The Trans-Siberian Mainline (Transsib), the Great Siberian Road (the historical name) – the railway through Eurasia, connecting Moscow (the Southern Branch) and St.-Petersburg (the Northern Branch) with the largest East-Siberian and Far East industrial cities of Russia.
The actual length of the TSM main passenger line is 9298.2 km (about 5772 miles). It is the longest railway in the world and it crosses almost whole Eurasia by land.
The highest point of the road is Jablonovyj mountain pass (1019 m above the sea level).
Historically only the eastern part of the railroad, from Chelyabinsk (the Southern Urals) to Vladivostok, is the Trans-Siberian Mainline. Its length is about 7 thousand km. This section was being constructed from 1891 to 1916.
Now the Trans-Siberian Mainline connects the European part, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East of Russia, and speaking more generally, it connects Russian western, northern and southern ports, and also railway exits to Europe (St.-Petersburg, Murmansk, Novorossiysk), on the one hand, to Pacific ports and railway exits to Asia (Vladivostok, Nahodka, Zabaykalsk) on the other hand.
The mainline passes through the territory of 20 regions and 5 federal districts of the Russian Federation. These regions, being rich in natural resources, have a considerable export and import potential. The regions covered by the mainline produce more than 65 % of coal extracted in Russia, 20 % of oil products and 25 % of industrial wood. More than 80 % of the industrial potential of the country and main natural resources, including oil, gas, coal, wood, ferrous and nonferrous metal ores etc are concentrated here. 87 cities including 14 regional centres are located on the TSR.
TSR: Krasnoe (Russian-Belarusian border) – Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod/Kazan – Yekaterinburg – Tyumen/Kurgan – Omsk – Novosibirsk – Tayshet – Ulan-Ude – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok/Nakhodka.
- Kotelnich – Vologda – Volkhovstroy – St. Petersburg;
- Kurgan – Chelyabinsk – Ufa – Samara – Syzran – Penza – Rtishchevo – Liski – Solovey (Russian-Ukrainian border);
- Perm – Kudymkar – Syktyvkar – Arkhangelsk – Belomorsk;
- Volgograd – Likhaya;
- Tayshet – Tynda – Komsomolsk-on-Amur – Vanino;
- Syzran – Saratov – Volgograd – Tikhoretskaya – Krasnodar – Novorossiysk;
- Khabarovsk – Komsomolsk-on-Amur;
- Kurgan – Kazakhstan (Petropavlovsk - Astana);
- Komsomolsk-on-Amur – Japan;
- Ulan-Ude – Naushki (Russian-Mongolian border
- Karymskaya – Zabaykalsk (Russian-Chinese border);
- Vladivostok – Khasan (Russian-North Korean border).
History and construction stages
The Great Siberian Route: 110 years now (As of 2016)
“… ensuring the integration of Siberia within the united State”
In the late 80s of the XIX century economic interests of Russia and, to even greater degree, the geopolitical environment established in the Far East demanded government’s prompt decision to construct a railway mainline that would allow linking central regions of the country with its Asian areas by a strong transport artery.
In 1891 the Committee on building the Siberian railway was established. It took the decision substantiating the need to build the mainline by Russian masters using domestic materials and approved simplified technical specifications for its construction.
On May 19, 1891 a ceremony took place in Vladivostok to commence the construction of the Ussuriysk railway – the first section of the Trans-Siberian Mainline (the Transsib).
On May 26, 1891 the Vladivostok newspaper wrote: “on May 19… an extraordinary event in the history of our eastern coast occurred… the construction of the Ussuriysk railway has been started”.
On October 21, 1901 train operation started on the Transsib right after the “golden track panel” was laid on the last section of the China-Eastern railway.
Regular railway traffic between the capital of the Russian empire – Saint Petersburg – and the Pacific ports of Russia – Vladivostok and Dalny – started in July 1903 when the China-Eastern railway passing through Manchuria was commissioned for regular operation.
The 1st of July 1903 is commemorated as the day of putting the Great Siberian Route into operation, although there still was a gap in the railway line: the trains had to be put on a special ferryboat across Lake Baikal.
Continuous railway tracks between Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok were set up when the traffic on the Circum-Baikal Railway started on the 18th of September 1904. One year later, on the 16th of October 1905, the Circum-Baikal Railway was commissioned for regular operation as an integral section of the Great Siberian Route and for the first time in history passenger trains were able to run on rails from the Atlantic ocean (from Western Europe) all the way to the coast of the Pacific ocean (up to Vladivostok) without using ferryboats.
The construction of the line on the territory of the Russian empire was completed on October 5, 1916 by putting a bridge across the Amur river near the city of Khabarovsk into operation and trains starting running over it.
In 1990s and 2000s a number of actions were undertaken to modernize the Transsib, aimed at increasing the throughput capacity of the line. Specifically the railway bridge across the Amur River by Khabarovsk was modernized which resulted in doing away with the last single track section of the Trans-Siberian line. In 2002 the electrification of the line was completed.
On the 11th of January 2008 China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany signed an Agreement on the project of optimizing cargo transportation via the Beijing-Hamburg route.
In accordance with the Transport Development Strategy of the Russian Federation through to 2030 approved by the Government of the Russian Federation, eff ective implementation of the national transit and transport logistics potential based on the integration of the Russian railways into the global – mainly, Euro-Asian - transport system is one of the RZD OJSC priority activities.
Th e total volume of the international rail transportation via the Trans-Siberian Mainline is on the rise.
Transsib is connected to Northern Kazakhstan through the lines of the Western-Siberian railway from Omsk and Tatarsk (through Karasuk and Kulundu), from Novosibirsk to the south, through Barnaul to Central Asia – with Tuksib. In the end of the XXth century in the Far East the Baikal-Amur mainline was laid to the north of the Transsib.
• Though Vladivostok is the terminal station of Transsib, there are more remote stations from Moscow on the branch to Nakhodka: Astafeva cape and East port.
• Until recently, the world’s longest-range train № 53/54 running from Kharkov covering 9714 km in 174 hours and 10 minutes. Since May, 15th, 2010 this train has been “cut short" to Ufa station, however staging of through cars was kept.
• Since November, 2011 this train is completely canceled. The world’s longest-range train for a long time was Kiev Vladivostok, distance of 10259 km, time of journey 187 hours and 50 minutes. Since November, 2011 it is also canceled because of unprofitability. As of October, 2011 the longest-range trains of the Transsib were trains Moscow Vladivostok and Moscow Beijing.
• The "fastest" train of Transsib is № 1/2 "Russia", from Moscow to Vladivostok. It passes the Transsib for 6 days and 2 hours (average speed 64 km/h).
• Train № 3/4 Moscow Beijing and Train № 5/6 Moscow Ulan Bator are passing the route from Irkutsk to Moscow 1 hour faster, than Train № 1/2 "Russia", from Moscow to Vladivostok.
• Special kilometer columns indicating the mileage of the mainline - «0 km» on the one side and «9298 km» on the other side are installed at the Yaroslavl station in Moscow, and also in Vladivostok.