Kraft, Nikolai Osipovich
Born 1798; died 1857 in St. Petersburg. Russian engineer and major general.
In 1820, Kraft graduated from the Institute of the Corps of Railroad Engineers in St. Petersburg. Searching for ways to connect the Volga with the Don, Kraft developed a plan for a sluiced canal between the Ilovlia and Kamyshenka rivers. In 1836 he became a teacher at the institute from which he graduated. He took part in developing the contract design of the St. Petersburg-Moscow railroad and the estimate for its construction. In 1852–55 he served as head of this railroad. Together with P. P. Mel’nikov and N. I. Lipin, Kraft developed methods for raising the railroad roadbed in marshy terrain and worked out the specifications for planning the roadbed, superstructures, man-made structures, and stations on this line. He substantiated the advisability of using railroads with a 5-foot (1.524 m) gauge, and this became the standard gauge of Russian railroads.
REFERENCESVirginskii, V. S. Vozniknovenie zheleznykh dorog v Rossiido nachala 40-x godov XIX veka. Moscow, 1949.
Zhitkov, S. M. Biografiia inzhenerov putei soobshcheniia, issue 1. St. Petersburg, 1889.