Middle Asian Railroad

Middle Asian Railroad

 

the rail network that unites the railroads of the Uzbek, Turkmen, and Tadzhik SSR’s and some of the lines in the Kirghiz and Kazakh SSR’s. In 1975 the railroad had an operating length of 6,199 km, or 4.4 percent of the length of the USSR rail network. Its administrative office is in Tashkent. The railroad is divided into nine sections: Tashkent, Khavast, Fergana, Bukhara, Dushanbe, Chardzhou, Mary, Ashkhabad, and Kara-Kalpak.

The Middle Asian Railroad is linked with the Kazakh Railroad at the stations of Chengel’dy and Beineu. The railroad ferry crossing from Krasnovodsk to Baku provides the shortest connection between the Middle Asian Railroad and the Azerbaijan Railroad without transshipment.

Construction of the Middle Asian Railroad began in 1880 and lasted for more than three decades. The starting point was initially Uzun-Ada on Mikhailovskii Bay of the Caspian Sea (later it was shifted to Krasnovodsk). From there, the railroad was extended to Kizil-Arvat, Ashkhabad, Mary, Chardzhou, Bukhara, Samarkand, Khavast, Tashkent, and the Fergana Valley.

In 1905, after the construction of the Orenburg-Tashkent Railroad, now divided among the Southern Urals, Kazakh, and Middle Asian railroads, the Middle Asian Railroad was connected to the national rail network. During the Soviet period many new lines have been built, of which the most important are the Amu-dar’inskaia-Dushanbe (441 km), Tashkent-Angren (118 km), Chardzhou-Kungrad (627 km), Navoi-Uchkuduk (290 km), and Dzhizak-Mekhnat (133 km). Branch lines have also been added. The new 408-km Kungrad-Beineu line, completed in 1972, provides a second outlet to the central regions of the USSR. Several other lines have been opened in recent years: the 157-km Samar-kand-Karshi line in 1970, the 218-km Fermez-Kurgan-Tiube line in 1974, and the 12-km Takhiatash-Nukus line in 1975.

Most of the railroad’s freight consists of mineral building materials, petroleum products, hard coal, fertilizer, and cement. More than half of the shipments are local. Cotton, vegetables, fruit, and other agricultural products, as well as nonferrous metals, sulfur, and sulfates, also account for a considerable portion of the freight. In 1974 the railroad’s freight turnover totaled some 77 billion ton-km (2.5 percent of the national total) and its passenger traffic, roughly 5 billion passenger-km (less than 2 percent). The freight density is about 13 million ton-km per km.

Owing to the presence of such large industrial centers and railroad junctions as Tashkent, Samarkand, Khavast, Kokand, Andizhan, Bukhara, Dushanbe, Chardzhou, Ashkhabad, and Krasnovodsk, suburban passenger transport is well developed, accounting for half of all passenger departures and arrivals. In the Tashkent area electric traction is being used in suburban transport; 2.4 percent of the railroad’s total operating length has been electrified. In long-distance travel the largest passenger exchanges are made with the Kazakh Railroad, as well as with the Moscow, Oktiabr’, Kuibyshev, Southern Urals, and Western Siberian railroads. The Middle Asian Railroad has been coordinated with all other types of transportation. The major landings and transshipment points are Termez, Chardzhou, and Takhia-tash on the Amu Darya and Krasnovodsk on the Caspian Sea.

During the years of Soviet power the Middle Asian Railroad has been completely modernized. The first diesel locomotives in the USSR were introduced along several desert stretches of the Middle Asian Railroad in 1931. Today, all freight trains have diesel locomotives, and passengers are transported by either diesel or electric traction. Centralized traffic control is being introduced on a large scale. The track superstructure has been improved, and many stations, primarily marshaling yards, have been re-equipped. The proportion of mechanized work in loading and unloading freight, in track maintenance, and in repairing rolling stock is steadily increasing. Electronic computers and automated control systems are used to improve work efficiency.

E. D. KHANUKOV

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