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Subjects in FocusRailways in Modern Macedonia

Railways in Modern Macedonia

The ambitious Baron Hirsch
The railway line Thessaloniki-Skopje-Mitrovitsa
The Thessaloniki-Monastir railway line
The Thessaloniki-Constantinople railway line
Changes of the railway network
The railway personnel
Locomotives and rolling stock
Forgotten railway stations
The trains in the war
The Thessaloniki of trams and trains

Images on this page

Residence of the director of 'Eastern Railways'
The residence of the director of 'Eastern Railways' on the road to the old station now houses the offices of the Greek Railways Organization, 1909-1994, Thessaloniki.

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Forgotten railway stations

Residence of the director of 'Eastern Railways'
1909-1994, Thessaloniki

To some travellers the stations of Macedonia under the Ottoman Empire were "filthy shacks", where the only refreshment available was a cup of ground barley drink, a poor imitation of coffee, accompanied by a dirty glass of water. Conversely, others found the stations of Baron Hirsch's Anatolian Railways to be models of order and cleanliness.

Although remarks about their quality were divided, complaints about the inaccessible locations of the stations were voiced by all the travellers, Europeans and locals alike. It was common knowledge that, in order to reduce construction costs, the stations had been built so far from the places they were meant to serve, that in some cases the economic benefits expected from them failed to materialize.

What the railways did not manage, however, houses and shops did, quickly growing up around the isolated station buildings. Sometimes they developed into self-sufficient settlements, transit trade centres. As a rule, however, the stations were eventually united with the towns and villages they served, despite the distances.

Thus, the memory of the initial problems faded, but the needs of the railways predetermined the location of the industrial zone, workers' neighbourhoods and inns of ill repute. The Vardaris district in Thessaloniki is perhaps the best known example of a railway neighbourhood. Nothing was able to alter its character, not even the completion of the new station in 1967, 30 years after the foundation stone was laid.

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.