formed in May 1953 and administered from Minsk.
The Byelorussian Railroad basically covers the territory of the Byelorussian SSR (more than 97 percent) and partially covers the territory of the Ukrainian SSR and the Lithuanian SSR. It has connections with the October Railroad (Aleshcha and Ezerishche stations), the Baltic Region Railroad (Bigosovo, Gudogai, Pabrade, Porech’e, and Stasilai stations), the Moscow Railroad (Zakopyt’e, Zaol’sha, Krasnoe, Surazh, and Shesterovka stations), the Southwestern Railroad (Novobelitskaia, Ovruch, and Terekhovka stations), and the L’vov Railroad (Verbka and Luninets stations). In the west the Byelorussian Railroad comes up to the national border of the USSR and makes connections with the Polish Railroad (Lososna, Berestovitsa, Svisloch’, Vysoko-Litovsk, and Brest). Within its present (1970) limits, the operational line of the Byelorussian Railroad extends 5,400 km, or 4 percent of the length of the entire railroad network of the USSR. The Byelorussian Railroad connects the northwestern and Baltic regions with the southwestern, Donbas, and Dnieper regions, and also ensures transportation connections between the USSR, the Polish People’s Republic, and the German Democratic Republic.
The principal trunk lines of the Byelorussian Railroad are among the oldest of the Soviet network. Thus, the Smolensk-Minsk-Brest Line was completed in 1871, the Gomel’-Luninets-Brest Line in 1882–86, the Vilnius-Minsk-Gomel’ Line in 1873, and the Nevel’-Polotsk-Molodechno-Volkovysk Line in 1906. During the Soviet period the Lepel’-Orsha-Krichev-Surazh, Shesterovka-Mogilev-Osipovichi, and Barnovichi-Slutsk lines were constructed.
During the period of the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) and the occupation of the Byelorussian SSR by the German fascist invaders the republic’s railroad economy was destroyed, but already by 1950 the Byelorussian Railroad had been basically restored.
In 1969 the freight turnover of the Byelorussian Railroad amounted to more than 46 billion tons per km, or approximately 2 percent of that of the entire network. More than half the freight turnover is hauled by diesel locomotives. The Byelorussian Railroad is primarily a transit railroad. In the total volume of freight turnover, transit constitutes 56 percent, imports 22 percent, exports 7 percent, and local transportation 15 percent. Coal, metal; building materials, specific types of petroleum products, the output of the consumer and food industries, and grain are the predominant imports. The basic exports are motor vehicles, tractors, petroleum, and agricultural products. Local transportation hauls mainly building materials, peat, and lumber and agricultural products. The concentration of freight traffic on the Byelorussian Railroad is relatively light—approximately 7.8 million tons·km/km, which is half that of the entire network. However, specific sections of the Byelorussian Railroad (Terekhovka-Gomel’-Minsk-Gudogai, Orsha-Minsk-Brest, Zakopyt’e-Gomel’-Brest, and others) have a heavy concentration of freight traffic. The most important points for dispatching and receiving freight are Polotsk, Brest, Vitebsk, Mogilev, Kalii, Lososna, and Krichev.
The Byelorussian Railroad carries on intensive passenger transportation both within the republic and in transit between the Baltic and northwestern regions and the southern and southwestern regions of the country. International passenger transportation through Brest increases every year. The total passenger turnover in 1969 amounted to 6.7 billion passenger-kilometers, or 2.6 percent of the network total. Within this figure, transit transportation constitutes 26 percent. Suburban and local passenger transportation also account for a relatively large share of total traffic (20 percent).
G. S. RAIKHER