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History of Russian rail lines

History of Russian rail lines

Krasnoyarsk Railways lies in the south of Krasnoyarsk region and is a major transit line linking the western regions of Siberia and the Kuzbass with Eastern Siberia and the Far East.

Krasnoyarsk Railways is part of the Trans-Siberian main line, whose construction in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries opened up new opportunities for Siberia's development. In the early twentieth century, the Trans-Siberian Railway consisted of eight main lines: West Siberian, Central Siberian, Circum-Baikal, Trans-Baikal, Amur, North Ussuri, South Ussuri and East China. The main line of Krasnoyarsk Railways, Mariinsk - Taishet, was built as part of the Central Siberian Main Line.

In 1886 A.I. Ignatieff, the governor-general of Irkutsk, pointed to the need to speed up the construction of the Central Siberian Railway, whose termini were named Tomsk, which enjoyed a good transport connection by waterway with the Yekaterinburg-Tyumen railway, and Irkutsk.

In 1887-1888 preliminary reconnaissance work was carried out. In 1892, Sergei Witte, the Minister of Communications, reported to the State Council about the need for additional surveys. In the same year, funds were allocated and surveys done from Pochitanskaya station, which was the proposed terminus of the West Siberian main line, to Mariinsk. In April 1893 design and survey work was completed on the Ob-Krasnoyarsk stretch.

In February 1893 the Siberian Railway Committee approved the direction of the track for the Central Siberian railway from Ob station to Irkutsk via Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kansk and Nizhdeudinsk. In March 1893, the Construction Management of the Central Siberian Railway was set up. It was headed by N.P. Mezheninov, the engineer who had led the survey work on the Tomsk - Taiga - Irkutsk stretch in 1877 - 1878.

In 1896 it was planned to build a section from the Ob to Krasnoyarsk, a distance of 760 km, and then begin laying a section from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk (1,070 km), with completion scheduled for autumn 1900. The construction work began in May 1893 and the first 25 km from Ob station were laid.

The region's natural conditions were complicated and poorly understood. The permafrost, harsh winter and impenetrable forests created great difficulties for the builders. Nor was there any reliable information on the many rivers.

Since the Central Siberian Railway was far removed from transport communications and passed through sparsely populated areas, skilled artisans such as carpenters, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths and track workers arrived from Central Russia.

Due to the weak development of the industry in the region, building materials were brought in from great distances. Local stone, wood, gravel and sand were used, but the lack of reliable surfaced roads made for very difficult deliveries.

In December 1895 the Ob-Krasnoyarsk stretch was opened to trains. The line was laid in four directions at the same time: from the 190th kilometre to Achinsk, from the river Chulym in the west to the Ob, from the river Chulym eastward to Krasnoyarsk and from Krasnoyarsk to the west.

The rails were delivered along the river Chulym from the Nikolayevsky plant owned by the Butiny brothers, as well as from other factories by the Northern Sea route and the river Yenisei.

In 1895 construction began of a bridge across the Yenisei, one of the biggest rivers in Siberia. The bridge was designed by the well-known Petersburg railway engineer Professor Lavr Proskuryakov

Construction was led by engineer Yevgeny Karlovich Knorre, a graduate of the Berlin Trade School and the Zurich Polytechnic who had worked on the construction of bridges across the Dnieper and Volga. In 1895, Knorre arrived in Krasnoyarsk and in his capacity as technical project manager and general contractor, began the construction of the railway bridge over the Yenisei.

On 30 August 1896 a ceremony was held as the first stone of one of the piers was laid. On 28 March 1899 the bridge, which had been christened "The Royal", was opened to trains.

This day was a real holiday for the town's residents and numerous visitors because it was then that the idea was born to present the model of the bridge as part of the exposition on the Great Siberian Route at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. In 1900, a special committee led by Gustave Eiffel awarded the Gold Medal at the Exposition to the Krasnoyarsk Bridge.

The Ob - Krasnoyarsk Line came into operation in January 1897, and the Krasnoyarsk - Irkutsk stretch in January 1899. Since it was not possible to build all the bridges in time, during the first years of the line's service, ferries were used to cross some of the small rivers, while in winter rails were laid across the ice.

The Central Siberian railway was laid as a single-track line with a through capacity of three pairs of trains per day. Small wooden bridges were built. The station buildings were also built of wood, except for the stone building at the station in Krasnoyarsk.

On 17 December 1899 the West Siberian and Central Siberian lines merged to form the Siberian railway. The line's initial through capacity was 3.5 pairs of trains a day. Goods trains travelled at 12-14 versts per hour, passenger trains were rather faster and achieved 20 versts per hour.

In 1900 the Siberian line had 30 stations and 42 sidings. The following stations were built: Isil Kul, Marianovka, Omsk, Koloniya, Tatarskaya, Karachi, Tebisskaya, Kainsk, Kozhurda, Kargat, Polomoshnaya, Litvinov, Taiga, Chulym, Duplenskaya, Krivoshchёkovo, Ob, Sokurov, Oyash, Bolotnoe and Berikulskaya. The line was built under less stringent climatic conditions.

The line was laid on a narrowed subgrade with a width of 18 feet and 1,300-1,400, sleepers per kilometre. Series OV locomotives with 500 horsepower were used to pull the carriages and wagons.

It became clear during the line's construction that the planned through capacity would not meet the needs of passenger or, in particular, freight transport.

In 1898 a special committee chaired by the engineer K. A. Mikhailovsky was set up to expand the line, and in 1904, work began on laying a second track. In addition, the 18-pound rails were replaced by 20-pounders and the wooden bridges by stone.

On 1 January 1915 Siberian Railways was divided into the Omsk, Tomsk, Trans-Baikal, Amur and Ussuri lines. The main sections of the contemporary Krasnoyarsk Railways were a part of the Tomsk railways at that time.

In the 1920-30s branch lines were laid across the Sayan mountain ranges to coal fields, ore deposits, forests, and the banks of large rivers. In 1922-1926, the Achinsk - Abakan line was constructed, which linked the southern regions of Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Khakass Autonomous Region and Tuva with the country's other economic regions. In 1934, the Transbaikal and Tomsk lines were merged with the East Siberian line, which was managed from Irkutsk. In 1936, the Krasnoyarsk line (Krasnoyarsk) was spun off from East Siberian Railways.

In 1949 construction began of the South-Siberian line on the Novokuznetsk - Abakan stretch. In 1950, construction began on the line to Abaza, a major iron ore deposit in Khakassia. In 1961, the Krasnoyarsk line again became part of East-Siberian Railways. In the 1960s, the Achinsk - Lesossibirsk, Red Sopka - Kiya - Shaltyr and Kamyshta - Sayano-Shushenskaya HEP lines were built.

At the end of 1965 the 647-kilometre Abakan-Taishet high-quality electrified line came into continuous operation. In the 1970s, the Reshoty - Karabula line was commissioned and later extended to the area of the Bogucharsky hydroelectric power station.

In 1979 Krasnoyarsk Railways became an independent administrative unit managed from Krasnoyarsk.


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