7 The Most Northern Railway

The Most Northern Railway

0_150d89_c6e58008_XXLNorilsk railway – this is one of the most northern railway of the world, certainly in Russia. Moreover, it is the largest isolated railway network of broad gauge (1,520 mm) in the territory of the former USSR. The nearest network Railways station is approximately in 700 kilometers. By the way, it is not included in the structure of Russian Railways, and has been a part of Norilsk Nickel. It passes a large part of cargos of the Polar Division. This year, it has a great holiday, February 12, it celebrated its 80th anniversary. Many in childhood, surely dreamed of in-cab ride trains, ride this powerful iron horses, but I’m lucky to be here just now, in Norilsk town, and this is my story today.

After the Government of the USSR in 1935 year decided to build in the Norilsk Iron and Steel Works, they also decided to build a the narrow-gauge railway next to it. Its construction began in the fall of 1935 year. The first locomotive was launched on February 12, 1936 year from Norilsk to Valek Airport (in Krasnoyarsk krai).

1945. Overhaul of the locomotive


In June 1936, began further building narrow-gauge line length of 114 km from Norilsk to the port of Dudinka. Building of the road was in very difficult conditions, while running out dates. This was the North, snow, wind, the road was constantly snowed up. And then one of the prisoners who built the road, Mikhail Potapov, invented shields from the snow, and people still use them. May 17, 1937 year is considered to be an official date of completion of the construction. And the next day from Dudinka in Norilsk came out the first train, which arrived at its destination three days later. Then there were problems with the ground and other difficulties, but nothing could stop them, everything was fixed.

1963. Construction of the railway Norilsk-Talnakh

Narrow-gauge railway was certainly good, but they needed 1520 mm, it was theur new goal, which would significantly increase the capacity of the road. In the summer of 1941, a broad-gauge rolling stock arrived at Dudinka port from the “big land” and in August they began operating the first five-kilometer section of the railway ( “Zero picket” – Mine “Coal Stream”) broad-gauge near Norilsk. In 1942, one of broad areas was even electrified.

1960. The first locomotive at the station Oktyabrskaya, Norilsk

Administrative building of Enterprises of rail transport technology. It used to be a railway station, and to keep the atmosphere of the time, in 2010 it was decided to open a Museum of the History of Norilsk railway.

In July 1950, the first train passed through the broad gauge from Norilsk to Kayerkan. November 22, 1952 the first train from Dudinka arrived at Norilsk on the wide track . It took another two years to forget about the narrow-gauge railway.

Initially, there were some plans: Norilsk railway should be linked with trans-railway which was built in 1948. It had to tie the Yenisei port of Igarka with the main railway network. That would be a way out for Norilsk not to be isolated. But after Stalin’s death it was decided to abandon from such exploits.

In 1957, Norilsk Railroad began to run electric multiple Average, which in 1985 have been replaced by electric trains ER1 and ER2. These electric trains plied the routes Oktyabrskaya (Norilsk) – Coal mine, Oktyabrskaya – Airport, Airport – Dudinka, Oktyabrskaya – Dudinka, Oktyabrskaya – Kayerkan.0_150d79_f88d53cd_XXL

Rail stamps.

Wheelset. One of the narrow gauge railway, the other pair is of the usual rut.

Model of locomotive TE109


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7 Responses to “The Most Northern Railway”

  1. Papa Karlo says:

    I’m wondering if the museum lists how many people died building this railroad.
    As for the reason it was never connected to the main railroad system – the Soviet Union just ran out of manpower. Somehow the “genius” Stalin thought that manpower is “renewable” and no matter how many millions you waste in wars and labor camps, there will always be millions new to waste. However even a “genius” like Stalin cannot defeat the laws of physics and nature – if you kill your citizens by tens of millions, you will eventually run out of them. Which was exactly what happened.

    • Rashomon says:

      …”I’m wondering if the museum lists how many people died building..”. Perhaps the Union Pacific Railway can tell how many people (and natives) were killed while uniting both American coasts! Please let us know.

      I’m sure everybody in your paranoid dimension, is also asking that question every time they see a train, like you do, “Karlo” boy.

  2. Papa Karlo says:

    That billboard should say “We a creating the wealth of the owners of our company”.

    • Rashomon says:

      You see, “Karlo” boy, you also ‘forgot’ that a train transports people and goods, creating “wealth” to all kinds of users.

      But maybe that’s ANOTHER thing that doesn’t happen in your far away, dark dimension. –LOL.
      I wonder why….

  3. Pom2Ter says:

    You’re back Papa Karlo??? Why did you decide to come back and post all your nonsense again?

  4. john dudley says:

    Great posting,and very interesting read,great to see old pictures of trains,but i dont think i could live there to much winter.

  5. Pom2Ter says:

    Send Papa Karlo up there with a one way ticket please…

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