Dead railway

Stalinís concentration camps the railway Igarka Ė Salechard

Stalinís concentration camps ( 1 )

Stalinís concentration camps ( 2 )

Dead railway

Stalinís pantheon


Stalinís camps, 503 constructions.

In 1949 Soviet management was accepted the decision about construction of the polar railway Igarka - Salehard. Built this road the prisoners. The road long 1263 kms in total. Road runs on 200 kilometers to the south of the Polar circle. The problems of construction were down to not only climatic and geographical problems - permafrost and ten-monthly winter. The line should cross a great number of brooks, streams and large rivers. Above the small rivers were built wooden or concrete bridges, across the Ob River the ferry was carried out in the summer by heavy ferries, in the winter - on rails and cross ties, which were fixed directly on ice. The ice for this purpose specially became stronger. The existence zimnikov- temporary highways is characteristic for Northern areas of Siberia which are laid in the winter, after the snow drops out, and the numerous bogs and rivers become covered by ice. To make automobile ferries across the rivers more reliable, on the places of moving put an addition ice - water with water, increasing thickness of ice. The railwayís ice ferries not just watered with water, into this ferries was iced log, cross ties. The device of ice ferries for railway transportation - unique invention of the Soviet engineers, probably, it was used only for construction of a road Igarka - Saleherd. The construction was conducted from two sides at the same time, from the side of Ob river - 501 constructions and from the side of Yenisei - 503 constructions. 

We could visit the railway from the side of 503 constructions. There were made our photos. 

Along the single-track on the all line on distance 5 - 10 kms from each other were built the camps. These camps are stand till now. Many from them were perfectly kept. To make escape from camp was impossible. The general road was supervised by security. The only way to freedom laid to Yenisei, then upwards on it 1700 kms up to Krasnoyarsks or on north of 700 kms up to a mouth of Yenisei or up to Dudinka and Norilsk, which also were build by prisoners and were under protection. All necessary for construction, from a brick and nail up to a steam locomotive was delivered from continent. For 503 constructions the delivery of cargoes was carried out at the first on Trans Siberian highway by railway up to Krasnoyarsks, then downwards on Yenisei in the summer time by river vessel. The barges delivered rails, steam locomotives, cars, handcar which are stand in tundra till now. In the years after war the rails in  USSR was not enough. The rails were taken off from working directions and delivered. On rails and big nail of the road the most various dates of release since 1892.The wood was needed to be delivered. On the all width of construction of the road there is tundra and forest tundra, the building wood is not present. It specially prepared on the south and delivered by raft downwards on Yenisei . In winter time, after termination of navigation the large delivery of cargoes from continent was impossible. The navigation on Yenisei lasts 3-4 months. 

Absence of sufficient material maintenance forced constantly to search for the extraordinary engineering and building decisions. The roofs of barracks in camps are covered not with slate or with tip-plated sheet metal. For roofs was used short wooden log, which were broke up in particular way. Exactly, they were broke up, instead of were sawn. In 40 years after construction roofs like this continued to carry out the functions. 

By 1953 - year of Stalinís death - the forces of prisoner were constructed more than 900 kilometers single -track of the railway. After death of the Leader the construction was hastily completed. Camps, steam locomotives, bridges, other property were simply thrown in tundra. The great construction which has taken away life more of 300 000 men was finished by a failure. Within several next years the insignificant part of property was taken out, on some parts near Ob and Yenisei the rails are taken off.

Our group within the framework of the Soviet -American projects ę California Siberia " has visited the road in July, 1991. To the railway and camps we took off by helicopters MI - 8 from Turuhansk.

Except for Photograph of the railway and camps you can see the unique pictures of Stalinís Pantheon . Near a road Igarka - Salehard there is a settlement Kureika, where after verdict of imperial court been in prison Iosif Dzhugashvilly, Stalinís comrade. In the soviet time above a log hut, in which Stalin was lived, was built the large building with glass show-windows - Pantheon. Close to a building there was a massif statue of the Leader and the vessel on Yenisei could see it. A statue after an exposure of a cult of the person has dumped in Yenisei . Pantheon has stood till the beginning the ninetieth years, then it was burnt. But on the submitted photographs it still almost whole. A statue at the end of the ninetieth years tried to lift from the bottom of the river some Georgians. But they couldnít do anything. Close to the Pantheon it is possible to see the rests of exemplary - indicative economy with hothouses, waterpipe and small power station.

At the end of 20 centuries  the Pantheon was burnt. You can see the rest of it on the last pictures.

If you will find any words, which wasnít translated correctly or any mistakes, please inform us about it. Thank you.

© Alexey Voevodin, 2000. All rights reserved

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