Just 130 and a half years ago, one of the masterpieces of Russia and humanity was inaugurated, the Trans-Siberian railway or the longest train route up to that time until today.
- Red on the map indicates the Trans-Siberian railway (historical route)
- Green – the Baikal-Amur main line
- Blue – the northern route
- Black – the section of the southern railway in Siberia
Reference data in numbers
- Trans-Siberian Railway or the Great Siberian Route is a railway that connects Moscow (southern route) and Saint Petersburg (northern route) with the largest industrial cities in Eastern Siberia and the Far East of Russia.
- Total length of the railway is 9298.2 km, it is the longest railway in the world.
- The highest point of the route is the Yablonovy Pass (1019 m above sea level)
- Only in 2002 was its full electrification completed.
- Historically, the Trans-Siberian is only the eastern part, from Miass (South Ural, Chelyabinsk region) to Vladivostok. The length of this section is about 7.000 km and it was built between 1891 and 1916.
- The Trans-Siberian connects the European part, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East of Russia, across this way travelers can highlight western, northern and southern Russian ports, as well as railway exits to Europe (Saint Petersburg, Murmansk, Novorossiysk), for the other side, with the Pacific ports and the railway exits to Asia (Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Zabaikalsk) on the other side.
- Trans-Siberian Railway was listed in the famous Guinness Book as the longest and fully electrified double-track railway in the world till today.
- Moscow, Yaroslavsky railway station to Vladivostok, transported weight is 100 million tons of cargo per year.
- Up to 80 pairs of trains pass through the Trans-Siberian railway every day; in some sections they circulate at intervals of time, as in the subway, it is the only country in the world that has such capacity.
Imperators and engineers
With the order of the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway, the Russian emperor Alexander III wanted to give with this extreme project, historical meaning and of strategic importance for the Russian empire in the eyes of the local and world population, this was reflected in the administrative order:
“I order to start building a railway through Siberia, which aims to connect the abundant gifts of nature in the areas of Siberia with a network of internal railway communications.”
“I entrusted to the commission in Vladivostok the granting of permission for the construction, at the expense of the treasury and by direct order of the government, the Ussuriysk section of the Great Siberian Railway.”
Alexander III of Russia
The future Emperor Nicholas II carried out the instructions of his father. On May 19, 1891, a solemn ceremony for the inauguration of the construction work was held, the Tzarvich personally brought the first ballast truck to the track of the future railway and also participated in the laying of the first stone of the train station and a silver plate made in Saint Petersburg according to the model approved by the emperor.
The inauguration of the Trans-Siberian Railway
According to historical documents, on October 21, 1901, the Great Railway came into operation and the transportation of passengers, mail and cargo began immediately along the railway.
It is believed that it was in 1901 that the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway was completed, although many bridges and engineering structures were not completed until months or years later.
The date of October 5, 1916 can be considered as the historical moment of the completion of the entire Trans-Siberian railway when a bridge crossing the Amur River was put into operation. This event resulted in the connection of direct passenger traffic from Moscow to Vladivostok across the entire length of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
It should be noted that for the Russian empire it has been a time of great difficulties after the First World War and its economic consequences.
Until the end of the reign of Nicolas II, with the Bolshevik revolution, the works were maintained until the completion of the project in its entirety just 1 year before the disappearance of the monarchy in Russia.
This priceless work encourages not only to remember, honor and admire the feat of the ancestors, but also to appreciate how the experience of the engineers was effectively used in building the Trans-Siberian railway with Russian scientific thinking in the second half of the 19th century, and how they chose the most rational route to unite the entire Eurasian continent with a single infrastructure project of world importance. Therefore, it can be said that the Trans-Siberian is a great infrastructure project of Russia and civilization.
Along the lines of the Trans-Siberian railway, an infrastructure developed, thus farms were transformed into megacities, forest roads became wide roads, and many more examples.
“Towering over Russia and looking over it, you can see blue and steel rings that bind the earth into one great power. The rivers and the paths of life come together and bring their spaces closer together and if rivers are the essence of God’s creation, then railway were created, albeit by the will of the Most High, by the human mind, by the will and hands of the people. In this miracle of human creation, the Trans-Siberian Railway is the largest man-made. “
V. Ganichev, writer and public figure
The idea of the Trans-Siberian railway
Russia’s railways are of particular economic and strategic importance, as they connect various regions of the country in a single political and economic space.
The Trans-Siberian railway itself as a project is a great miracle of Russian infrastructure. Although in our times the new generations may not appreciate this great historical milestone, but at the end of the 19th century, the speed of construction, the high labor productivity, the intelligent and prudent organization of work and the bold and highly professional decisions of the company were incredible: the Russian engineers.
The constructors of the Trans-Siberian Railway have achieved a high rate of work, on average they have laid 700 km per year, which exceeded the records set at that time in the United States and Canada.
