a system formed by the railroad lines of Belgorod Oblast, RSFSR, and of Kharkov and Poltava oblasts, Ukrainian SSR, and by sections of lines in Kursk Oblast, RSFSR, and in Chernigov, Sumy, and Voroshilovgrad oblasts, Ukrainian SSR.
As of 1976, the length of the Southern Railroad was 3,672 km, or 2.7 percent of the length of the entire railroad network of the USSR. The railroad is administered from Kharkov. It was organized in its present form in 1961. During the prerevolutionary period, the following lines were constructed: Kursk-Kharkov-Lo-zovaia (1869), Kharkov-Poltava-Kremenchug (1870–71), Bakh-mach-Romny (1874), Romny-Lokhvitsa Kremenchug (1888), Li-ubotin-Vorozhba (1878), Kharkov-Valuiki (1895), Poltava-Gre-benka (1901), Belgorod-Basy (1901); Belgorod-Kupiansk-Svatovo (1895–96), and Gotnia-Osnova-Bukino (1911). During the period of Soviet power, the Valuiki-Starobel’sk (1940), Saraevka-Staryi Oskol (1943), and Priluki-Nezhin (1930) lines were built.
The Southern Railroad has five divisions: Kupiansk, Kharkov, Belgorod, Poltava, and Sumy. It is linked with the Moscow Railroad (Kursk, Gotnia, and Vorozhba stations), the Southwestern Railroad (Bakhmach, Vorozhba, Nezhin, and Grebenka stations), the Odessa-Kishinev Railroad (Burty and Grebenka stations), the Donetsk Railroad (Bukino, Lozovaia, Svatovo, Starobel’sk, and Tropa stations), the Dnieper Railroad (Krasnograd and Lozovaia stations), and the Southeastern Railroad (Valuiki and Staryi Oskol stations). The principal lines are Kursk-Kharkov-Lozovaia, Bukino-Liubotin-Vorozhba, Lozovaia-Poltava-Grebenka, Kremenchug-Bakhmach, Kharkov-Gotnia, and Valuiki-Kupiansk-Kharkov-Poltava-Kremenchug.
A nationally important means of through conveyance, the Southern Railroad connects the Central Region and the northern European areas of the country with the Donbas and the Dnieper region and links the Caucasus and the southern parts of the country with the west and northwest. In addition to serving the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly iron ore basin, it provides transport for the machine-building, petroleum-refining, and building-materials industries, as well as for agricultural regions. At Kremenchug the railroad connects with river shipping.
In 1976 the total freight turnover amounted to 84 billion ton-km, or 2.6 percent of the total for the entire country. The main types of outgoing freight in 1976 were ore (34 percent), building materials (25 percent), and oil (12 percent). In terms of freight turnover, the principal commodities transported were building materials (18 percent), oil (11 percent), coal (11 percent), and metals (11 percent). In 1976 the average freight-traffic density was approximately 24 million ton-km/km. Passenger traffic amounted to 12.7 billion passenger-km, or 4 percent of the national total.
The equipment of the Southern Railroad has undergone considerable improvement. The principal trunk lines are double-tracked, and there are large freight and sorting stations. Automatic block signaling is used, and there is centralized traffic control. Electric locomotives handle 38 percent of passenger traffic and cargo, and diesel locomotives 62 percent.
The railroad was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1969.
G. S. RAIKHER