This photograph is from an album produced by the artistic studio of the Obrazovanie (Education) association in Moscow that documents the construction of the western portion of the Amur line of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in 1908‒13. The album offers one of the more comprehensive views of Siberian railway construction in the tsarist era. In the second half of the 19th century, Russia underwent a period of extensive rail development that culminated in the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Akin to the great railways to the Pacific in both the United States and Canada, Russia's transcontinental line was intended to supply and populate Siberia as well as deliver raw materials to the rapidly developing industries west of the Urals. Working against an ambitious timetable and under severe conditions of climate and terrain, the Russians effectively united the European and Asian parts of the empire by completing this herculean project. The engineering plans provided for the sequential construction of six basic segments. In order of completion, these branches were the West Siberian line from Cheliabinsk to Novo-Nikolaevsk (the future city of Novosibirsk) on the Ob River; the Ussuri line from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok; the mid-Siberian line from Novo-Nikolaevsk to Innokentievskaia near Irkutsk, with a spur line to Tomsk; the circum-Baikal line from Irkutsk to the eastern side of Lake Baikal; and the trans-Baikal line from Lake Baikal to Sretensk. These five sections were completed between 1881 and 1904. The sixth section, the Amur line from Sretensk to Khabarovsk, was not finished until 1916. Before completion of the Amur line, the only Russian rail link to the Pacific was via the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria, which connected to the Trans-Siberian just east of Chita.
Place: Europe; Russian Federation; Zabaykalsky Krai; Kendagiry
Institution: Russian State Library
Physical description: 1 photograph : black and white