The Trans-Siberian Railway is a masterpiece of Russian railway engineers and even today a myth. With around 9300 kilometers long is the Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest continuous railway line in the world.
The development of the railway networks
In the middle of 19. Century was a rapid development of the railway networks in large parts of Europe to watch. It proceeded in the Russian Empire but only hesitantly. It was already in 1837 the first railway at the present Russian ground finished, but there was only a small private railway for the tsar. It connected the 23 kilometers between Saint Petersburg and his summer residence, Tsarskoye Selo. Only in 1852 was the second railway line in service between the then capital city of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, with a length of about 644 kilometers. In Germany, at about the same time already 8000 kilometers in operation.
Military and economic reasons
Under Tsar Alexander II (1855 1881) was Russia a social and economic modernization. The railway network is expanded. His son, Tsar Alexander III, opted for the construction of the long and technically challenging route. It should be the remote port city of Vladivostok with Moscow. The ice-free ports in the east should be to the west of the Russian empire can be connected. So you could be a part of the global trade in goods transport. At the same time had an alternative to the slower sea transport, at least more than two months time. By train, it took only about five weeks to Europe.
Video: Trans-Siberian Railway
Start of construction
Works began in 1891 in Vladivostok. Due to the length of the route, the various sections are built at the same time. Sometimes there were up to 90,000 workers in use at the same time. The building went, measured in terms of the challenge that quickly. The extremely harsh conditions of life and work, but called for Your Price: tens of thousands of workers died during the construction phase to diseases. Sometimes they would have in the Siberian winter, temperatures of around minus 40 degrees Celsius without fixed habitation livelihood. A lack of adequate medical care.
Trans-Siberian Railway ran in the carriage over the Lake Baikal
A continuous rail transport between St. Petersburg and from Moscow to Vladivostok was from 1904. Up to completion of the rocky passage at Lake Baikal, the path in the winter with sled transported. In the summer of acquisitions of ships with the transport of the huge lake.
The completion of this technically difficult and costly part was due to the Russian Japanese War (1904- 1905) accelerated, since the route now militarily important. For a kilometer route through the rocks on the shores of the lake, you needed a whole wagon filled with explosives. This increased the costs almost three times the price of an average mile of Trans-Siberian Railway.
The war made a modified route is necessary. Part of the route, namely by the Manchuria, not to Russia was. The fear of a Japanese occupation of Manchuria led the Russian leadership, the route to change. Until 1916 were built on the Amur route, since the classical route of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Trans-Siberian Railway was very slow
To this day, the technical masterpiece of the workers and engineers remains impressive. Initially, simple and cheap solutions were preferred. Tunnels were avoided due to narrow bends and steep slopes and poor quality materials. However, this was done at the expense of cruising speed, which at the beginning of the 20th century barely exceeded 30 km/h, which was very slow at that time.
The rails were lighter than usual and bent. But this was also a necessary adaptation to the climatic conditions. Otherwise, the rails might otherwise be sunk into the thawing frost. Bridges, which were originally made of wood, sometimes caught fire because of the flying sparks. Later bridges of stone and steel were built. A total of more than 485 bridges are on the line, some of them are among Asia’s longest bridges. One example is the Amur Bridge, which spans two kilometers.
Despite the great importance of the track, it was only a single-track construction. The second track was already planned at the beginning of the 20th century. However, it could only be completed after the Second World War.
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Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator