Baranovichi is one of the few Belarusian towns which owe its origin to railway.
In 1871 the territory of Baranovichi land was crossed by the rail tracks of Moscow-Brest railway. On the district Smolensk-Brest there appeared a 3rd class railway station named Baranovichi. A telegram to Viksberg – the head of Moscow-Brest railway – gives evidence that on November 28, 1871 “Baranovichi” railway station accepted and sent out the first mixed train bound for Brest.
In 1884 Moscow-Brest railway was crossed by the rail tracks of Vilna-Rovno railway at a distance of around 2,5 kilometers eastwards from the active station. At one of its districts another station was opened with the same name – Baranovichi. A spur track which connected both of the stations was built at the same time. In 1886 Polesye railway administration was created. And Vilna-Rovno railway became part of it. The new station was named Baranovichi of Polesye railways. In the same year another line of Polesye railways was opened – Baranovichi-Belostok.
Both of Baranovichi stations have played a huge role in the history of our town. They became unique centers around which the development of two independent settlements was taking place. One of them appeared on the land of Baranovichi estate. The rail tracks of Moscow-Brest railway were approaching it from north and south. The owner of the estate was Duchess Rozvadovskaya. Employees, railroad men, tradesmen and craftsmen built their houses on the land of Baranovichi estate (which was occupied at a very high price from the Rozvadovkis). In 1884 this settlement got an administrative status of a small town and a name – Rozvadovo. Another settlement (New Baranovichi) appeared in the same year near the station Baranovichi-Poleskiye, on peasants’ lands of villages Svetilovichi, Girovo, Uznogi. It became the second center around which the future town was developing.
At the end of the 19th c. the small town Rozvadovo and Novyje Baranovichi merged and thus formed a single settlement called Baranovichi-Rozvadovo (later – Baranovichi) of Novogrudok district, Minsk province. As it appeared at a junction of railways which united the central provinces of Russia and her western borders, and Ukraine – with the Baltic ports, by the end of the 19th century Baranovichi had become a big railway hub on the western outskirts of the Russian empire.
The beneficial location of the settlement created favourable conditions for its rapid development. So, it soon turned into one of the biggest trade and industrial centers in the region. Thus, before World War I Baranovichi was a big borough which outran the province center – Novogrudok – in population, number of industrial enterprises and scope of business volume. According to the data of 1913,30,000 people lived in Baranovichi (not including the soldiers of the Russian (Baranovichi) railway brigade). Although it was not a town, still Baranovichi outnumbered most of the towns of Minsk province in citizen and took the fourth place after Minsk, Bobruisk and Pinsk. As time passed, thanks to railway and its profitable location, Baranovichi has taken the eighth place in Belarus (according to its area). About 170,000 people live here. It is one of Belarusian leading industrial centers.