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History of Russian rail lines

History of Russian rail lines

Kuibyshev Railways passes through the Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Mordovia, Ryazan, Penza, Tambov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, Saratov, Orenburg and Chelyabinsk regions. It is the largest main line connecting Russia's central and western parts with the most important economic areas in the Urals and Siberia.

At the beginning of 1866 employers and landlords in Tambov, led by marshal S. Bashmakov, appealed to the government to grant a concession for the construction of a railway line from Ryazhsk to Morshansk. Imperial permission for the line's construction was given on 10 May 1866. At the same time, the Ryazhskaya-Morshanskaya Railway Company was founded.

Construction work began in August 1866 and was conducted simultaneously on two sections, between Ryazhsk - Sarai (Verda station) and Sarai - Morshansk. In October 1867, the Ryazhsk - Morshansk line was open to regular traffic and carried three trains a day.

On 31 May 1868 the board of the Ryazhskaya-Morshanskaya Railway Company appealed to the government for permission to extend the Morshansk line to Penza and Syzran. Permission for the construction of this section was obtained on 26 December 1870 and work began in 1872 under the direction of N. L. Markov. In parallel, various companies were set up to service the line throughout its length from Morshansk to Syzran.

On 12 October 1874 the Morshansk - Syzran line, a stretch of 484.8 versts, opened for freight and passenger trains. The line was named Morshano-Syzran. A verst is equal to 1.067 kilometres or 0.6629 miles.

The first train that arrived in Morshansk at 3 p.m. was met during a ceremony held on the station forecourt.

At the same time, a branch line from Syzran to Pristan on the Volga was commissioned.

According to the "Official Inventory of Locomotives and Carriages", by the time regular services began on the Morshanskaya-Syzran line, its rolling stock as of 1 October 1874 consisted of 16 "A" series mixed steam trains built at the Kolomna plant, 26 freight locomotives, 52 passenger carriages and 15 luggage vans.

The section from Morshansk to Syzran had 23 stations, two of which were Class II (Penza, Syzran), four were Class II and the others Classes III and IV.

At the end of 1874 after the construction of the Vyazma - Pavelets and Vyazma - Batraki lines, the railway was renamed Syzran-Vyazma.

The construction of this line meant that Russia's central provinces were now connected by rail with the Volga region, which was a major grain producer.

In May 1870 surveying under the court counsellor and engineer Bykov began on the stretch between Samara and Orenburg. The survey's results were submitted to the government, and in 1871 imperial permission was given for the construction of the Samara - Orenburg line.

On 18 November 1873 the charter and technical conditions were approved, and on 22 February 1874, construction began on the Orenburg line from the right bank of the Volga River near Batraki station via Samara to Orenburg from the bridge across the Volga and a branch line to the pier in Samara. The work proceeded simultaneously on multiple sections, which were brought into temporary operation as soon as they became available. Peasants from Simbirsk, Samara and Orenburg provinces were brought in to work on the line's construction.

On 12 August 1875 the Samara Provincial Gazette reported that "Today is truly a landmark event for our region. The whistle of the train from Samara station sounded for the first time in Samara and the branch line to Khlebny Square and the temporary rail and horse route from that branch line to the Volga River are ready."

Regular services on the Batraki - Orenburg line, a stretch of 507.3 versts, began on 1 January 1877.

The need for a bridge across the Volga was obvious. In the summer, a ferry was used to cross the river, while in the winter carriages owned by the Orenburg Railway Company were used. Three possible locations were considered for the bridge: in Samara, at Batraki and near the village of Kostychi. After much deliberation, it was decided to build the bridge between Old and New Kostychi.

The bridge was designed by Nikolai Belelyubsky, a leading scientist and a professor at the St. Petersburg Institute of Railway Engineers. Construction began on 17 August 1876. A new railway station was built near the bridge, on the right bank of the river Volga. The bridge was opened to trains on 26 August 1880 and became the longest in Europe.

The Samara-Ufa line from Kinel station to Ufa station, a distance of 452 versts, was commissioned on 8 September 1888. The construction of the line from the Volga to the Southern Urals first came under discussion in the late 1870s, but the economic crisis of the Great Depression delayed the construction of railways in Russia.

The question of the Ufa line arose once again when it was recognised that there was a great need to build the Siberian Railway. Surveys of the Samara - Ufa section began in 1882-1883.

In 1885 the construction of the line started at public expense under the railway engineer K. Mikhailovsky and his assistants P.S. Zhukov and P.S. Mukhlinsky, who later built the Trans-Siberian main line.

