Baikal Amur Mainline

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The Baikal-Amur Mainline (Russian Байкало-Амурская Магистраль, Baikalo-Amurskaya Magistral’, BAM) is a 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 56 in) broad gauge railway line in Russia. Traversing Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East, the 4,324 km (2,687 mile) long BAM runs about 610 to 770 km (380 to 480 miles) north of and parallel to the Trans-Siberian railway.

The BAM was built as a strategic alternative route to the Trans-Siberian Railway, especially along the vulnerable sections close to the border with China. The BAM's costs were estimated at $14 billion, and it was built with special, durable tracks since much of it was built over permafrost. Due to the severe terrain, weather and length and cost the Soviet Union described BAM as "the construction project of the century."[1]

Contents

Route

The BAM departs from the Trans-Siberian railway at Tayshet, then crosses the Angara River at Bratsk and the Lena River at Ust-Kut, proceeds past Severobaikalsk at the northern tip of Lake Baikal, past Tynda and Khani, crosses the Amur River at Komsomolsk-na-Amure and finally reaches the Pacific Ocean at Sovetskaya Gavan. There are 21 tunnels along the line, with a total length of 47 km (29 miles). There are also more than 4,200 bridges, with a total length of over 400 km (about 260 miles).[2]

Of the whole route, only the western Tayshet-Taksimo sector of 1,469 km (913 miles) is electrified. The route is largely single-track, although the reservation is wide enough for double-tracking for its full length, in the case of eventual duplication.

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