60 Stalin’s Lost Railway

Stalin’s Lost Railway

Posted on August 22, 2007 by

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 1

We’ve had recently an abandoned railway in Abkhazia, abandoned as a result of USSR collapse when new “independent” republics couldn’t maintain the complicated and high-cost USSR legacy objects. But this one was abandoned long before the USSR collapse, it was doomed to be abandoned from the beginning. It was built by a personal Stalin’s order in the middle of nowhere – deep inside Northern Siberia between Salekhard city and Igarka town. It was not connected with any other Russian Federal Railway System and the purpose of it still is not very clear, so as a senseless toy it way abandoned pretty soon and now rusts accessible only with a helicopter.

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 2

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 3

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 4

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 5

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 6

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 7

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 8

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 9

Igarka Salehard abandoned railway in Russia 10


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60 Responses to “Stalin’s Lost Railway”

  1. caposkaw says:

    a job for political prisoners.
    absolutely useless and rather cruel.

  2. Justin says:

    I would love to visit this place. Were is the nearest city/town? How much would the helicopter trip cost? I really would like to know. I absolutely love these sorts of places!

    • adios says:

      Solovki more better and more big.

    • Zsommand says:

      Let me know when you are leaving :) I dont know why they spend money in US for film sets they should just go to Russia.

    • hardscarf says:

      You can’t go there. On january 1st 2007 the FSB has declared the railroad and the whole region north of it as part of the border zone (including Salekhard), which means the same regulations as for Norilsk, and other closed city’s and border regions: special visa/documents required. Part of it is in re-use by the oil- and gasindustry the way. Also there is the mega project Ural Industrial – Arctic Ural which will also increase new infrastructure projects to it and repair some (the railroad between Pangody and Novy Urengoi is really bad).

      The nuber of prisoners which were used were quite a lot higher then on the Solovetsky Islands, but the regime was less worse as the killing fields of the 1930s had already passed (however the muskitos were really bad and in winter temperatures could drop to -60 C).

  3. adios says:

    ya videl odin sayt s nehuyovimi foto Solovkov

  4. madineg says:

    but a cold beauty now….without a dictating leader no culture in the world would build such impressive constructions themselves….the vision of one built by thousands

    let’s say thanks for not being involved ;-)

    • zafarad says:

      that`s why i love dictatorship.no extra barriers of majority acceptance,no need to convince all assembly,no problem of funding,most of all no tension of shortage of `trained labours`.in late 40`s and early `50`s,mainly German(POW`S)are the main source of building massive Siberian infrastructure projects.when the project starts they are in millions,but at the end of the project they left in thousands! ! ! ! !.despite Stalin`s some cruel actions,i personally credit him,to build new Russsia,out of rubble and ashes.finally sender ,lost biker claimed,this rail system not connected to any main rail system.but these heavy engines,building material coming from the sky?

      • Boris says:

        >that`s why i love dictatorship.no extra barriers of majority acceptance,no need to convince all assembly,no problem of funding,most of all no tension of shortage of `trained labours

        It might have been an easier job for the government, but what if you were one of those laborers? Do you have an idea of what Stalin did? Were you, by any chance, involved with the Soviet government?

  5. Dimk says:

    It was not that senseless because this Transpolar Railway should lead to Norilsk nickel.


  6. caposkaw says:

    dear justin , AUSCHWITZ is more near to you…

  7. Vodka says:

    anti spam word: siberia

  8. illlich says:

    I dont understand– what is the first picture, of all the houses? Stalin built the railway, I understand, but WHAT’s with the houses? Did they build a little town too? More pictures of the houses please.

  9. adios says:

    заключённые охотно шли на 501-ую так как им обещали урезать сроки.обещание сдержали.

  10. Largecanine says:

    I really like EnglishRussia. You have the coolest photos.

  11. Pros says:

    I second that.

  12. David Webb says:

    As far as can be discerned, this rail system was to be a freight line between two military bases. Stalin’s government did not have the funds to build either base, so the rail line was abandoned.

    Just another helpful tidbit from the All-Seeing Pie-In-The-Sky.

  13. Mike says:

    I love the vegetation :)

  14. [...] abandoned railroad in Abkhazia, Northern Siberia was built on Stalin’s orders in the middle of nowhere. Its original [...]

  15. Autoguy says:

    Thank you for the photos and incredible history of this! Using Google Earth, I seem to have found artifacts of this railroad.

    A remote work camp outpost:
    Lat 65.6972°
    Lon 71.7661°

    A remote bridge:
    Lat 65.6088°
    Lon 71.9813°

    Others have added photos to these locations. It appears as though the railroad line is used as a road for trucks as it goes near Nadym. If you have the coordinates of the photos above, please email them to me! Thank you once more.

    • John says:

      Hey Thanks Autoguy! I found it on Google earth. I can’t believe you can still see ruts in the ground and a road that runs beside the railroad track. Fascinating!

  16. [...] the badger next door. > ><http://englishrussia.com/?p=1808&gt; I went off to this one: http://englishrussia.com/?p=1305 Stalin’s train set… want! http://englishrussia.com/?p=1766 — Austin Shackles. [...]

  17. [...] Abandoned remains – englishrussia.com [...]