Work on the Samara-Ufa line took place in difficult conditions. The route ran through a sparsely populated area, so there was insufficient manpower. Moreover, the line had to be laid across hard and rocky soils for over one third of its distance. Limestone was transported from nearby quarries, but sand and ballast had to be brought in from much further afield.

On 8 September 1890 the Ufa - Zlatoust section, a length of 300 versts, was completed. From that time, the line was called Samara-Zlatoust. The route crossed the Urals and proceeded to Western Siberia, connecting it by rail with Moscow and St. Petersburg. On 22 October 1892, the Zlatoust - Chelyabinsk stretch of 150 versts was opened to trains.

On 1 January 1893 the Samara-Zlatoust line was connected to the private Orenburg line, and became known as the "Samara-Zlatoust with an Orenburg branch line." Thus, the line stretched for 1,410 versts, from its western boundary at Batraki station and the towns of Chelyabinsk and Orenburg in the east.

In 1890-1893 the line experienced significant economic difficulties. In order to reduce costs, the line's management was forced to stop trains at night on the Kinel - Pokhvistnevo and Raevka - Ufa stretches and close some of the crossings.

The beginning of services on the Siberian line in 1896 led to a significant increase in the volume of transport on the Samara-Zlatoust stretch and to the restoration of regular traffic.

The Sasovo - Ruzaevka section was commissioned on 1 September 1893, followed by the Ruzaevka - Penza stretch on 16 December 1895.

In 1900 trains began running from Ruzaevka to Timiryazevo (Krasny Yzel).

For many years, the Simbirsk Provincial Assembly petitioned the government to build a railway that would link Simbirsk with Russia's centre and other regions. In 1895 permission was granted for the construction of Ruzaevka - Batraki with a branch line between Inza - Simbirsk (Ulyanovsk).

Construction began in spring 1897 and proceeded at an intense pace. On 28 December 1898, services began on all sections of the Ruzaevka - Sizran line and Inza - Simbirsk (Ulyanovsk) stretch with branch lines to the steamship piers on the Volga. On 11 November 1900, the Syzran to Batraki line was completed. On 28 August 1911, a stretch of line to Bugulma was finished. An access line was built from the Chasovnya-Pristan to Melekess in 1902.

On 15 August 1914 a line, later called the Volga-Bugulma railway, reached Chishmy and connected it with the Samara-Zlatoust line.

The absence of a bridge across the Volga inhibited the growth of transport. Goods had to be unloaded and reshipped by boat in the summer and on carts during the winter. The construction of the bridge began in 1912 and on 1 December 1916, it was opened for temporary services. The bridge was commissioned in 1917.

On 16 August 1897, the narrow-gauge Krotovsko-Sergiyevskaya branch line was opened to trains. Its original purpose was to connect the line with the Sergius resort and the private Timashevsky sugar factory. The talented railway engineer and famous writer N. G. Mikhailovsky supervised the branch line's construction work.

In 1901 the Vernadovka - Kustarevka branch line was built, thus connecting the Syzran-Vyazma and Moscow-Kazan lines.

On 1 January 1905, the section from Kinel to Orenburg on the Samara-Zlatoust line was transferred to Tashkent Railways. In the summer of 1914, the Aksakovo - Belebei line began operations.

In subsequent years, in connection with the construction of new sections, increasing freight turnover, and operating specifics, the line's name and border were changed. Up to 1917, sections on Kuibyshev Railways belonged to four different railway companies: from Ryazhsk to October - Syzran-Vyazmskaya, from Kustarevka to Ulyanovsk and October - Moscow-Kazan, from Oktobrsky to Kropachevo - Samara-Zlatoust and from Ulyanovsk to Chishmy - Volga-Bugulma.

In 1919 the Western Ural railway was connected with the Samara-Zlatoust railway and the sections Kropachevo - Chelyabinsk and Poletaeva - Kystanai, followed by the Volga-Bugulma Railway (from Chishmy station to Chasovnya-Verkhnyaya station) in 1921, and the Moscow-Kazan section on the Inza - Ulyanovsk line on 1 July 1929.

On 26 May 1936 the Samara-Zlatoust railway line was renamed after V. V. Kuibyshev. Its borders were Kinel in the south, Kuznetsk in the west, Inza in the east and Kropachevo to the north.

In 1942 one of sections on the disbanded Penza Railway became part of the main line and in 1944, the Kindyakovka - Syzran - Sennaya line was built, a stretch of 319 kilometres.

On 14 May 1953 V. V. Kuibyshev Railways was renamed Kuibyshev Railways.

In 1959, the Ufa and Orenburg lines became part of Kuibyshev Railways.

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