Baikal Amur Mainline
|Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM)|
|Route length:||3819 km|
|Gauge :||1520 mm ( Russian gauge )|
|Power system :||
to Taksimo (1469 km):
25 kV / 50 Hz ~
The Baikal-Amur Mainline (abbreviated BAM , Russian Байка́ло-Аму́рская магистра́ль / БАМ ) is a railway line that branches off from the Trans-Siberian Railway in the East Siberian city of Tayshet and ends in the city of Sovetskaya Gawan . After preliminary work, construction began in 1974. In 1984 the two ends of the line, driven by east and west, were connected. Continuous operation began in 1989.
The BAM runs north and roughly parallel to the Trans-Siberian Railway (Transsib). The middle sections of the BAM are about 400 to 500 km further north than the Transsib. About 1,800 kilometers of the main line are in Eastern Siberia , the remaining 2,480 kilometers run through the Far East . The BAM crosses several rivers that are among the longest rivers in Russia, including a. the Angara , the Lena and the Amur . 20 kilometers of the route run directly on the shore of Lake Baikal . The main line leads through several high mountain systems, such as the Stanowoi highlands or the Sichote-Alin . The Stanovoi highlands are passed through the Severomuisk tunnel - the longest railway tunnel in Russia.
First plans and start of construction
The first plans to develop the Baikal - Amur area with traffic engineering were already drafted at the beginning of the 19th century, among others by the Decembrists , who were exiled to Siberia . After initial research and planning in the 1920s and 1930s, the official building decision was made in April 1932 and construction work began. During the construction, prisoners were used on a large scale in forced labor . For this purpose, a special Gulag subdivision, the BAMLag, with its main base and administrative headquarters in Svobodny on the Transsib, was set up. The first section was opened in 1937 on the 20th anniversary of the October Revolution . During the Second World War , the construction work was interrupted, some parts of the line were even dismantled because rails and sleepers for the construction of the railway line ( Kazan - Ulyanovsk -) Saratov - Stalingrad - also called Volga Rochade - to supply the Red Army in the Battle of Stalingrad were urgently needed.
The section from Komsomolsk to Sovetskaya Gawan was completed on July 20, 1945 and immediately used as far as Port Vanino to transport the invasion troops for the occupation of Sakhalin . Japanese prisoners of war were soon used to build further routes. After the war, construction continued to a lesser extent. After Stalin's death in 1953, work came to a complete standstill. The completed easternmost section from Komsomolsk to the northwest was only used as a connecting railway to transport wood.
Major Soviet project
At the beginning of the 1970s, construction was resumed, which was lavishly accompanied by propaganda . The project was supported by the other Comecon countries, in particular through the delivery of material and equipment. In 1974, as part of the so-called Delta Project , the Soviet Union ordered around 9,500 heavy construction trucks from Magirus-Deutz from the Federal Republic of Germany , which were particularly suitable for use in Siberia due to their air-cooled engines. On September 26, 1975, the 1,437 m long Amur Bridge 16 km south of Komsomolsk, the longest of the approximately 3,000 bridges on the route today, could be used for the first time. The construction of the line was driven forward from both the west and the east. The date of completion and "birthday" of the BAM 27 October 1984 applies where the last one, the "Golden track panel " at Balbuchta (kilometer 1,602) was transferred between the two track ends.
The BAM has been continuously passable since 1989, but the Severomuisk tunnel , which was not yet completed at that time, had to be bypassed first via a 61-kilometer bypass. The tunnel was only inaugurated for regular operation at the end of 2003 and, at 15,343 meters, is the longest tunnel in Russia.
Since the mid-1980s, the BAM project has been viewed increasingly critically. The building was justified both militarily and economically. Since, with the crisis and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, large previously planned mining and industrial projects in the BAM catchment area were no longer being built, the route was only lightly traveled, especially until the end of the 1990s, it worked in deficit and was generally viewed as a bad investment. Even today, passenger traffic hardly generates any sales, as most of the area passed through is very sparsely populated. Only one long-distance train runs daily between Tynda and Komsomolsk am Amur. In 1996 the independent railway administration of the Baikal-Amur-Magistrale was dissolved. The western section to about Chani (mostly on the territories of the Irkutsk Oblast , the Republic of Buryatia and the Transbaikalia Region ) came to the East Siberian Railway , the rest (on the territory of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) , the Amur Oblast and the Khabarovsk region ) to Far Eastern Railway . A route closure was also considered.
