Armored Train No. 7 Wabadus reached Ida-Viru County on Sunday, where it will await visitors through the end of the year. What will ultimately become of the replica armored train, which has traveled throughout Estonia all year promoting the history of the War of Independence, is yet unclear.
The Wabadus, which was built at the Operail depot in Tapa last year, began 2019 by traveling along the front lines of the 1918-1920 War of Independence from Kehra to Valga, after which it was displayed at various train stations throughout Estonia and, briefly, even Latvia. The train stations of Ida-Viru County in the country's northeast are the final planned stops on the replica train's journey, ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera reported.
Toomas Kiho, head of the Estonia 100 steering committee, explained that armored trains were one of the most important weapons employed in the War of Independence, and that building a replica train was important in marking the 100th anniversary of the war.
"For another thing, it is important to show it to current generations and give them an idea of the conditions in which [troops] fought at the time, and what needs to be done in the first place to defend one's country," Kiho said. "The best part is how many people have gotten to participate in this. Currently, the number of visitors is approaching nearly 100,000, meaning that many people have had the chance to see century-old engineering and a century-old wonder."
Following its first Ida-Viru stop in Kiviõli, visitors will also have the chance to check out the armored train in Jõhvi, Vaivara and Narva.
What is to become of the train after that, however, has yet to be decided.
"This train was actually built just for this one year — so that it could traveling along these railroads — and of course the question remains regarding what will become of it afterward," Kiho explained. "One plan is for it to be acquired by the Estonian War Museum, who curated and manages the exhibit in the train, so it could display it in its permanent collection at Viimsi Manor in Harju County."
Click here to read more about the Wabadus and its journey throughout Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla