Northern Railroad

Northern Railroad


a network of railroads in the northern and northeastern regions of the European part of the USSR. The Northern Railroad measures 5,599 km (1974) and accounts for 4.2 percent of the total length of the national railroad system. Headquartered in Yaroslavl, it was established in its present form in 1959 by uniting the Yaroslavl, Northern, and Pechora railroads.

The first section of the Northern Railroad, from Aleksandrov to Vologda, was built in the period 1870–72. In 1898 a narrow-gauge line was built from Vologda to Arkhangel’sk and was converted to standard gauge in 1916 because of an increase in imported freight. The Cherepovets-Vologda-Bui-Galich-Svecha trunk line was constructed in 1905. Kotlas, on the Severnaia Dvina River, was connected with the Northern Railroad by the Kirov (Viatka)-Perm’ line in 1899.

The Northern Railroad has eight operating divisions: Yaroslavl, Ivanovo, Bui, Vologda, Niandoma, Sol’vychegodsk, Sos-nogorsk, and Vorkuta. It is bounded by the Oktiabr’ Railroad at the Malenga, Koshta, and Sonkovo stations, by the Moscow Railroad at the Aleksandrov and Bel’kovo stations, and by the Gorky Railroad at the Novki, Svecha, and Susolovka stations. The north-south trunk line runs from Aleksandrov (north of Moscow) to Yaroslavl, Danilov, Vologda, and Arkhangel’sk (1,025 km). The east-west trunk line, running from Koshta to Cherepovets, Vologda, Bui, Galich, and Svecha (632 km), is part of the national trunk line connecting Leningrad and Moscow with the central Urals (Perm’ and Sverdlovsk). The northeastern trunk line (1,561 km) runs from Konosha to Kotlas, Ukhta, and Vorkuta and has a branch line (195 km) running from Chum to Labytnangi on the Ob’ River. The Obozerskaia-Malenga line is very important for transporting iron ore from the Kola Peninsula to the Cherepovets Combine. It is the shortest route connecting the northern sections of the Oktiabr’ Railroad with the Northern Railroad.

The Northern Railroad serves Arkhangel’sk, Vologda, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, and Ivanovo oblasts and the Komi ASSR and also provides service to Vladimir, Kirov, Tiumen’, and Kalinin oblasts, which are served by other railroads as well. It operates in conjunction with ship lines on the White Sea and the Northern Sea Route, as well as river routes on the Severnaia Dvina (Arkhangel’sk, Kotlas), the Volga (Yaroslavl, Rybinsk, and Kineshma stations), the Vychegda (Aikino station), the Pechora (Pechora station), the Ob’ (Labytnangi station), the Su-khona (Vologda station), and the Sheksna (Cherepovets station).

In 1973 the freight turnover was approximately 133 billion ton-km, or 4.5 percent of the national total. Freight consists mainly of timber (approximately one-fourth), coal (approximately one-fifth), petroleum, mineral supplies, and building materials. The average freight density is approximately 25 million ton-km/km. Coal is transported great distances on the Northern Railroad (for example, the distance from Vorkuta to Cherepovets is 1,899 km) and accounts for approximately one-third of the route’s entire freight turnover. Passenger turnover (approximately 8.9 billion passenger-km, 1973) constitutes approximately 3 percent of the national total. Passenger trips on the Northern Railroad are, on the average, longer than passenger trips on any other railroad of the European part of the USSR.

The Northern Railroad has been considerably lengthened since the establishment of Soviet power. Major additions include the Pechora Railroad, the Obozerskaia-Malenga line, the Syktyvkar-Mikun’ line, which connects the capital of the Komi ASSR with the national railroad system, and a series of branch lines to Onega and Severodvinsk. The following lines have also been built: Kostroma-Galich, Iadrikha-Krasavino, Arkhan-gel’sk-Palenga-Karpogory (1975), Pervushino-Zavolzhsk, Mi-kun’-Koslan, and Selog-Vozh-Vendinga. All principal sections of the railroad are now two-track lines. Large classification yards equipped with the latest machinery have been built, for example, at Yaroslavl Glavnyi, Vologda, and Sol’vychegodsk. Steam has been almost entirely supplanted by diesel and electric traction; in 1973 electric traction accounted for approximately 21 percent of total traffic, while diesel accounted for approximately 77 percent.

The Northern Railroad was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1968.


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