Report - - Phoenix in Latvia September 2013 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Phoenix in Latvia September 2013


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Originally named "Phoenix", Rīgas Vagonu Rūpnīca was a machine-building factory. It was founded in 1895 and was mainly focused on manufacturing trains. After the technical reconstruction in 1910 it was possible to increase the speed of manufacturing and in 1913 more than 4 000 wagons and 200 passenger carriages were built. This includes carriages for Tsar of Russia court and first class carriages for Italy.


(Photo from Latvian National Library (1920s) )

In 1936 after a profit-loss the factory was sold to another company called "Vairogs". The manufacturing strategy had changed and after agreement with Ford it became a car factory. With producing more than 1700 cars in 3 years the company had become the biggest car manufacturer in the Baltic countries.


In the WW2 factory buildings were partly destroyed and when the company was restored between 1944 and 1947 it was names Rigas Vagonu Rupnica (Riga's Wagon Factory), which once again changed the specialization to electro-trains and trams. In the next 44 years factory produced more than 20 000 trains and 7 000 trams.


In 1998 the company bankrupted. The factory was left with 2 000 employees who out of habit still came to the empty buildings even after the bankruptcy.

Now most of the territory is taken over by other companies using the buildings as storage space.

The exploration took place in an evening. Just a few minutes walk away from the main street we were in the territory. Quickly walked pass house with some homeless inhabitants we headed towards our first stop - an enormous roof from which we could oversee most of the territory.

After some snack on the roof we headed to the abandoned storage space filled with bunch of unwanted junk, which made quite a contrast with the atmosphere of slow destruction, felt in the building itself.