"Trans-Siberian Incident": Why the Collapse of the Railway Service is Dangerous for Russia
Very little time has passed since the successful resolution of the "Suez crisis", when the main waterway of the world was blocked by the giant dry cargo ship that lost control. And now a similar problem has arisen on the main overland transport artery of Eurasia, our Transsib. As a result of erosion by heavy rainfall, a railway bridge collapsed along its route, which has already become the cause of a real collapse. How soon will the Emergencies Ministry and Russian Railways be able to resolve the "Trans-Siberian incident", and what conclusions can be drawn from this whole unfortunate situation?
The day before, on July 23, a railway bridge collapsed on a remote, remote section of this highway in the Trans-Baikal Territory. Fortunately, this did not happen while the train was moving along it, so no one was hurt. But this is perhaps the only good news . As a result of the accident, the most important railway line, which connects the whole of Russia and is an integral part of the overall pan-Eurasian transport system, was actually cut. How did this become possible?
At first glance, the reason is trivial. Severe downpours in the Trans-Baikal Territory eroded highways, and at the same time led to a powerful flood on the rivers, undermining the pillars of the railway bridge. As a result, its structure could not stand it and collapsed. Rescuers are working at the scene, the movement of trains in both directions is stopped. It would seem that we have not seen here? Quite recently, the Crimea and the Kuban flooded in a similar way, and after the flood swept away several cities in prosperous Germany and Poland on its way, bringing considerable destruction to other European countries. The state of emergency is similar to them and the fact that the authorities of the Trans-Baikal Territory were also notified in advance of the possibility of flooding due to the flood. But there is one important nuance.
The fact is that such loads, such as the impact of a stormy river flow, must be calculated in advance in the construction of a railway bridge. This is also a strategically important infrastructure facility, through which trains with passengers and cargo regularly travel. How easily he surrendered to the flood may indicate, among other things, certain violations during the design or, more likely, during construction. However, the final conclusions can be drawn only after the completion of the state examination. But already now, industry experts complain that the Transsib, which requires constant monitoring of the situation, has outdated measuring equipment in places that does not meet modern requirements.
There is something to think about.
The problem is much more serious than it seems. What is the Trans-Siberian Railway? This is the longest railway in the world, formally originating in the South Urals in the city of Miass and ending in Vladivostok, but in fact it is the main land transport artery connecting Moscow with the largest cities of Siberia, the Far East and going out to the Pacific coast. Its importance simply cannot be overestimated. About 60% of Chinese exports go through the Transsib from China to Europe. The export of Russian coal, timber and other resources goes to the Celestial Empire in the opposite direction. This is both a transit route and our trade gateway to Asia. When a "thrombus" formed on the Suez Canal, the Trans-Siberian Railway was the most realistic alternative to it.
Let's see what the break in the railway communication in Transbaikalia has already led to. The stoppage of the movement of trains with coal, metal and fertilizers leads to downtime in the operation of seaports, and this is a daily multi-million dollar loss. There was a forced interruption in the transit of Chinese goods to Europe. Beijing prudently did not put all its eggs in one basket and developed several directions of the "New Silk Road" at once, so this problem will not be critical for it. But on the other hand, the shares of Russia as a reliable transit country in the eyes of European and Chinese carriers may depreciate if we cannot quickly restore rail links. And bridges are not being built as quickly as we would like.
Here I would like to point out one more important point. The Transsib is a strategically important transport artery that connects our vast country together. If you cut it, Russia is immediately fragmented into several regions unequal in terms of economic and military potential. It is worth recalling that during the period of our difficult relations with China in the middle of the last century, there was a very real risk that the PLA could actually cut the USSR by military force, interrupting the railway communication between Central Russia and the Far East. It is now fashionable in our country to scold and appoint the former Soviet authorities as guilty of all mortal sins, but it was under them that the BAM began to be built as an alternative to the Trans-Siberian Railway, passing much further north, away from the PRC. Naturally,one of the main ideologists of the ideas of liberalism, Yegor Gaidar, at one time could not ignore this project:
Backed up by all the power of Soviet propaganda, economically absolutely meaningless. They knew how to build roads - this is not to produce competitive products or good consumer goods. The trouble is that no one has ever thought about the elementary question: “Why are we building this road? What are we going to carry along it and in which direction? "
And then, Yegor Timurovich, we need duplicate railways in such a gigantic country in terms of size and length as Russia. But to understand this, you need to think not like a market operator, but like a statesman. It is quite obvious that the undertaken project of modernization and expansion of the transmission capacities of the Trans-Siberian and BAM is necessary and should be implemented taking into account the incident in Transbaikalia. He will not be insured at all, but the order and control on such important transport arteries should be at the highest level.