Western Siberian Railroad

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Western Siberian Railroad


a railroad organized in 1961 by the unification of the Tomsk and Omsk railroads; its administrative center is in Novosibirsk.

The railroad runs mainly through the Omsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, and Kemerovo oblasts and Altai Krai of the RSFSR and partially through the Kokchetav and Pavlodar oblasts of the Kazakh SSR. It joins the Eastern Siberian Rail-road (Mariinsk and Mezhdurechensk stations), the Kazakh Railroad (Lokof, Kulunda, and Kzyltu stations), the Sverdlovsk Railroad (Nazyvaeskaia station), and Southern Urals Railroad (Isil’kul’ station). The Isirk uP-Omsk-Novosibirsk-Mariinsk sections went into operation between 1896 and 1898. Later, additional lines went into operation: Nazyvaevskaia-Omsk in 1913; Novosibirsk-Altaiskaia-Biisk and Altaiskaia-Lokof (continuing on to Semipalatinsk) in 1915; Tatarskaia-Slavgorod in 1917; Slavgorod-Pavlodar in 1924; and Leninsk-Kuznetskii-Gurievsk in 1926. The Novosibirsk-Leninsk, Kandalets-Mundybash, and Sokur-Sortirovochnaia lines, built in 1934-36, made it possible to develop the coal and ore deposits of Western Siberia and to create important metallurgical and coking by-product industries. In 1939 the Tomsk-Asino line went into operation; in 1940, Mundybash-Tashtagol; in 1943, Kemerovo-Barzas; and in 1944, Kulunda-Malinovoe Ozero. The Novokuznetsk-Barnaul and Kulunda-Barnaul lines, which went into operation in 1952, created a second route from the regions of Siberia to the west (the so-called southern Siberian exit). Rapidly growing freight traffic between Siberia and the Urals required the creation of yet another westward route. (In the early 1960’s construction was completed on the main section of the Central Siberian main line, Barnaul-Karasuk-Omsk.) The operating length of the Western Siberian Railroad within its present-day boundaries (1970) is 5,712 km, or 4.3 percent of the national network.

The railroad links Siberia and the Far East with other areas of the country. It services the largest industrial regions of coal and ore extraction, petroleum refining, and harvesting and processing of timber; enterprises of the power, chemical, metallurgical, and machine-tool industries; and developed agricultural regions. The Western Siberian Railroad is first among Soviet railroads in freight turnover (in 1969, 200 billion ton-kilometers, or 8.5 percent of the national network). More than 98 percent of the freight traffic is transported by electric and diesel locomotives. Of total freight turnover, imports constitute 15 percent, exports 30 percent, local service 35 percent, and transit goods 20 percent. Imports include metals, ores, certain building materials, petroleum products, and timber and products of the engineering, light, and food industries. Principal exports include coal, metals, coke, timber industry products, and grain cargoes. Transit goods consist mainly of metals, lumber, and petroleum and agricultural products.

Freight traffic density on the railroad is the highest in the national network; it totals over 35 million ton-kilometers per kilometer (two times the national average). Individual sections have freight traffic densities of 100 million ton-kilometers per kilometer and over.

Among the largest points for dispatch and arrival of goods are Novokuznetsk, Novosibirsk, Kombinatskaia, Kemerovo, Belovo, Ostrovskaia, Prokopyevsk, Tomsk, Mezhdurechensk, and Leninsk-Kuznetskii. The railroad carries many passengers, both locally and in transit between Siberia and the Far East and other areas of the country. The total passenger traffic in 1969 equaled 12.5 billion passenger-kilometers, or 4.5 percent of the national network. The Western Siberian Railroad was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1966.


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