First Norilsk bridges made of wood and ice
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First Norilsk bridges made of wood and ice

June 22, 2021

In the 1930s, during the construction of the narrow-gauge railway Norilsk - Valyok and Norilsk - Dudinka, there was a shortage of sleepers, rails and other material.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The first railroad was icy. Builders made mounds of brushwood, snow and water.

The first bridges were the same – snow dams froze over the rivers. Of course, in the summer the icy roads melted: the rails simply hung in the void, and construction continued.

The lack of materials and funds became the reason for another feature of the Norilsk narrow-gauge railway: in order not to build many artificial crossings, the rails were laid not in a straight-line – by the shortest route, but with radii – bypassing lakes and uneven terrain. Nevertheless, it was impossible to do without bridges at all: almost 40 of them were built on the narrow-gauge railway.

This is how the head of the Norilsk construction Vladimir Matveyev wrote about them in one of his orders: “The construction of bridges is carried out very sloppy, in an ugly manner. The handrail posts are installed crookedly and not at the same distance. The wood for some parts of the bridges is of poor quality, which can lead to accidents”.

Some of those very first bridges are still alive.

For other issues of our photo project about the history of the city and the combine, go to the History spot section.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

June 22, 2021

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