Russian railways

1 August 1842 - construction of the St. Petersburg - Moscow railway line begins

On 1 February 1842, Nicholas I issued a decree to construct the St. Petersburg - Moscow railway line based on a report by P.P. Melnikov and N.O. Kraft.

The construction of the St. Petersburg - Moscow line started on 1 August 1842. The work proceeded simultaneously in two directions: northwards, under Melnikov, and to the south, headed by Kraft. They were in charge of a detachment of 27 young graduates from the Institute of Railway Engineers.

The line was built according to sound engineering principles in order to ensure not only its economic feasibility, but also sufficient capacity for future needs. The optimal inclines, curve radii and other characteristics were chosen. The roadbed was built for two tracks from the outset. For the first time, flat-bottomed iron rails were laid. At the insistence of Melnikov, the gauge was fixed at 5 feet or 1524mm, which has become the standard for all railway lines in Russia.

To overcome water obstacles, the engineers had to build 8 large and 182 medium and small bridges. Along the line, 34 stations were built. The two major railway stations in Moscow and St. Petersburg were designed by the famous architect K.A. Ton and still please the eye due to their perfection of form.