The Japanese narrow-gauge railway existed for 75 years and hindered the development of the region
The traffic on the last railway section on the Island of Sakhalin has been switched to a broad-gauge rail line. Now, trains run on the Island of Sakhalin across all 62 new bridges built by BTS-MOST Group of Companies.
On December 8, specialists of STROY-TREST JSC, a member of BTS-MOST Group, completed construction and installation works at the last railway section from Makarov to Tumanovo: within a 20-hour track possession 459 meters of track superstructure were laid, including the track superstructure on three bridges.
“This is the last and most difficult section of our project on railway conversion from the Japanese 1,067 mm track gauge to the Russian standard 1,520 mm gauge. After the traffic switching, we will have to disassemble non-operational tracks and remove supports of the old bridges, we plan to complete all the work by the end of the year,” said Alexander Aleksanin, Head of STROY-TREST JSC Branch Office in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
A passenger train from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Nogliki was the first one to run along the new section.
Modernisation of Sakhalin railway infrastructure is a unique project in terms of its scale, which is aimed at eliminating transport constraints for the development of the region. The first narrow-gauge railway was built after the Russian-Japanese War of 1905, when part of the island was given to Japan. As a result of World War II, Russia regained control of the island. Since then the narrow gauge has existed for 75 years. During this time, trains arriving by ferry from the mainland with a broad gauge had to “change shoes” to fit the local narrow gauge.
The project implemented by BTS-MOST Group included construction and reconstruction of 62 bridges, as well as respiking of 700 km of railway tracks of the island mainline. The construction of new bridges was necessary, since it was impossible to lay the Russian gauge railway tracks on the Japanese bridges because of their dimensions and characteristics.