However, with the raw material boom in recent years and the upswing of the Russian economy, transport services grew. It began to implement plans from the 1970s, e.g. B. to develop the ore deposits Udokan and Tschina near Novaya Tschara and one of the largest coal deposits in Eurasia, Elga, with reserves of 2.1 billion tons in southeast sacha (Yakutia).
The connections established before 1974 are also included in the BAM:
- in the west between Ust-Kut and Taischet on the Transsib,
- in the east between Komsomolsk on the Amur and the Pacific near Sovetskaya Gawan .
The line is about 4,280 kilometers long and was mostly built on a single track. The two-track sections were subsequently expanded
- Taischet– Lena Bridge near Ust-Kut (length 787 kilometers) and
- some smaller sections:
There is also a freight bypass route at Novy Urgal . The superstructure of the entire route is prepared for a double-track expansion. The western section Taischet - Taksimo (1469 kilometers) is electrified .
Branches and connections
At Tynda , the BAM is crossed by the Amur-Yakut Magistrale (AJAM), which runs from the Transsib (Bamovskaya station, route kilometer 7273) over the mining area around Neryungri to the north in the direction of Yakutsk , but temporarily ends at Tommot am Aldan . Between Tynda and Bestuschewo, both routes have a common section. The original section of the Amur-Yakut main line from Bamovskaya to Neryungri is also known as the "Little BAM".
In connection with the raw material boom, several branch lines starting at BAM were built and others started. The construction of the 320-kilometer branch line from Ulak station, west of the Seja crossing in the northwest of Amur Oblast , to Elga was discontinued in 2002 due to financial problems after the laying of around 60 kilometers of track. In October 2007, the Russian mining company Mechel bought the coal deposit and the unfinished railway line for 2.3 billion US dollars. The Japanese Sumitomo Group will also invest in the project. On February 15, 2008, the construction of the line was resumed, in which Mechel invested 1 billion dollars. The completion and start of coal production was initially targeted for 2010, but was delayed due to renewed financing problems. The route is complex as the Stanowoi Mountains , which are around 2000 meters high , have to be crossed. 194 bridges are to be built.
Because of the difficult terrain (and partly also outdated technology), multiple traction is used, especially in freight traffic .
The construction of the BAM not only meant a new connection, but also the demographic and economic development of a previously almost undeveloped region. It should not only improve the economic connection between the east and the west of the country, but also international economic relations, especially with Japan . In addition to the railway line, a large amount of other infrastructure had to be built, such as settlements, energy systems and roads. Among other things, the BAM was built for strategic military reasons because the eastern section of the Transsib runs near the Chinese border, which was viewed as a potential hazard.
The BAM is to be established as an alternative route to the Transsib for container transport from the Pacific region and East Asia to Europe and vice versa. However, the predominant single track and the lack of connections at the eastern end of the line stand in the way. The extension of the route to Sakhalin (bridge or tunnel) or even to Japan has been considered over and over again, which - at least at the moment - does not pay off economically. For example, work on the construction of a tunnel to Sakhalin and connecting routes , which had already begun under Stalin, has now been stopped (around 2003). The related change of gauge from the previously narrow-gauge ( 1067 mm ) lines on Sakhalin to Russian broad-gauge will be continued step by step.
in alphabetical order by authors / editors
- Johannes Grützmacher: The Baikal-Amur-Magistrale. From the Stalinist camp to the mobilization project under Brežnev = systems of order. Studies on the history of ideas in modern times 38. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 2012. ISBN 978-3-486-70494-5
- Olivier Rolin : Baikal-Amur - a travelogue . Translated from the French by Holger Fock and Sabine Müller, Liebeskind Verlag, 2018, 190 pages. ISBN 978-3-95438-093-0 .
- Andreas Röhr: The Bajkal-Amur Mainline. History of a Siberian space development project . Logos, Berlin 2012. ISBN 978-3-8325-3192-8 .
- Peter Schille, photos Wilfried Bauer: BAM: Departure to Eastern Siberia . In: Geo-Magazin 6/1976, pp. 26–54.
- Athol Yates, Nicholas Zvegintzov: Siberian BAM Guide . 2nd Edition. Trailblazer, Hindhead 2001. ISBN 1-873756-18-6
- Search for Baikal-Amur-Magistrale in the German Digital Library
- Search for Baikal-Amur-Magistrale in the SPK digital portal of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
- BAM private homepage (English)
- A travel report from 1995
- TV report on ARTE ( Memento from February 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
- The Korschunicha exception .