Pavlovsk Musical Station 1862 by E. Samokish-Gulkovskaya. Image Source Tickets of Russia

Vokzal (or Voksal) is the Russian name for railway station and is named after Vauxhall in London. Why we are not exactly sure, broadly there are three different explainations:

  1. In the 1830s the Russian Tsar was being shown one of London�s first Railway stations and was taken to the Nine Elms Station of the London to Southampton Railway at Vauxhall. According to reports he was very impressed, but due to a misunderstanding he took Vauxhall to be the generic name for station. He pronounced it Voksal and none of his entourage dared correct him! Voksal was later changed to Vokzal as an aide to better Russian pronunciation.
  2. This is similar to the explanation above but it was Russian Civil Engineers rather than the Tsar who visited the station at Vauxhall.
  3. Pavlovsk is about 26Km from St Petersburg and was the official summer residence of the Tsar�s family who started building a palace here in 1777. Soon the area acquired many fine buildings and a number of parks. Grand Duke Mickhail Pavlovich inherited Pavlovsk in 1828 and gave his permission for the construction of a railway line that ran right into the main park. So the first Russian passenger railway was built from St Petersburg via Tsarskoe Selo to Pavlovsk. The Pavlovsk railway station was opened in 1837. In order to attract St Petersburg society, concerts accompanied by dinner parties were held in an elegant semicircular building which was constructed next to the station in 1838 to a design by architect Andrey Shtackenschneyder. This building housed billiard parlours, conservatoirs, a restaurant and a concert/exhibition hall capable of holding 2000 people. Shtackenschneyder was a fan of the London Vauxhall Gardens and called his building "Vauxhall a l�anglaise". The station and the concert hall soon became synonymous as Voksal or Vokzal. Johann Strauss II and many other famous musicians played at the "Pavlovsk Music Station" which rapidly became well known through out Europe for its Summer Concert Season. The building was destroyed during World War 2 and the railway is long gone. Today the park is on UNESCO�s World Heritage list and there are plans to build a new concert hall on the site.

The use of the word Vokzal is broadening out to mean station eg.Morskoy vokzal (a sea port terminal), rechnoy vokzal (a river boat station) and aerovokzal (an airport).