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Russia's railway transport marks its 170th jubilee on Tuesday
Russia's railway transport marks its 170th jubilee on Tuesday. This day in 1837 the hoot of a steam locomotive, the Provorny (brisk), marked the inauguration of the country's first, 27-kilometre-long, railway that ran from St Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo. The first railway ran along quite a straight line with the sole curvature near a bridge over Obvodny (bypass) Canal. There were four stations -- Petersburg, Shushary, Tsarskoye Selo, and Pavlovsk -- along the route. The railway was devised and built by Franz Anton von Gerstner, Professor of Geodesy at Vienna Polytechnical Institute. Trains traveled at a speed of 32.8 km an hour. It took them 42 minutes to cover the entire distance. At first, traveling by rail was reckoned exclusively the privilege of the rich. Subsequently, coaches were also provided for commoners. Years have elapsed since those days, with the railway network gaining in scope. Nowadays the overall length of railways is over 86,999 km. An official in the Russian Railways Company (RRC) has told Itar-Tass, "By length of tracks in use, our railways rank second in the world after those of the United States". All the industrial-use tracks linking factories and enterprises with common-use railways are of approximately the same length. By the length of electrified railways, 42,300 km, Russia holds the leading position in the world. "By 2010, the overall length of such lines will be brought up to 44,500 km," the RRC official said. Railways account for 80.3 percent of freight transportation and 44 percent of passenger transportation. The railway rolling stock comprises about 17,500 locomotives, more than 7,700 electric trains, about 45,000 passenger coaches, and 500,000 freight cars. Last year alone, railways carried 1,350 million passengers.
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