Learn all about the history of Russian railroads
Russia is the largest country in the world and trains are an integral part of its history. Starting at the beginning of the 19th century, the first Russian railroads were built during the Russian Empire, in an attempt to connect this huge country, which had countless places unreachable by sea or on horseback.
With a history similar to that of the United States, the Russians also built their railroads in an attempt to connect the inhospitable and unexplored places with the great cities and central points of the country, with the difference that the Americans went to the West, and the Russians, as we will see later with the Trans-Siberian, went East.
Railroads of the Russian Empire
The first Russian railroad was built during the empire in the year 1837, and it was a Saint Petersburg-Tsarskoye route. Eight years later, the Saint Petersburg plant began producing steam locomotives to transport passengers and freight, and for the rest of the century, the empire was characterized by producing large bridges that connect the central part of the country. Getting to build some of the largest railroad bridges in the country at that time, at the end of the century the country began to produce the Trans-Siberian, the largest railroad network in the world.
These Russian railroads had, at the beginning of their production, the function of connecting distant and peripheral areas to the center of the country.
Railroads of the Soviet Period
The Soviet period was also marked by an enormous development of Russian railroads. It was the moment when both the first main steam line (in 1924) and the first (in 1932) of many electric lines in the country were built.
The main function of the lines built in the Soviet period was the distribution of raw materials and the transport of fuel cargo. During World War II, Stalin marked the period with strong production relying heavily on Russian railroads already built, as well as new railroads to handle the transport needed during the war and the German invasion.
This ideal marked the Soviet Union until its end, considering that from 1974 to 1984 the Baikal-Amur railroad was built, developing the adjacent sites tremendously and also giving second access to the Pacific Ocean, with an enormous three thousand kilometers in length.
The biggest railroad in the world
The Trans-Siberian, built in the Russian Empire, is one of the first Russian railroads and is the longest railroad in the entire world. Originally built after the victory of the Russian Empire over a city in Uzbekistan, from 1879 to 1886 (in its first conception), it connected the Far East to the center of the country.
Over the years it has been expanded with bridges being built at the turn of the century. It was officially completed in 1906.
The impact caused by it was immense, as the transport of cotton increased considerably. Having been widely used commercially, sugar, kerosene, wood, iron and building materials were also transported.
Over the years, however, it has been re-signified. During the civil war and the Russian revolution, she was instrumental in the Bolsheviks and revolutionaries who transported information and cargo for political purposes.
After the revolution, the mesh was managed by a city in Uzbekistan, until after the end of the Soviet Union it was managed by Russia, mainly for tourist purposes. After all, reaching inhospitable areas of Siberia, passing through Moscow and Vladivostok, the line that has restored and perfectly functional wagons, manages to show practically everything that there is of natural landscape in the country.
Current investments in Russian railroads
Not all Russian railroads are at such a level of preservation and care. Currently, several problems haunt the railroad lines because they are different from European ones. In addition to being bigger, more loaded and more expensive, it is impossible for the country to think of adapting to European models now, as it already has the second largest railroad network in the world, practically all built in an outdated era and incapable of transforming itself. .
However, several projects are around to solve these problems. In 2009 Russia built its first fast train line, a line that is still one of the most used of Russian railroads, having access to airports and even transporting cargo. Such a line is a strong indication that the government needs to rethink its railroad stations and deal with them quickly in order to prevent a bubble from bursting in this sector and making it insufficient.
Perhaps, with the investment of private sectors, as it already works in the country, there is an alternative to redirect these old stations in new ways with renovations capable of making them continue to function, and allowing an active role for the rail network in the country.
Conclusion about russian railroads
In conclusion, Russian railroads have a long history that rivals that of the United States in size and quality. Both followed a path of connecting the center of the country to peripheral and difficult to access regions.
Russian railroads went through a long process of transformation, being expanded, evolved and adapted, but continued until the end of the Soviet Union in great production and continuity. After a hiatus that lasted until the international resumption of trains in the 2000s, it can be said that little by little the country returns to its railroad history, and little by little it goes back to building and adapting its stations.
Perhaps, with the process of globalization, which Russian railroads are a big part of, trains will no longer be relegated to being relics of the past, and will once again become more than cultural heritage. Something that can be used for the development of the country once again.