Our country, Russia, stretches across two continents, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The first railway in Russia using steam traction was an industrial line at Nizhni Tagil in the Urals, built in 1834, for which the first two steam locomotives in the country were constructed by father and son. named Cherepanov. The first public railway was the Peterburg — Pavlovsk railway. At first it was opened from Pavlovsk to Tsarskoye Selo with horse traction in October, 1836. Locomotives were introduced in 1837.
The first important railway construction from Petersburg to Moscow was begun in 1843 and opened to public traffic in 1851. That was a first-class double-track railway line, which linked two large industrial and cultural centers. It had 644 km in length, 185 bridges and 19 viaducts were erected to make the line as straight and level as possible.
Since 1890 to 1900 more than 11,000 miles of railway were built. By the end of 1925 the railway system had grown to 46,300 miles! The Baikal-Amur Line, more than 3,000 km long, was built in the Far East of our country, and the process of building new railway lines is going on.
Today railway transport is quite different than that in old times. There are many thousands of locomotives, hundreds of thousands of cars and oil-cisterns. The trains today go much faster. The whole wagon fleet was fitted with continuous brakes, and hundreds of thousands of wagons were equipped with automatic couplings. Many old lines were improved and electrified and the use of diesel traction was begun. Heavy rails were laid extensively and a substantial mileage was equipped with automatic block signaling.
Railway transport is still one of the cheapest ways of hauling freight over long distances. Communications are important to the national economy of a country. Without good roads and railways a country cannot develop its resources and industry. Without roads it is impossible to market agricultural produce.
1. When was the railway construction begun in Russia?
2. By whom was the first steam locomotive constructed in Russia?
3. Where was the first public railway constructed?
4. How was the railway system changed in the 20th century?
5. What was the whole wagon fleet equipped with?
6. What can you say about the first-class double- track railway line which linked two capitals?
7. Why is railway transport so important for the country and people?
8. Is railway transport the best one? Why?