Read the text. 1. The beginning of railway construction in Russia may be traced as far back as the second half of the XVIII century

1. The beginning of railway construction in Russia may be traced as far back as the second half of the XVIII century. Road building was closely connected with the development of mining industry. Among the numerous works built in the Urals at that time, the most important and the best equipped ones were the Voskresensk Works. It was at those works that in 1763-1765 the first tram-ways in Russia were laid to link the mines and the works. K.D. Frolov, a highly qualified and talented engineer, took part in the construction of those industrial tracks.

2. The next very important step forward was the use of cast-iron rails, proposed by A.S. Yartsev, manager of the Petrozavodsk Works. In 1788 a 173.5 m long track was constructed to meet the needs of the works. In 1809, another line, using cast-iron rails, was laid in the Altai Mountains by R.K. Frolov, a son of K.D. Frolov. The line was 1,867 m long and its technical equipment was much superior to that of all railways built in Russia at that time. R.K. Frolov used elliptical rails and was the first engineer who applied the graphic method of timing train movements.

3. A very significant innovation, which promoted the development of Russian Railways, was the introduction of steam traction. The first steam-powered locomotive in our country was built by the Cherepanovs, father and son, the most skilled and talented mechanics of their time. Thanks to their invention, the first railway in Russia, using steam traction was put into operation at the Nizhny Tagil Metallurgical Plant in 1833. It was a short distance line covering only 854 m.

4. Some 4 years later, in October 1837, the first public railway St. Petersburg – Tsarskoe Selo (Figure 1.1) was laid and opened to traffic. It was a 6 ft gauge line, 27 km long, built by Franz Anton Ritter von Gerstner. The most significant event in the history of Russian Railways was the construction of the St. Petersburg - Moscow Railroad, 644 km long. The line was begun in 1843 and was 8 years under construction: it was opened to traffic in November 1851. It was the first railway in Russia to adopt a 5 ft gauge (now the standard). P.P. Melnikov and N.O. Kraft, both prominent Russian engineers, were in charge of the construction. In 1866 the length of the rail network was 5,000 km and by 1899 it had been increased up to 53,200 km. The construction of the Trans- Siberian Railway, the longest railway on the earth, started in 1891. By 1916 Russia had a continuous line from the Urals to Vladivostok.

5. The First World War and the Civil War from 1917 to 1921 damaged the Russian economy and railway system greatly. Due to great effort of Russian people by 1940 the railway network was already carrying nearly 600 million tons of freight a year and its length reached 106 thousand km. The Second World War became another ordeal for the railway network. Nevertheless, the railways played a vital role in the war, transporting soldiers, military equipment and freight to the front lines and factories from European Russia to the Urals and Siberia.

6. From 1950 to 1990 the Soviet Union Railways, the world's largest unitary rail system during that time, increased its length. Extensions included a second Trans-Siberian line and the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM). After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Soviet Union Railways broke up into individual national railway systems. In 2001 Railway Structural Reform Program was worked out. Its major aims were to ensure that the railway system can meet the demands of Russia’s economy.

2.1 Reading for main ideas