Trans-Siberian Railroad, rail line, linking European Russia with the Pacific coast. Its construction began in 1891, on the initiative of Count S. Y. Witte, and was completed in 1905. The completion of the railroad greatly affected the history of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and modern Russia by opening up Siberia to development.
The original line began at Chelyabinsk and ran generally east through Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, and Chita; it traversed Manchuria and reentered Russian territory before ending at Vladivostok. The Manchurian section of the line is known as the Chinese Eastern RR. The present Trans-Siberian RR branches off from the original line at Chita to follow, roughly, the Amur and Ussuri rivers and reaches Vladivostok by way of Khabarovsk; it lies entirely in Russian territory. The Moscow-Vladivostok run is 5,785 mi (9,310 km); the electrification of the entire line was only completed in 2002. The line carries both freight and passengers.
The Trans-Siberian RR now has several branch lines, notably the line connecting Omsk with Yekaterinburg. A branch to Ust-Kut connects with the Baykal-Amur Mainline (BAM). The railroad is also linked with the Turkistan-Siberia RR.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.