  18. ukrainian says:

    Looks like the original Stalker movie.

  19. Corran says:

    Reminds me HC`s “Life After Us”, especially trees growing on railway

  20. [...] projects που εγκαταλείφθησαν στη λήθη. Το ένα είναι ένας σιδηρόδρομος ανάμεσα σε δυο πόλεις της βόρειας Σι… -που δεν συνδεόταν με τίποτα άλλο- και το άλλο ένα [...]

  21. What a great amount of waste
    What are those houses in the first couple of photos ?

  22. xaniel says:

    Looks like it was abandoned way before USSR had collapsed. The equipment of that kind of hardly used by 1990 and the labels on jar of pickes and vodka bottle speak of pre-1980s.

  23. [...] second photo is from a series taken at an abandoned railway in Siberia.  I especially love shots that let you have a glimpse into the lives of the people who worked at [...]

  24. Paul says:

    Wow. Those are the biggest wooden matches I’ve ever seen. (4th picture down).

    Also, was that village in the first picture made up of railway cars?

  25. [...] at these photos and reading about Stalin’s Lost Railway is pretty fascinating.  How many projects were put into motion by those in power that have been [...]

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  27. Kevin says:

    Amazing pictures. I’ve read a great deal about this project but never seen pictures. My understanding is that thousands died working on this boondoggle. Would be a really interesting place to explore. Thanks for posting!

  28. You should have indicated there were more pictures below. The placement of the “beach disaster” video made me think you’d changed topics.

  29. stephen says:

    The Lost Railway

    These photos are invaluable to researchers such as me. I am currently completing considerable research for my 2nd book, You Have Two Hours to Pack. It is a true story about the deportation of one family to the Gulag; about the triumphs and tragedies of exiles. The Lost Railway is symptomatic of the misguided policies of Josef Stalin. True, he may have industrialized Siberia to a degree, but at what cost? To whom?

  30. DavidTehGnome says:

    Ummm, I don’t think it was a “boondoggle” or one of Stalin’s “misguided policies”. I’m pretty sure these where the gulags for political prisoners and those unwilling to accept communism. That’s why there was only one way in and even today, without the railway there is pretty much no way in. Sans helicopter that is. The fact that it is an area described above in this article one who’s use remains unclear is absolutely silly. This is where the reds sent Russians to die.

  31. name says:

    It may be as well a forced work camp site for post WWII deported. Soviets deported civilians of german origin to work camps in Siberia. Also war prisoners war deported until Stalin died along with political prisoners as well.

    It would be interesting to find stories about this places from survivors, probably now dead or nor surfing the net.

  32. sagar says:

    isn’t this the railway that thomas dicovers in the great dicovery of thomas and friends??

  33. si zhang says:

    hi guys, kinna late to crash the party, but i will still chip in my .14rmb any way. the railroads aren’t exactly from the middle of nowhere to nowhere. it’s actually spanning from towns at the mouth of two major rivers of siberia, ob’ and yenisei. the upper streams of those respective rivers are populated with people and goods navegating along the river whenever permissible.

  34. symphonic says:

    I know this can be really boring and you are skipping towards the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  35. [...] nbspnbspStalin’s Lost Railway nbspnbspAbanoned Military Signal Office Centre nbspnbspAbandoned MachinenbspnbspAn Abandoned Coastline Defense Canon Battery nbspnbspFreshly Abandoned nbspnbspMonuments of Russian AviationnbspnbspAn Abandoned Horror nbspnbspTallest Abandoned Structure nbspnbspFarewell to Alien Worlds: Abandoned Observatory [...]

  36. [...] nbspnbspStalin’s Lost Railway nbspnbspAbanoned Military Signal Office Centre nbspnbspAbandoned MachinenbspnbspAn Abandoned Coastline Defense Canon Battery nbspnbspFreshly Abandoned nbspnbspMonuments of Russian AviationnbspnbspAn Abandoned Horror nbspnbspTallest Abandoned Structure nbspnbspFarewell to Alien Worlds: Abandoned Observatory [...]

  37. Marko says:

    This can be Siberian prison camp (Stalin did sent everyone, who was or can be against Soviet union, in Syberia or far far from home. Iven elderlis and children. Everyone had to work in forestor somwhere else on hard labor! Thous workers cams was really a prison camps. Nobody cudent live there before they self where dead or after Stalins teth!!!) But im not sure, that, this is same gind of camp :(

  38. yim says:

    scrappers metal dream cash just wasting away

  39. Flemming Gundersen says:

    Recent years some parts of the railway have been rebuilt, and new lines constructed to connect lines with the general Russian railway system. The claims that the line was an idea only of a brutal dictator with no purpose at all, is in no way the right way to consider this project. And it is totally incorrect that the line has never been used at all. Some parts of it did function.
    It was part of developing the remote areas of Siberia by combining ports at the rivers Ob and Jenisej in order to explore minerals and other resources.
    I am not at all defending the use of forced labour – i.e. political prisoners in the Gulag system, in this case camp 501 and 503. I suppose that the photos of the barracks are from these camps.
    I refer to the article in Wikipedia – English version – from 2016 called: “Salekhard-Igarka Railway”.

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