Volga Railroad

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Volga Railroad


a railroad combining lines located for the most part in the Lower Volga Region. In 1972 the railroad had 4,459 km of tracks representing 3.2 percent of the entire railroad network of the USSR. It is administered from Saratov.

The railroad was organized in 1953 out of sections of the former Riazan’-Urals and Stalingrad railroads. Regular service between Saratov and Moscow was initiated in 1870. The railroad has five divisions: Astrakhan, Volgograd, Rtishchevo, Saratov, and Ershov. It is linked with the Northern Caucasus Railroad (Trusovo station near Astrakhan and Kotel’nikovo station), the Kazakh Railroad (Aksaraiskaia station near Astrakhan and Ozinki station), the Kuibyshev Railroad (Sennaia, Chagra, and Penza stations) and the Southeastern Railroad (Tonovka, Oblovka, Povorino, Filonovo, and Morozovskaia stations).

The Volga Railroad serves the Astrakhan, Volgograd, Saratov, Penza, Voronezh, Tambov, and Rostov oblasts of the RSFSR and the Urals and Gur’ev oblasts of the Kazakh SSR. The railroad is connected with river transport at the terminals of Astrakhan, Volgograd, and Saratov, at Kamyshin and other smaller towns along the Volga, at Donskaia station on the Don, and at ports and landings on the Volga-Don Ship Canal.

In the prerevolutionary period agricultural produce constituted most of the railroad’s freight. Also important was the hauling of fish and salt from Lake Baskunchak. During the years of Soviet rule many industrial enterprises and several industrial centers were established in the area served by the Volga Railroad. Among the new industrial centers are Saratov, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Balakovo, Vol’sk, and Kamyshin. During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), the Volga Railroad operated along the front line. It carried military shipments during the battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43 and was heavily damaged.

After the war the railroad was completely rebuilt and modernized. Almost all its main sections were converted to diesel traction. On the most important stretches, freight is hauled by electric locomotives. Much of the railroad is equipped with automatic block signaling, centralized dispatcher controls for switching and signaling, and other modern traffic control equipment.

In 1973 the freight turnover of the Volga Railroad amounted to 103 billion ton-km, or 3.5 percent of the freight turnover of the USSR’s entire railroad network. A considerable portion of the freight consists of oil, minerals, construction materials, grain, flour, and lumber (transferred from waterways to the railroad). The density of freight traffic is about 23 million ton-km per km. Because of the railroad’s geographic location, transit shipments constitute about half of the freight turnover.

Passenger traffic on the railroad is well developed. About four-fifths of the passenger traffic is suburban, and most of the long-distance passengers transfer from the Moscow, Northern Caucasus, Southeastern, and Kuibyshev railroads. The Volga Railroad accounts for less than 3 percent of the passenger traffic of the USSR’s entire railroad system and for about 1.5 percent of the country’s suburban passenger traffic.

The railroad was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.