12 Construction of Baikal-Amur Mainline Railroad

Construction of Baikal-Amur Mainline Railroad

Posted on November 27, 2014 by tim


The Baikal Amur railroad was “A project of a century” as Brezhnev said. It was a railroad to connect the middle of Siberia with the Pacific coast, with a length over 4,300 kms. And again, like the story of the exploration of the lands we had earlier, the main power to accomplish this were the young Soviets. They were attracted there by romantic stories of the exploration, a big help to the state, new horizons which will open this road to others, etc. You might find this naive and not too motivating, but in the country where most of the people were getting the same payments and where there was not much diversity in the stores, and where the apartments were given away by the state and were not purchased, it made sense. People flocked there for a bit higher pay, for doing something new, to be useful, and of course to get free housing, etc. Songs were written about this project, people came from different parts of USSR to take part in it.

And again, young people were the most active in this.

Huge machinery was used to make the tunnels through Siberian hills.

The helicopters were constantly transporting people in and out.

Engineers, just regular workers, etc.

Coming with their dogs, for a romantic adventure of exploration.

Those builders come from “Lietuva” – or modern day Lithuania.

The conditions were harsh. Because of excess harshness special types of frost proof equipment were used, including some new types of rails that didn’t deform in extra cold weather and permafrost.

Geologists in action.

And even the divers to help build bridges, etc. They say the total cost of the road was over $13B, yes thirteen billion dollars.

And because there were plenty of young people it was sort of very romantic.


Across the network:

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12 Responses to “Construction of Baikal-Amur Mainline Railroad”

  1. Andrew says:

    Another useless soviet road to nowhere.

    • al-muell says:

      another useless ignorant…

      • Darius says:

        Why? He is right to some extent. There was already a parallel railway there, a bit more south then the BAM. The BAM project was the most expensive infrastructure project in USSR, but till this day it still does not payoff. Maybe now with more and more mining industry in the east part of Russia it will start to payoff some day.

        • Andrew says:

          BTW it’s perfect idea to send active young people far away to make something useless. Virgin Lands Campaign, numerous building projects on North, Siberia and Far East. Active people are far and busy. Party bosses can sleep easily.

  2. john says:

    Very interesting photos, thanks,

  3. Erik says:

    I am constantly delighted and sometimes saddened in how you capture the heart of the matter . Thank You English Russia

  4. petrohof says:

    where did it all go?

  5. CZenda says:

    IIRC, the useless project was called “the longest monument of Brezhnev´s stagnation”.

  6. Jasom Dotnet says:

    “It’s all gone now” But railway stands!

    Greeting from Slovakia

  7. Jim William says:

    It is good to see a different side of Russia than the one I was raised to believe. Thanks!

  8. UncleMyMy says:

    All I can think of when looking at this story is “DEVCHATA”. Doesn’t hurt to have a little idealism.

  9. George says:

    A great story, cant help be captivated by it. This line seems like a great gift to Russia from the Soviet Union. Infrastructure like this can only pay off – eventually.

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