Meeting the requirements to strengthen west border of Russian empire in the end of XIX century it was decided to fortify the towns on the river Neman - Kowno (now Kaunas), Olita (now Alytus), Grodna (now Grodno). The railway to Olita was built for extensive supplying of building materials and fast service.

    Railway neared to Olita from the east in February 1895. The railroad section from Orany (now Varena), which was station of the main railroad line Petersburg - Warsaw, to village Paterantsy (now Poteronys) beside Olita was opened (see map).  Station Potarancy and it's goods yard were built on the right side of the Neman river, southeast of Olita allongside the roads from the settlement to Olkieniki (now Valkininkai) and Grodno. New road brigde was built, improvement of cantonment and railway bridge over the Neman was planned thereabout. The station to be shut after the railway bridge was finished and new station on the left side of river was built near Olita.
   C
onstruction of railway branch 185 versts long from Grodno to Olita trough Avgustov, Suvalki, Shestakov (now Sestokai)  began soon to opposite direction. Finally 1 May 1899 train service started as railway reached the settlement  from the west.
    15 October 1899
railway bridge knit the branches together, and trains were put in motion on the large semiring named Zanemanskiye railway lines (nicknamed Suwalki ring). The ends of the bow Grodna and Orany were adjoined to Petersburg - Warsaw railroad main line (see map).
    During the WWI in August 1915 the stepping back Russian troops exploded railroad bridge span, the section Olita - Orany couldn't be used for some time. The Germans rapidly constructed a new bridge so the branch revived again and functioned till October 1920, when the Polish troops occupied station of Varena. From 1920 to 1923 the branch-line from Alytus to the station Artilleriya, which remained on the Lithuanian side, acted limply (Augustow, Suwalki and Grodno also were occupied).
   However in 1923 the remaining part of Suwalki ring was connected with Lithuanian railway system in Sestokai (branch to Kazlu Ruda through Marijampole). Trains have travelled regularly from Kaunas through Alytus to the railhead Artilleriya 
until 1927. Then railway department decided to shut the unsafe wooden bridge in Alytus and later demount a siding to Varena.
   After World War II the railroute Grodno - Suwalki - Alytus was tored 
between Suwalki and Sestokai by Polish - Soviet state border. After some debates it was decided to interconnect Alytus with soviet railway system rebuilding earlier dismantled by stepping back german forces siding from Alytus through Sestokai instead of restoring Alytus - Varena section (avoiding the demand of building a bridge accross the Neman in Alytus). Railway branch to Alytus revived again 3 August 1959 .
  
Being industrial centre of southern Lithuania Alytus started to grow in late 1960s and passenger diesel-trains arrived Alytus 4 times a day. Workers from outskirts took these trains mostly. Regardless tenuous improvement of railroad line, amount of goods traffic increased. In early 1980s two railway stations appeared in Alytus – an old one in town and at north-west margin of town (closely to industrial area) the new one. The old station was used for passengers and freights; the new was dedicated for passengers only, but soon after unveiling (20.06.1984) passenger diesels were arriving to new station only. The old station was left for freights. Eventually, despite absence of required facility, new station began operate as freights station. Trains were composed on the branches of station, loading and discharging of trains was made directly on sidings of factories.
   Finally, 14 March 1997, at 4 PM the last train departed from the old station. Then unneeded siding through the town was dismantled. Instead of it walking and cycling pathway was built. The old railway station building is disused.
    Allong unused railway excursions  are organised.

 

 

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