The Trans-Siberian Main Line, in Russia, recently celebrated its 100 year of activity.
Officially the longest railway line in the world, the 9.288,2 km-long route takes passengers and cargo from the Yaroslavsky Terminal, in Moscow and ends its journey in the Far East, at Vladivostok. The Main Line entered service on October 5th, 1916, following the unveiling of a bridge across the Amur River. The bridge itself measures 2.568 m and was, at the time, the longest in Eurasia.
The Transsibirskaya Magistral (or ‘Trans-Siberian Railway’) was an impressive build, attracting various press officials and traveling writers, at the time. The construction process starter in May 1891, in Kyperovskaya Pad (near Vladivostok). It was later named the Trans-Siberian after being known as the Great Siberian Route. At the moment, the railway line passes through ‘11 oblasts, 5 territories, 2 republics and 1 autonomous region of the Russian Federation’. It also travels the length of 8 time zones, crossing 16 rivers and passing through 88 cities. Also, 19,1% of the route is located on the European side of Russia, while the remaining 80,9% is in Asia. A one-way trip takes around 6 days and 4 hours. The line uses the larger 1.520 mm track gauge, which is specific to Russia, instead of the standard 1.435 mm in width.
Important for trade
Data shows Siberia is an area rich with coal, oil and other natural resources. In fact, the regions linked to the Trans-Siberian are responsible for approximately 65% of Russia’s coal, 20% of the oil and 25% of timber. To understand the importance of this route, 2015 numbers show the Trans-Siberian trains to have transported 113,1 million tons of freight. Also, close to 200.000 containers are transported towards Europe every year. Improvement projects have been carried out between 2013 and 2015, for the Trans-Siberian and the BAM lines.
The Trans-Siberian Main Line connects to other rail networks, as well. For instance, branch lines connect to networks in Mongolia, China and North Korea. Also, the Trans-Manchurian uses some of the route from the Main Line and so does the Trans-Mongolian Railway. The Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM) is the most recent to use parts of the main Trans-Siberian. Its build was completed in 1991.