The route was laid out in the middle of the desert, which required large funds and therefore one of the main design tasks was the task of saving. Not to mention the parts that required drilling tunnels in the rocks, erecting bridges across the mighty Siberian rivers, and deep girders.
Importance and purpose of railway transport
The fundamental idea of the Trans-Siberian railway is to connect the vast Russian empire in reduced time, high speed and uninterrupted movement, but this project has gained even more importance by transporting travelers between distant cities, trips that before the completion of the project lasted months at best.
Geography of the Trans-Siberian Railway
Crossing the 9228 km distance between Moscow and Vladivostok by the Trans-Siberian Railway, the traveler will be able to appreciate the diversity of Russian geography and the diversity of its nature from the cabin window, enjoy unique views that pass through mountains, desert, snow area, forests and cities where each traveler can enjoy unique experiences during scheduled stops.
In the late 1980s of the 19th century, Russia’s economic interests and, to a greater extent, the prevailing geopolitical situation in the Far East, required the country’s leadership to make an immediate decision to build a railway line, which would connect the regions central to the country with its Asian possessions with a solid transportation artery.
Three people have made a huge, though insufficiently appreciated, contribution to the creation and implementation of the great infrastructure project in Russia.
1- Under the reign of Alexander III, Russia felt like a giant and it was, assuming the Trans-Siberian cause, Alexander III was not afraid to be left alone without Atlantic and global allies, he cut hard with Westerners declaring: “Russia has no friends except its army and its navy “.
He guided, built and sustained the creative energy of a nation without any external help and only with local strength, he strengthened the Army, Navy and the monetary unit, making the country one of the most stable in Europe and in these plans, the Trans-Siberian was the most serious argument for the rise of Russia.
2- In 1892 one of the fervent supporters of the project appeared on the political scene, we are talking about Serguéi Yúlievich Witte, a man of enormous, sometimes excessive activity, a fervent supporter of the earliest possible construction of the railway, was appointed Minister of Finance.
3- And, only in the last 15 to 20 years, Piotr Arkádievich Stolypin, who under his command, practically completed the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Curiosities about the Trans-Siberian railway
- The only station in the world completely made of marble is Slyudyanka Station on the shore of Lake Baikal.
- Initially were built on the Trans-Siberian railway:
- 87 large stations and locomotive depots
- More than 1800 small and medium stations
- Around 11 thousand engineering structures : bridges, tunnels, culverts, fenders, etc.
- For the first time in the history they built improved gravel roads alongside the highways
- Also for the first time in human history they built tunnels in permafrost soils, it was proposed to place a heat insulating layer between the rock and the tunnel finish to prevent thawing of the permafrost soils during the hardening of the concrete.
- The embankments in swamps and soft soils were built in several stages and seasons given the difficulties of the Russian climate, this reflects the long and hard process for the completion of each section.
Interesting parts of the Trans-Siberian railway
Baikal ferry crossing
The Lake Baikal ferry crossing was part of the Trans-Siberian Railway and was primarily conceived as a temporary measure to ensure transit on the Trans-Siberian until the completion of the construction of the Circum-Baikal railway.
The largest overseas project in Russian history
After China’s defeat in the war with Japan in 1894-1895, in the summer of 1896; a secret agreement was signed with China; granting the right to build the Trans-Siberian directly through China, significantly reducing its length. and helped protect Russia’s economy.
The right to operate this part of the railway, which included thel transfer of leased land for 80 years; 9 miles on both sides of it on August 27, 1896; was obtained by a specially created joint-stock company for this part of the project and which was controlled by the Russian government.
Russia Circum-Baikal Steel Belt Gold Buckle
It is the last section of the Trans-Siberian Railway; built in extremely difficult conditions along the shore of Lake Baikal from Baikal Station to Mysovaya Station from 1899 to October 1905.
The best known route of the Trans-Siberian railway is known as Rossía, passing through the main cities:
- Nizhny Novgorod
- Intersection with the Trans-Mongolian
- Intersection with the Transmanchurian at Társkaya
The Trans-Siberian Railway, built in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; connected the European and Asian parts of the country with a reliable and efficient transportation route.
The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway is considered a prominent event in history, not only engineering, but also civilization as a whole.
In 1904, Scientific American magazine named the Trans-Siberian as the most outstanding technical achievement of the turn of the century.
In three nominations at a time (total length, number of stations and pace of construction) it is included in the Guinness Book of Records.
The Trans-Siberian Railway has not lost its importance in the modern period; it is a powerful double-track electrified railway line that allows transporting up to 100 million tons of cargo and millions of passengers per year.
It is given an important place in the Russian Transportation Strategy; within the framework of which it is planned to develop the Trans-Siberian as an international transport corridor between the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.
The importance of the Trans-Siberian for the development of the eastern regions of the country; the solution of geo-economic and geopolitical problems can hardly be overestimated.