Railroader’s Day 2020: history and traditions of the festival
Railroader’s Day, celebrated every year on the first Sunday of August, is celebrated this year on August 2, a particularly important day for all Transmashholding employees.
This professional holiday, originally linked to the birthday of Tsar Nicholas Iᵉʳ (6 July), is a tradition established in Russia in 1896. It is, therefore, one of the oldest professional festivities in the country. For a very long time, the railway sector was one of the most successful: towards the end of the 19th century, Russia was the world leader in the development of new railway lines. The railway connected not only Moscow and St. Petersburg but also the cities of Central Asia and the Urals, the Caucasus and the Far East. And the record length of the Trans-Siberian Railway of almost 10,000 kilometres was exceeded only in 2014.
The history of the festival
The railway offered the unique opportunity to transport passengers and goods over long distances. Drivers, controllers, line keepers, stationmasters have become like a “special caste”, a working community. No wonder that the then Minister of Railways, Prince Mikhail Khilkov, had the idea of establishing a professional railway workers’ festival.
The festival was initially linked to the events of October 30, 1837: on that day the Russian train for the first time connected the cities of St. Petersburg and Tsarskoye Selo (now Pushkin). But Russian autumns are too cold for open-air festivities. So it was decided to link this festival to the birthday of Tsar Nicholas Iᵉʳ to whom the country owes its first railways.
Later, in the times of the Soviet Union, the Bolsheviks cancelled this celebration. However, the tradition had already taken root and was revived on July 30, 1935, at the request of the workers, but under a new name – the Pan-Soviet Stalinian Railway Workers’ Day. A few years later the name of Stalin was withdrawn and the festival became for a long time the Pan-Soviet Railway Workers’ Day. In July 1940 it was fixed on the first Sunday in August. In the 1980s, it became Railwayman’s Day again.
Of course, the festivities vary according to the times. Since 2016 the Railroaders’ Day has been taking place in the form of sports festivals organized all over the country. For example, in Moscow on the territory of the Olympic Complex “Luzhniki” RJD with the charitable foundation for the rescue of seriously ill children, “Liniya Zhizni” (Lifeline) organizes a race for its employees, employees of partner companies (including TMH) and their family members; the collected funds are transferred to the foundation. This year, RJD has cancelled all mass events on Railroader’s Day due to the situation with COVID-19 and are offering to run the race online. As explained by RJD representatives: “Each participant will be able to run individually by downloading a special application on their mobile phone. They will be able to do this not only on August 2, but throughout the month of August.