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History of Russian Railways
August 29, 2018 00:12


The history of railways in Russia began in 1834. That time the mining department invited the famous engineer, Franz von Gerstner, to St. Petersburg.

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He traveled many cities, up to the Urals, and then prepared a serious report to Tsar Nicholas I. They decided to build a small line first and see how the railway will stand the Russian winters. This was the famous Tsarskoselskaya railway, in 1836. The first steam-powered train was driven by engineer von Gerstner himself the first few days up to Tsarskoye Selo and back to Petersburg. The track of European roads repeats the width of the Roman wagons. In Russia they decided not to repeat them, and  make the track wider - so it is possible to transport more cargoes, and the passengers will feel more comfortable while travelling.

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In 1845, in Russia they had already built steam-powered railway engines, and in the second half of the XIX century the railway boom began. The private companies were attracted for constructing the railways. In the Volga region the "bread" road was laid. They built a strategically important Orenburg railway - a military and trade route to Asia. For the development of Siberia and the Far East in 1857, they decided to build the Trans-Siberian Railway. Trans-Siberian Railway was recognized as the greatest technical achievement of the turn of the XIX and XX centuries.

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The construction of the roads did not stop during the Great Patriotic War: they laid the North Pechora road to Vorkuta, and this was coal for metallurgy; they built the Volga road, which provided everything necessary for the Stalingrad Front Line. The road on the ice crossing from Shlisselburg was laid, along which the cargo was transported to blockaded Leningrad.

Actually about 80% of the network of “RZhD” (“Russian Railways” Company) was built before 1917.

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In Soviet times, new roads were constructed too, but mostly in the Union republics. The largest Soviet-era construction site in Russia was the Baikal-Amur Mainline (1974-1984), which gave a new push to the development of Siberia.

Find more about Russian Railways and travelling by train across Russia...

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian Railways Russian Railways Tickets travel to Russia   

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