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25 Dec 2002 08:20
Even if it took over 73 years to power up the world’s longest railway, the Trans-Siberian is now fully electrified, officials said on Wednesday.
The 9,000-kilometre railway, which had been built in the early 20th century, could now handle heavy-loaded electric trains, an important achievement for the route used by 30% of Russia’s exports and 25% of transit cargo, the railway’s
spokesman Gennady Vedernikov said.
“The trains’ weight can be doubled now, reaching up to 6 000 tons, and they would be able to go non-stop from Vladivostok (in the Pacific) to Brest (on Russia’s western borders) at the speed of 120 kilometres an hour,” he said.
“For the first time the Trans-Siberian will function as a whole,” he added.
Even though the Trans-Siberian’s electrification was launched in 1929, it took a long time to spread along its great length, due to harsh conditions and then lack of financing, Vedernikov explained. However, electrification was only part of the massive upgrading Russia was due to carry out ahead of construction of a rail link
that would connect the Trans-Siberian with the railroad traversing the two Koreas.
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