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Department of water and railway communication established, Means of Communication Engineers Office with an Institute under it created

2 December 1809

November 20 (December 2), 1809 by decree of Alexander I, it was established the Department of water and railway communications and the Engineers Corps of Means of Communication and the Institute under it created.

In 1798 Emperor Paul I approved the project of Department of Water Communications, which was headed by Nikolai Rumyantsev. Under the guidance of Rumyantsev the Department operated successfully and in 1809 it expanded its powers and was renamed to the Department of water and railway communication.

Under the Department there was established the expedition, divided into 3 categories: water communications, land communications and commercial ports. This office was a single body of state management of all types of transport available at the time: river, sea and land. Its function was to improve water communications (construction of channels) and the laying of roads (highways).

The Department had been repeatedly reorganized and changed its name: in 1833 it was called the General Department of Communications and public buildings, and in 1865 it was reformed into the Ministry of Railways. Ministry consisted of four departments: land communications, water communications, railways, audits and reports. As such, the Ministry of Railways lasted until 1918, when all public institutions of imperial Russia were eliminated.

Based on the same manifesto of 20 November (2 December), 1809 on the basis of the Department of water and land communications there was established the Means of Communication Engineers Office and the Institute under it - one of the first higher technical educational institutions of Russia.

The Office was created in order to build and repair a complex system of railways and waterways in the vast territories of Russia; the object of the Institute was to prepare qualified engineers for the Office. The first rector (inspector) of the institute was an outstanding engineer, mechanic, builder and educator, Lt. Gen. Augustine Avgustinovich Betancourt.

Initially the Institute was a public higher education institution of four-year apprenticeship. While the students had military ranks, formally the institute was regarded as a civil institution of higher education and there were no military disciplines taught. In December 1823 the Institute under the Means of Communication Engineers Office was transformed into a private educational institution similar to military schools of eight-year apprenticeship. The curricula included military disciplines and tactical training. Graduates were awarded the title of a railway engineer, and the rank of lieutenant (the first category) or second lieutenant (the second category). In 1864, in accordance with the new Regulations on the Institute, it was once again declared a civil institution of higher education of the first grade with a five-year apprenticeship and was called the Institute of Railway Engineers.

In 1830-s, due to the construction of the first railroad in Russia (1837), the curriculum of the construction course now included special sections on the construction and operation of railways. By the middle of the 19th century the Institute had become one of the largest universities in Russia. In its walls formed the basis of transport science, developed the system of Russian engineering education.

The following professors taught in the Institute: Ya. A. Sevastianov, M. S. Volkov, I. P. Melnikov, N. O. Kraft, S. V. Kerbedz, N. I. Lipin, D. I. Zhuravskii and many others.

Until 1918 the railway engineers, who graduated from the Institute, were generalists without a particular specialization. In 1918, at the fourth course were created three specialties: water, land and air services, and in 1919 the relevant departments were organized.

In 1930, under the decision of the Government, on the basis of the four faculties of LIIPS (the name of the Means of Communication Engineers Institute from 1924) were established four independent high schools: the Leningrad Institute of Water Transport Engineers (LIIVT, 1930), Leningrad Institute of Engineers of Civil Aviation (LIIGVF, 1930); Leningrad Road Institute (LADI, 1931); Military Transport Academy (BTA, 1932).

Since after such a reorganization LIIPS began to prepare professionals mainly for railway transport, the same year it was renamed into the Leningrad Institute of Railway Engineers (LIIZHT), and in 1993 it obtained a university status and became known as St. Petersburg State University of Railways.

Lit.: Институт Корпуса инженеров путей сообщения. Главное здание — Петербургский государственный университет путей сообщения [Электронный ресурс] // Citywalls.RU. 2007-2019. URL: http://www.citywalls.ru/house2172.html; История университета до 1917 г. [Электронный ресурс] // Петербургский государственный университет путей сообщения. 2019. URL: https://www.pgups.ru/university/the-university-today/history/.

From the Presidential library materials:

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Жаринцов Д. Ф. О сооружении Порта императора Александра III в Либаве: Публичные лекции, читанные в Кронштадтском морском собрании, в зале Морского музея и в Институте инженеров путей сообщения инспектором Морской строительной части Д. Жаринцовым. СПб., 1895;

Житков С. М. Исторический обзор устройства и содержания водных путей и портов в России за столетний период, 1798-1898. СПб., 1900;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за 1867 год. СПб., 1868;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за 1873 год. СПб., 1874;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за 1874 г. СПб., 1875;

Отчет о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за 1877 г. СПб., 1878;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за 1879 г. СПб., 1880;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за 1884 г. СПб., 1885;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за первую половину 1890 г. и за учебный год 1890-1891. СПб., 1891;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I за 1891-1892 учебный год: (с 1-го июня 1891 г. по 1 июня 1892 г.). СПб., 1892;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I с 1-го июня 1893 года по 1-е июня 1894 года. СПб., 1895;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I с 1-го июня 1894 года по 1-е июня 1895 года. СПб., 1896;

Отчёт о состоянии Института инженеров путей сообщения императора Александра I с 1 июля 1902 по 1-е июля 1903 года. СПб., 1904;

Полное собрание законов Российской империи, с 1649 года. СПб., 1830. Т. 30 (1808-1809). № 23996. С. 1305;

Проект представления Штаба Корпуса горных инженеров об учреждении в Пекине Магнитной и метеорологической обсерватории с приложением проекта штатного расписания. 1862;

Communication lines // Territory of Russia: collaction.