Northern Caucasus Railroad

Northern Caucasus Railroad

 

a system formed by the railroad lines of Krasnodar and Stavropol’ krais, the Dagestan ASSR, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR, the Severnaia Osetiia ASSR, and Rostov Oblast and by small sections of railroad lines in the Kalmyk ASSR and Astrakhan and Volgograd oblasts. The Northern Caucasus Railroad connects the Northern Caucasus and the republics of Transcaucasia with the railroad network of the USSR. As of 1974, the length of the railroad was 5,438 km, or 4 percent of the length of the entire railroad network of the USSR. The railroad is administered from Rostov-on-Don. It is linked to the Volga Railroad (Trusovo station, near Astrakhan, and Kotel’nikovo station), the Azerbaijan Railroad (Samur station), the Tran-scaucasian Railroad (Veseloe station), the Donetsk Railroad (Martsevo, Nesvetai, and Zverevo stations), and the Southeastern Railroad (Zverevo and Tsimlianskaia stations).

The Rostov-on-Don-Vladikavkaz (present-day Ordzhonikidze) line was built in 1875–76; this line connected the Northern Caucasus with the Don River and, later, with the Donbas and railroads of the Central Zone. In 1893, after a railroad was built through Groznyi to Gudermes and then to Petrovsk (present-day Makhachkala), Derbent, and Baku (Baladzhary), the Northern Caucasus was connected to the railroads of Transcaucasia. From the main line of the Northern Caucasus Railroad, Rostov-on-Don-Derbent, branches were built to Krasnodar (1887), Novorossiisk (1888), Stavropol’ (1897), and Sal’sk (1889). The line to Sal’sk, after being extended to Kuberle and Kotel’nikovo, provided a direct link with Tsaritsyn (present-day Volgograd) and thus with the Volga River. Branches from the main line were also built to Kislovodsk, Kizliar, and Nal’-chik.

During the period of Soviet power, the Black Sea Railroad was built from Tuapse to Sukhumi (219 km). It shortened the travel distance from Tbilisi to the Central Zone by 659 km. The distance from Sukhumi to the Central Zone was shortened by almost 1,500 km when compared with the circuitous route via Baku (Baladzhary). During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), the Kizliar-Astrakhan line (1942) played an important role in the historic battle on the Volga. A direct line from Krasnodar to Tuapse is presently (1976) being constructed across the spurs of the Greater Caucasus mountain system.

The nine operating divisions of the Northern Caucasus Railroad are those of Rostov, Kavkazskaia, Mineral’nye Vody, Stavropol’, Groznyi, Makhachkala, Krasnodar, Sal’sk, and Tuapse. The railroad provides transport for agricultural regions (Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol’ Krai), oil, gas, and anthracite regions (eastern Donbas), and machine-building and cement industries (Novorossiisk); it also provides service to and from health resorts of national importance (Caucasian Mineral Waters region, Sochi). There are direct rail connections to ports on the Black Sea (Novorossiisk, Tuapse, and Sochi stations), the Volga and Don rivers (Rostov, Azov, Eisk, Ust’-Donetsk-aia, and Volgodonskaia stations), the Sea of Azov (Taganrog station), and the Caspian Sea (Makhachkala station, second port). A ferry at the Kerch’ Strait connects the railroad (Kavkaz station) to the Crimea.

The major railroad junctions are Rostov (Bataisk), Tikho-retskaia, Kavkazskaia, Armavir, Krasnodar, Mineral’nye Vody, and Gudermes. In 1974 the total freight turnover of the railroad amounted to 117.5 billion ton-km, or approximately 3.8 percent of the total for the entire country. Oil, anthracite, mineral-based construction materials, and grains constitute approximately three-fourths of the cargo; machinery, equipment, and food products are also hauled. The average freight density on the Northern Caucasus Railroad is more than 21 million ton-km/km. The percentage of transit shipments is low. In 1974 passenger traffic was 14.3 billion passenger-km, with suburban traffic predominating. In long-distance traffic, a large number of passengers travel to and from Mineral’nye Vody and Sochi.

Prior to the October Revolution of 1917, the Northern Caucasus Railroad suffered from a lack of equipment. Almost all lines were of the single-track type. Steam locomotives were used, and the railroad could handle only a limited amount of traffic. Today, all main sections of the railroad have double-track lines. Automatic block signaling is used, and there is centralized traffic control. Electrification of the railroad was begun in 1936, and by 1975 all the main routes (Martsevo-Ros-tov-Armavir-Tuapse-Sochi-Veseloe; Likhaia-Rostov-Pro-khladnaia-Derbent) and a number of branch lines (Mineral’nye Vody-Kislovodsk) had been electrified. In 1974 diesel engines hauled 51.2 percent of the freight, and trains powered by electricity 48.4 percent. The railroad has been awarded the Order of Lenin (1971).

E. D. KHANUKOV

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