organized in its present limits in June 1967 and administered from the city of Tbilisi. It runs through the Georgian SSR, the Armenian SSR, and partly, the Azerbaijan SSR. It has connections with the Northern Caucasus Railroad (Veseloe station) and the Azerbaijan Rail-road (Beiuk-Kiasik and Norashen stations). The operational length of the railroad (1970) is 1,942 km.
Construction of the railroad lines began in the 1860’s. The Poti-Zestafoni line was put into operation in 1871, and the Zestafoni-Tbilisi line in 1872; together they connected the Transcaucasus with the Black Sea ports. In 1883 the Batumi-Samtredia and Baku-Beiuk-Kiasik-Tbilisi lines were built, establishing a direct rail connection between the ports of the Caspian and Black seas. The Navtlugi-Aleksandropol’ (Leninakan)-Yerevan main line began to operate between 1899 and 1902, linking regions in Georgia with the capital of Armenia and its other regions; in 1908 the Dzhul’faNorashen-Masis line began to operate, connecting Dzhul’fa station (on the border with Iran) with Yerevan and other Transcaucasian points. Extensive railroad construction has been carried out during the Soviet period: the TskhakaiaSukhumi (1940), the Adler-Bzyb’ (1943), and the Bzyb’-Sukhumi (1945) lines, which established the shortest possible links between the Transcaucasus and other regions of the country, and also the Gori-Tskhinvali (1940) and a number of other lines. The Transcaucasian Railroad has been almost completely electrified. In 1969, 93 percent of all freight turnover was moved by electric traction.
The railroad serves areas that extract coal and manganese and nonferrous ores; large machine-building enterprises; enterprises of ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, chemical industry, light industry, and food industry; and developed multisectorial agriculture. The major dispatching and destination points for freight are Chiatura, Tkibuli, Rustavi, Poti, Yerevan, and Batumi. The railroad works in cooperation with major Black Sea ports in transshipping various cargoes (Poti and Batumi stations). The freight turnover of the Transcaucasian Railroad is about 0.6 percent of the total for the national network, but in some sectors the density of freight traffic is very high. Among the freight shipped by the Transcaucasian Railroad, coal, manganese ore, metals, cement and other mineral building materials, and agricultural freight account for the largest share. Petroleum and petroleum products, timber, machinery, equipment, grain, and light industry freight are the predominant incoming freights. By types of traffic, shipping breaks down as follows: incoming freight 42 percent, outgoing freight 12 percent, and local traffic 46 percent.
The Transcaucasian Railroad carries on large-scale passenger transportation both in interurban traffic (Tbilisi-Baku, Tbilisi-Yerevan, Tbilisi-Moscow, and others) and in suburban traffic. Overall, about 40 million passengers a year are carried, three-quarters of them in suburban traffic.
G. S. RAIKHER