The photo captioned, “Trans-Siberian Railway metal truss bridge on stone piers, over the Kama River near Perm, Ural Mountains Region” included in the Prokudin-Gorskiĭ collection, gives a look into the longest rail line in the world. The picture depicts some of the challenges faced while building the Trans-Siberian railway, like rough terrain and a harsh climate. The expansion of a national transportation system allowed for an expansion of power, a greater ability to trade and move goods, and spread ideas. The development of a national railway system allowed for goods to move more efficiently. Overall, the development of a national railway system was important for Russia to industrialize. Prior to the development of the Trans-Siberian railway and the reforms undertaken by Sergei Witte, Russia suffered from a backwards economy, focused mainly on agriculture (Llewellyn).
The need for a major rail line in late Imperial Russia was great. The Crimean War conveyed the need for industrialization and for the expansion of modern transportation. Russia had a late start to the development of the railway system; “it is enough to observe that on the eve of the Crimean War, when railways had already spread their tentacles through much of Western Europe, Russia was just completing its first major line between Moscow and St. Petersburg” (Freeze, 196). Without a strong national transportation system, Russia struggled to get supplies to soldiers in an efficient manor.
Additionally, the lack of railways “meant that key resources (such as iron ore and coal) and markets could not be reached” (Freeze, 216). The lack of transportation is credited as one of the major reasons for the overwhelming military defeat in the Crimean War. In the history of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the author notes “as soon as the Trans-Siberian was built, it began to have a significant impact on economic development, and contributed to the acceleration and growth of the circulation of goods,” but the development of the Trans-Siberian railway was slow, as the Russo-Japanese war in 1905-1906 shed light on the deficiencies of the railway. Overall, the development of the Trans-Siberian railway and the creation of a national system of transportation allowed for economic development and a move towards industrialization in Russia in the late 19th century.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Llewellyn, J. “The Russian Revolution.” Russian Revolution. Alpha History, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2014. <http://alphahistory.com/russianrevolution/russian-industrialisation/.>.
“The Russian Train Experience.” Trans-Siberian Express. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2014. <http://www.transsiberianexpress.net/trans-siberian-railway-history.html>.
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