezys. The principal purpose of this line was to link two independent international broad gauge railroads together. Two stations, one at Utena, the other in Troskunai, were built along it, together with 39 stone culverts. The line boasted a total of 99 wooden bridges, the longest an impressive 100 m (109 yards) which spanned the river Sventoji close to the northern town of Anykščiai. Service began on September 28, 1899. The line was formally inaugurated on May 13, 1901. At the start of the 20th century plans were made to construct a line between Troskunai and Ukmerge, but this segment was never realized.   A total of eight water tanks were built along the line, seven capable of providing up to 4,398 gallons at Utena, Troskunai, Panevezys, Saldutiskis, Trumbatiskis, Anykščiai and Raguvele respectively, and one more at Svencioneliai, with a capacity of 10,555 gallons. The maximum speed that was safely attainable on the line was 25 vph (versts per hour, one verst being equivalent to 1.067km, or 0.633 miles). The cost of building 1 km of railway equaled 17,100 roubles. The total cost of the two lines was a staggering 4.3 million roubles. Anykščiai Station, Water Tower, and Bridge The Anykščiai railway station was built in 1901. The building's design was similar to the architectural style common to other czarist-era railway stations. Its facades are authentic to the era with its roof, windows and doors decorated with carvings. Today, the Anykščiai railway station is a museum and is little changed from a century ago. The largest room of the station is on the ground floor and was used as a passenger waiting lounge and booking office with a ticket window. Employee space occupied either side of the waiting room and consisted of the station manager's office, a booking office, freight office, the watchman's room, communications room and a storeroom. A three-room flat was on the second floor. The station had its own water fountain with the water pumped directly from the Sventoji River.   The old water tower that used to service the steam locomotives still survives. Water from the Sventoji River was pumped into its 4,400 gallon storage tank. Locomotives bound for Panevezys were filled from the water tower and those headed for Švenčionys were serviced from the water pump that was located between two passing tracks. The nearby riveted steel bridge was constructed in 1936 to replace the old wooden one. In its current configuration, it is 96 m long, 4.5 m wide and 12 m high. (Source: The Union of Supporters of the Lithuanian Narrow Gauge Railway,) Think about it: for many of our ancestors who left Aniksht and surrounding shtetlach for a better life in the Goldene Medina (the Golden Land), their long and arduous journeys began right here at this very train station.  What thoughts raced through their minds as the locomotive began chuffing, blew its whistle and slowly pulled away leaving their loved ones behind on the station platform? What makes this train station so special?  It was here, at this very place, that the exchange of warm hands and wet tears was slowly transformed over time from a heart- breaking, gut-wrenching experience to a long-faded family memory. History