Trans-Siberian railway: legendary road


The Trans-Siberian railroad is the longest railway route in the world with length 9289 km (5,772 mi). This railway connects Moscow with Vladivostok - port on the Sea of Japan. It is not difficult to imagine the importance that the Trans-Siberian railway has for Russia and neighboring countries, especially at the beginning of the 20th century. Let's see main reasons of construction this route.

First reason is that back those times communication within the country, especially with remote regions, was very poor. Usually the rivers were used as the main transport routes but in the winter they are frozen. During long winter cargo and passenger transportation was carried out by the frozen rivers in the sleds drawn by horses. Of course, railroad could solve these transportation difficulties.


Another reason was that Russia was afraid that the Chinese could attack it Far Eastern territories. Alexander III had idea of building the Trans-Siberian at the end of the 19th century. But it seemed impossible to build a railroad from Moscow to the Pacific Ocean. For example the construction of the St. Petersburg-Moscow railway opened in 1851 with distance of 650 kilometers was worth 67 million rubles. To compare, at that time the annual revenue of the government was 200 million rubles. They needed at least 330 million rubles (about $ 7 billion today) to connect Moscow with Vladivostok. But after the Crimean War (1853-56) the coffers of the Russian state were empty. In addition, the Trans-Siberian have to be built in a sparsely populated territory such as Siberia and it had to cross plenty of large and small rivers. That is why the Russian bureaucrats told Alexander III that it was impossible to carry out this project.


In July 1890 a news shook Russia: China with the help of English engineers was building a railroad to the periphery of the Russian Far East.
Because of that in August 1890, the Russian authorities decided to build the Trans-Siberian Railway, since it was a matter of security.
Tsar Nicholas personally supervised the construction of the railway in Vladivostok, where construction began.

In spite of all the difficulties such as shortage of financial resources, mountainous relief of Siberia, the workers from several regions who even did not speak Russian started construction of the legendary Trans-Siberian railway in May 1891. In October 1901 the trains start operate on some parts of the railway. The construction of the Trans-Siberian was completed in 1916 when was built a bridge over the Amur River.

trans-siberian railroad in the early 20th century