Trans-Siberian Railway in the world history

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The Trans-Siberian Railway extended 4,700 miles from the Ural Mountains to the Sea of Japan. From Cheliabinsk, just east of the Urals, it passed through Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Irkutsk, then skirted Lake Baikal and proceeded to Chita. Shortly beyond Chita two branches continued to the sea at Vladivostok, the chief port of the Russian Far East. 

Russian tsar Alexander III Tsar Alexander III conceived of the railroad in the late 19th century, and construction on several sections took place simultaneously.


The Chinese Eastern Railway, the shorter southern branch, intersected the Chinese frontier at Manchuria Station, crossed Northern Manchuria through Harbin, the line's center for administration, and reached the Russian frontier again at Podgranitsa, a few hours from Vladivostok. The other, more circuitous branch made a great loop along the northern side of the Amur River to Khabarovsk and then due south to Vladivostok.

  History of Trans-Siberian railroad (streaming RealVideo)

     Trans-Siberian railway construction was held in difficult climate conditions. Most of the road was build through low populated or not populated areas with tense forests. The road goes across many strong Siberian rivers, meets many lakes, swampy and permafrost areas n its way (from Kuenga to Bochkarevo, now Belogorsk). The most difficult for builders was the section around the Baikal (Baikal station - Mysovaya station). Here they had to blast rocks, to make tunnels, to build additional structures on the rivers that go into Baikal.
     Trans-Siberian railway building required big capital expenditures. According to the Railway Construction Committee calculations estimated costs of road building were 350 millions of gold rubles. Therefore, to lower the costs and to build the road faster Committee established special simplified technical conditions base for the Ussuriysk and Western Siberia sections of the road. For example, according to the Committee's recommendation the width of the earth bed in such places as mounds and excavations was decreased, ballast layer was made thinner, lighter rails were used, the number of sleepers for 1 km was decreased, etc. Major construction works were planed only for the big bridges. Smaller bridges were built of wood. 50-verst distance between stations was allowed.
     he sharpest problem was the problem of attracting labor for the building of Trans-Siberian railway. The need for qualified workers was satisfied by hiring workers in the center and by transporting them to Siberia. According to V.F. Borzunov in different years in construction of different sections of the railway were involved the following number of people. Western Siberian - from 3600 to 15000 workers form European Russia, Zabaylalskaya section - from 2500 to 4500, Middle Siberian - from 3000 to 11000. Most of the builders were convicts and soldiers. Peasants from Siberia, people from Siberian towns and also peasants and low middle class people from European part of Russia were involved in construction of Trans-Siberian railway as well. At the beginning of construction in 1891 total number of workers on Trans-Siberian railway was 9600. In 1895 - 1896 it went up to 84000 - 89000 workers. On the final stage of construction in 1904, there were only 5300 workers. In the Amurskaya section construction works in 1910 was involved about 20000 workers.

The use of Siberian exile for punishment of criminals and political offenders began almost immediately after the conquest, but accelerated with the rise of the Russian revolutionary movement in the 19th century.

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The Trans-Siberian Railway greatly influenced the composition and size of the population of Siberia.

After the railroad’s completion in the early 1900s, Russian people migrated to Siberia in much larger numbers than before, greatly increasing Russian presence in the region. 

Transsiberian railway. RealVideo

Inside the train at Transsiberian railway,download .mov 468kb

Here are some good links to other Transsibsites:

  • Circumbaikal Railway
  • Monument of the discovers and builders of Trans-Siberian   Railroad
  • Russian Railway Ring
  • Monkeyshrine
  • Sergey Sigachyov's Transsib Homepage
  • London to Lhasa
  • Trans-Sib now in Irkutsk

     backhome.gif (3644 bytes) Fedor Babanine ( ) 06/25/03