Getting to the Minsk railway station:
The Minsk railway station is in the city center, 200m from the central bus station, from which you can get to National Airport Minsk.
The metro station Ploshchad Lenina [Lenin Square] is about 150m from the railway station. You will easily recognize metro stations when you see letter "M" near the entrance.
Please note that if you pay in cash, you need to have Belarusian rubles. In general, all cash transactions in Belarus are conducted in Belarusian rubles. You can get them in a number of exchange offices near the railway station, the national airport and other public places. They are also recognizable by rate boards or symbols of the most popular foreign currencies in Belarus - the dollar ($), the euro (€) and the Russian ruble (RUB).
Another option is to pay via your credit card, including an international one.
If you experience problems, please dial the single European emergency number 112. Specialists will do their best to help you. They have undergone special language training so there should be not problems communicating with them.
About Minsk railway station
The Minsk railway station is a passenger terminal of the station Minsk Passazhirsky. On 30 December 2011, a new building of the railway station was opened. It had a capacity of over 7,000 passengers.
A concourse and a network of underground passages link the station with the platforms, Privokzalnaya Square, the Central Bus Terminal and the metro station Plošča Lienina [Lenin Square].
More: Transport in Minsk
Privokzalnaya Square (literally: the square near the station).
Photo: Diana Kachanovskaya
Announcers have to be very attentive 24/7. Unlike television announcers, they combine the role of directors, operators and coordinators. They have everything needed to make precise announcements: monitors, phones and a remote control for multiple cameras pointed at boards and platforms. They also control the situation with the help of an observation point at the window.
Voice and appearance is good but the main thing is not to miss the train! They should know all numbers and routes by heart despite the fact that there are over a hundred of them!
The employees of the maintenance center have "long arms" that reach both the roof and the basement. It is they who control all engineering systems of the building. Two people replace hundreds of experts. You just need to press a button on the remote control and the problem is resolved. Wires permeate the entire station.
Marina Sukhotskaya, traffic controller of the Engineering maintenance center:
This is a lighting system (internal and external), ventilation, air intake and exhaust systems, sewer outlets, automatic doors, air curtains and the heating of floors, halls and roofs.
It is quite noisy in the control room: you can hear the sound of wheels outside and suddenly the fire alarm is set off. Each time before it is turned off the staff makes sure that the alarm was false. It can go off because of a coffeemaker or hot microwave in the cafe.
Yuri Minin, engineering center manager:
Our fire safety system is very sensitive: it responds even to a smoked cigarette.
Controllers see a complete picture on their monitors. They know what is happening at the entrance gate to the underground level of the station. Trucks get there to unload goods. At night, however, this transport tunnel is protected by an iron barrier.
Everything that passengers do not need to see is hidden under the station. Here you can watch goods being unloaded. About 50 trucks and a number of waste containers stand nearby. They are filled during the day and then unloaded very quickly.
A 100-meter tunnel leads us to the underground level of the station. Even technicians rarely go here, let alone ordinary people. You can see a true underworld behind the doors.
The automatic fire extinguishing station is the core of this safety system. If fire breaks out fire sprinklers turn on and water is pumped automatically through pipes in the right direction.
Yuri Minin, engineering center manager:
A kind of water curtain is created in the room and everything is covered with small drops of rain. Everything turns on automatically and then we join in.
In fact it is another railway station situated underground. Cellular communication is unavailable here.
There are a lot of technology systems in the basement. You not only see them but also hear: heating, water supply (both hot and cold), electrical cables and air injection system for subsequent conditioning and heating. We are 10 meters under the railway station. And this is not the limit.
A number of cables supply the station with electricity. Their conductivity is thousands of volts.
Ventilation, extraction and cooling systems are on the roof. This is not a place for entertainment but an additional point where technological systems are checked.
It is always easy to breathe inside the station building thanks to the air ventilation system.
The main technological systems are situated on the upper level of the station building. Moreover, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the entire city from here.
Transparent ceiling (or floor) is designed to provide fire protection. If the floor was solid, smoke sensors would not work properly.
Viktor Kramarenko, author of the new railway station design in Minsk:
The shape itself is very conservative and kind of awkward. It needed renovation. We turned it into the integral part of the station.
At the opening ceremony of the building Viktor Kramarenko demonstrated to the President the strength of the interior decor by scratching it with a key.
Mikhail Vinogradov, author of the new railway station in Minsk, says he is grateful to Belarusian Railways for trust in the architects.
After the old station was demolished, Moscow architects were instructed to design the new building. They did not consider Minsk more important than some provincial town, which was evident from the designs they suggested.
The top officials of the country analyzed this project in detail and decided to hold a new tender.
At first, Kramarenko and Vinogradov worked on their project separately and had an individual task. They had only about two weeks to present their project.
However, colleagues (or rivals), insisted on a tender. They all decided to make friends together against the two winners.
We had eventually managed to win in the third round after which we were entrusted with the design.
The design created 17 years ago is still considered modern. Underground parking lots, fence roofs over all platforms and station tracks as well as a hotel and a bus station were created.
When the architects designed the station, they were guided by philosophy: the station is a place where people meet and part. This is a place where trains come from distant countries and depart again. For ordinary people it is life but for architects it is geometry. Hence, we can see dynamic lines that create the impression of motion.
The station faces north and the sun is never here. So we added mirror glass which reflects the buildings illuminated by the sun.
Cutting edge technologies and materials were used during the construction of the station: granite, aluminum, metal and polished glass. First double glazing in Belarus was also used here. Engineers had to buy special glass in the USA and import rare type of granite from Portugal.
Mikhail Vinogradov, author of the design of the new railway station in Minsk:
We installed a lot of panoramic windows on purpose so that the square is part of the station.
The Minsk railway station has one important advantage: it is difficult to get lost here. The architects created a relaxation zone under the pyramid on the gold block in the center of the station.
Passengers often suffer from a headache after a long road. We noticed that positive energy accumulates under the pyramid. If you stand there for 5-10 minutes, your headache can be cured.
Unfortunately, even the magic pyramid will not cure the syndrome of vandalism. However, architects took this into account, too. They selected the materials that one cannot damage. Much time has passed since the opening of the station but the walls look as if they were built yesterday.
Customers spent much money on materials. After all, the interior is worth it.
The Minsk railway station is part of the route from Paris to Moscow. Passengers who will arrive in Minsk by train will undoubtedly enjoy the gateway to the capital of the 2014 IIHF World Championship.