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Print version. Published on site Rusnet.NL 26 November 2003

Encyclopedia :: T :: Trans-Siberian Railway

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Updated: 26.11.2003

Trans-Siberian Railway links European Russia with the Pacific coast. Its construction began in 1891, on the initiative of Count Witte, and was completed in 1905. The completion of the railway greatly affected the history of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and modern Russia by opening up Siberia to development.

The original line began at Chelyabinsk and ran generally east through Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, and Chita; it traversed Manchuria and re-entered Russian territory before ending at Vladivostok. The Manchurian section of the line is known as the Chinese Eastern Railroad.

The present Trans-Siberian Railway branches off from the original line at Chita to follow, roughly, the Amur and Ussuri rivers and reaches Vladivostok by way of Khabarovsk; it lies entirely in Russian territory. The Moscow-Vladivostok run is 5,785 miles (9,310 km). The line carries both freight and passengers.

The Trans-Siberian Railway now has several branch lines, notably the line connecting Omsk with Yekaterinburg. A branch to Ust-Kut connects it with the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM).

The railway is also linked with the Turkistan-Siberia Railway.