Number of employees
Tallinn and Saint Petersburg were connected by railway in 1870. At the same time, the railway’s main factory was built near the junction. It had 500 workers and its function was to service the railway’s infrastructure and undercarriage. It was one of Tallinn’s biggest industrial company at that time. The most important orders executed at the factory at that time were a train made for the Russian tsar and a special sanitary train for the war between Russia and Japan.
During the years of the First Republic of Estonia, the railway and locomotive repair plants on Estonian territory were nationalized. In 1920–1940, the company was called Tallinn Railway Workshops.
Before World War II, the factory mainly dealt in fixing and building locomotives and wagons.
After the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union, the plant was named after the Russian revolutionary and Soviet statesman Mikhail Kalinin, who worked as a turner at the plant in 1902-1903. The plant received the name Tallinn railway plant named after Kalinin in 1940.
The years of the Second World War were difficult for the plant. Some of the equipment and workers were sent to Russia.The plant in Tallinn worked during the German occupation. Leaving Tallinn in 1944, the Germans took away the equipment. But those who left for Russia returned, brought back factory machines, including the one on which Kalinin worked. The plant had to be restored.
The delegation of workers visited Kalinin in Moscow.in 1946, and the plant was named after Kalinin again.
The Kalinin locomotive-wagon factory in Tallinn became a mercury-arc valve factory in 1958.
The plant was headed by Viktor Garnyk, the former deputy of Lazar Kaganovich, who led the Soviet railways under Stalin. This experienced manager quickly made the plant one of the most advanced in the USSR. The plant was visited by the President of Finland Kekkonen and the Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi.
The world chess champion Botvinnik and cosmonaut Bykovsky also visited the factory.
Throughout the decades, semiconductor devices for the first Soviet moon walker and components for power plants, railways, the defence industry and airports were also made in the factory.
Creative people worked at the factory even in those years.The plant had its own club, radio broadcasts about the life of the plant were produced, the factory newspaper was published. The factory choir, brass band, rock band were here. Also, the employees were actively engaged in sports, there were their own volleyball and football teams.
The factory was privatised after the country became independent again and moved away from the centre of the city.