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Georgian Railway LLC is the national rail company of the country of Georgiamarker.

A vital artery linking the Black Seamarker and the Caspian Seamarker, it sits on the shortest route between the Europe and Central Asia. Built to standard Russian gauge, at present the fully electrified mainline of the Georgian Railway is 1323.9 km in length, consisting of 1422 bridges, 32 tunnels, 22 passenger and 114 freight stations.

History

Founded in 1865, operations started in 1871 between Potimarker and Kvirila (present day Zestaponimarker). The first passenger train ran on October 10, 1872, from Poti arrived to Tbilisimarker.

From this central spine, the railway network expanded with links to: Rioni to Kutaisimarker (1877), Rioni-Tkibuli (1887), Zestafoni to Chiaturamarker (1895). The Tbilisi to Bakumarker line became operational in 1883, allowing transportation of Azerbaijanmarker oil through the port of Batumimarker. In 1899 the railway connection between Georgia and Armeniamarker was established. The Khashurimarker to Borjomimarker link was built in 1894, with the Borjomi to Bakurianimarker narrow-gauge line operational from 1902, to serve the higher level skiing community. The Kakhetimarker railway branch line was completed in 1915.

The second major development of Georgian railways was due to rapid industrialisation and need for better distribution of agricultural products, including tea, citrus and wine produce. This resulted in the construction of the branch lines to: Natanebi-Ozurgetimarker (1924); Brotseula-Tskaltubo (1934), Senakimarker-Ingiri-Gali (1930), Gali-Ochamchiremarker-Sokhumimarker (1938), Gori-Tskhinvalimarker (1940). The construction of the Sokhumimarker-Adler allowing direct connection to the Russian railway network started during the World War II, and was in full operation by 1949.

The new Marabdamarker to Akhalkalakimarker line opened on 31 December 1986. Presently, plans are under way to rehabilitate this line and extend to across the Turkish border to Kars, thus re-creating a direct Kars–Tbilisi–Baku route. (Between 1899 and 1993, rail travel between Kars and Tbilisi was possible via Gyumri , but that route was broken in 1993 with the closing of the Turkish-Armenian border.)

Infrastructure

A preserved Class Ss locomotive of 1933, built for the Surami pass
Due to the challenging mountainous geography of Georgia, railway engineers have often been faced with some difficult challenges. In 1890 the dual tracking of the Tsipa tunnel was completed, allowing faster passage of East-West traffic.

On August 16, 1932 for the first time in the USSRmarker, the first electric traction train ran in the Suramimarker pass. The General Electric Company produced the initial eight electric locomotives of Class S for the service, followed by an additional 21 Class Ss built by the Kolomnamarker and Dinamo works between 1932 and 1934. By November 1967 all Georgian railway was electrified, including the Borjomi-Bakuriani narrow-gauge line.

Post World War II , from 1946 the USSR army engineers with the prospect of connection to their system introduced modern communications, automatisation and Automatic Block Signalling systems. This was followed by the introduction of on train and guard radio communication systems, a process which was completed by 1949.

Present day

Gori station, showing freight yard
Present day Georgian Railway passenger train
Following the dissolution of the USSRmarker, the Georgian Government took control of many of the key assets of the new country, and undertook an aggressive privatisation campaign. The railway assets of Georgia were formed into the new 100% government owned company The Georgian Railway LLC, which operates under the public law of the Enterprise Management Agency, part of the Ministry of Economic Development. It is charged with both management and maintenance of the rail infrastructure, as well as all operations of passenger and freight services. The team which forms the management body consist of: The Assembly of Partners, Supervisory Board and the Board of Directors.

Incidents

Following the 2008 South Ossetia war, Russian army forces entered parts of Georgia and damaged key Georgian assets. This included a railway bridge near the western Georgian town of Kaspimarker, and application of mines to the mainline west of Gori resulted in the complete derailment and resultant fire of an oil train.

The lines located in Abkhaziamarker and South Ossetiamarker are not under control of Georgian Railways. Lines from Nikozimarker to Tskhinvalimarker (5 km) and from Ochamchiramarker to Inguri River are not in use. Lines from Psou River to Ochamchiramarker and from Ochamchiramarker to Tkvarchelimarker are operated by Abkhazian Railways.

Railway links with adjacent countries



See also



References

  1. Станцию Ахалкалаки в Грузии спроектируют в Азербайджане (Georgia's Akhalkalaki station will be designed by an Azerbaijani firm). Interfax, 17.11.2009.


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