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Historical Chronicle: Pavel Ivankin speaks to the progress and evolution of railroads within the 1,520-gauge space

Excerpts from the book written by the renowned expert. 1992: how the network was successfully maintained in the face of challenging times
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The Gudok Publishing House is currently preparing to publish the captivating new book, Railway Reform: Historical Chronicle, authored by railway transport expert and President of the National Research Center for Transportation and Infrastructure, Pavel Anatolievich Ivankin. The first part of this extensive study provides an overview of railroad transportation as events unfolded beginning in the Soviet period through to early post-Soviet Russia, spanning from 1985 to 2001. Events which propelled the industry toward significant reform. Our website will display some of the most fascinating excerpts from this book.

In 1992, the management of the Russian Ministry of Railways specifically focused on developing the 1,520 space to safeguard its technical and technological integrity as well as its manageability. On February 14, less than a month after the Russian Ministry of Railways was officially established and Gennady Matveyevich Fadeyev assumed the position of Minister, the CIS Heads of Government gathered in Minsk to sign an Agreement establishing the Coordinating Bodies responsible for overseeing railway transport within the CIS. The CIS Railway Transport Council was thus established, comprised by top officials from railway transport administrations and management bodies, along with the executive body. 

On March 9, the Council’s first meeting convened, during which the primary guidelines were ratified. Gennady Matveyevich Fadeev was elected as Chairman of the Council for the year of 1992. A decision was made to appoint the Chairman of the Executive Committee through a qualified majority vote. The Transcaucasian Railway was granted associate membership. The parties also agreed that the Executive Committee would be situated on the Russian Ministry of Railways’ premises. Furthermore, on March 20, the Council of CIS Heads of Government passed regulations establishing a Council and the Council Directorate for the CIS member states. The "The Executive Committee of the Council" executive body was renamed "The Directorate of the Council". 

Former Deputy Minister Valery Nikolayevich Butko was chosen as the Directorate’s first chairman.

In Moscow, on May 6, the Council held its 2nd meeting, during which it adopted the following measures:

- A framework for the division of the freight car fleet among the railways of the Commonwealth, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The freight car fleet inventory was divided according to the freight cars’ average actual annual availability for the railways over the period of 1986-1990. Due to the redrawn railroad boundaries, railway administrations had to recalculate the fleet availability based on actual data from1986-1990; 

- A framework for organizing the activities of Commonwealth member states’ interstate railway junction points over the transition period; 

- A standard agreement between the railways for implementation of the main transportation organization technology provisions.


Фото: Владимир Саяпин / ТАСС

On June 25, the Council held its 3rd meeting in Kiev, during which the freight car fleet’s estimated ownership shares were approved, as well as the framework for the numeric division of the freight car fleet inventory and container fleet ownership shares. The Interstate Arbitration Court of Railway Transport was established as well. 

On August 28, Moscow hosted the Council’s 4th meeting, which decided to establish “Zheldoravtomatizatsiya” Interstate Joint-Stock Company”.

On October 9th, a mutual rights recognition and property relations agreement was signed in Bishkek, which recognized the property ownership transfer, including financial resources, enterprises, institutions, organizations, the structural units comprising them, and subdivisions formerly subordinated to the union, located on the territories of the CIS states in accordance with national legislation. This agreement was not signed by Turkmenistan and Ukraine. 

On October 19-20, the 5th meeting of the Council was held in Minsk to examine particular issues related to the division of the freight car and container inventory fleet. 

On November 13, the Council of the CIS Heads of Government adopted a decision to divide up former USSR’s freight car and container inventory fleet and to continue their joint use. 

On November 20-21, the Council convened for the 6th time in Chisinau, which discussed drafting an intergovernmental Agreement to govern the joint use of freight cars; the framework for the numeric division of the isothermal car inventory fleet; agreements on the division of the isothermal cars fleet, transporters, and highly specialized cars as well as the modes of their further use; the framework for the division of container inventory fleet; and the basic development principles of train composition planning and train scheduling norms. 

1992 was a difficult year for railroad personnel. New work had to be done now under the conditions of the newly independent CIS states without causing interruptions in train traffic. Nevertheless, as history has shown, the industry leaders succeeded. Passengers and cargoes hardly even noticed the erected borders and the technology was successfully preserved. For this, we owe them a special thanks.

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