Skip to main content
Select Source:

Trans-Siberian Railway

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY

The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway between 1891 and 1916 ended the era of great transcontinental railway building. The Trans-Siberian stretches 5,776 miles between Moscow's Yaroslavsky Station and Vladivostok (6,117 miles from St. Petersburg). It takes a minimum of a week to traverse that distance by train.

The longest railway in the world, the Trans-Siberian project was mired in controversy from the moment Tsarevich Nicholas shoveled an inaugural spade full of dirt into an awaiting wheelbarrow in Vladivostok on May 31, 1891, until the completion of the Amur River Bridge at Khabarovsk in 1916. A technological marvel at the time, it soon bore the reputation of "a monument to bungling." The rails and crossties were too light, causing frequent derailments; the wooden bridges were flimsy; and, since the builders were mostly exiles and convicts, there was justifiable reason to believe that much of the line had been sabotaged.

Moreover, the estimated costs in 1916 U.S. dollars ranged from $770 million to $1 billion, which represented one-fifth of Russia's national debt at the time. During its construction, the Trans-Siberian was a serious drain on the Russian economy and, between 1914 and 1916, on the war effort. Despite the criticism, the great railway more than paid for itself during the twentieth century. Still the only transportation artery to span Siberia and the Russian Far East, the Trans-Siberian has solidified Moscow's hold on Russia's eastern periphery.

Fanatically supported by high-ranking tsarist officials like Count Sergei Witte (18491915) and Anatoly Kulomzin (18381924), the Trans-Siberian's influence was immediate. The annual number of migrants to Siberia and the Russian Far East doubled (to 88,000) between 1896 and 1904 and then doubled again (to 174,000) between 1905 and 1914. Between 1895 and 1916, a total of 2.5 million land-poor peasants migrated to the region from European Russia. This Great Siberian Migration represented 57 percent of everyone who had migrated to Siberia and the Russian Far East since 1796. Additionally, the Siberian economy, which had been almost nonexistent, exploded. New settlers rapidly cultivated West Siberia's virgin black earth, doubling the sown area. The region quickly became one of Russia's major breadbaskets. Flour mills sprang up like mushrooms. West Siberia's butter industry jumped from nonexistence to becoming the second leading butter exporter behind Denmark. Virtually every railhead had sawmills, stockyards, and slaughterhouses. Without the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Siberia's industrial revolution never would have succeeded.

The Trans-Siberian's principal commodities are coal, oil and oil products, and wood and wood products. Major non-Russian users of the railway, which is now double-tracked and electrified for much of its distance, are China, Japan, and South Korea.

See also: railways; siberia; trade routes

bibliography

Marks, Steven G. (1991). Road to Power. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Mote, Victor L. (1998). Siberia: Worlds Apart. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Treadgold, Donald. (1957). The Great Siberian Migration. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Tupper, Harmon. (1965). To the Great Ocean. Boston: Little, Brown.

Victor L. Mote

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Trans-Siberian Railway." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Trans-Siberian Railway." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/trans-siberian-railway

"Trans-Siberian Railway." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved May 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/trans-siberian-railway

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Trans-Siberian Railway

Trans-Siberian Railway Russian railway from Moscow to Vladivostok. The world's longest railway, the major part, e from Chelyabinsk, was built between 1891 and 1905, giving Russia access to the Pacific via a link with the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria. Total length: c.9000km (5750mi).

http://www.trans-siberia.com

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Trans-Siberian Railway." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Trans-Siberian Railway." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/trans-siberian-railway

"Trans-Siberian Railway." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/trans-siberian-railway

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Trans-Siberian Railway

Trans-Siberian Railway a railway running from Moscow east around Lake Baikal to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan. Begun in 1891 and virtually completed by 1904, it opened up Siberia and advanced Russian interest in eastern Asia.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Trans-Siberian Railway." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Trans-Siberian Railway." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/trans-siberian-railway

"Trans-Siberian Railway." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved May 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/trans-siberian-railway

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.