is a mysterious landmark of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which, despite its intimidating name, attracts many travelers with its history and surviving Soviet artifacts.
This is not her only name. The road is also called “501 Road” (although it was built by 501 and 503 of the NKVD Railway Construction Camp Administration), “Transpolar Highway”, “Stalinka”, “Five Hundred Merry”, “Northern BAM”, the road “Chum – Vorkuta – Labytnangi – Salekhard – Korotchaevo – Igarka.
The history of the dead railroad
The construction of the railway began in 1947 by Stalin’s decision. It was used to deliver Vorkuta coal and minerals from the Polar Urals (including quartz for the electronic and aerospace industries) to the central regions.
After the Great Patriotic War, the country’s leadership clearly understood the vulnerability of the strategic route – the Northern Sea Route. Its main ports, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, were located too close to the western borders of the USSR, and in the event of a new war, communication along the NSR could easily be paralyzed by the enemy.
So it was decided to create a new port in Igarka on the Yenisei, which was necessary in case of the Third World War.
The port, located in the interior of the country, seemed to Stalin less vulnerable to the enemy, in contrast to the ports in the European part of the country, in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk.
In August 1952, working train traffic was opened from Salekhard to Nadym, and only test traffic to Igarka. After Stalin’s death, the railway was abandoned after so many titanic efforts. There was only a section to Labytnangi. It functions there to this day and is the most important transport artery that crosses the Ural Range and, in particular, connects Labytnangi with Vorkuta, but the highway has not been laid there.
By the way, there is still no road from Pechora to Vorkuta, only the Gazprom winter road (I wanted to drive along it this year, to Inta, civilian cars, collecting in columns, through registration with the Pechora Administration, as groups are recruited, they are allowed further, no further – a pass is needed , could not find a way to issue it).
If the road had been used, the development of the Arctic would have gone at a completely different pace … Now the government has plans to revive the project.
We visited a couple of bridges, as well as a camp near the confluence of the Yarudey and Limbyakh rivers, in which a tower, fragments of a fence with barbed wire, part of the premises for prisoners and for guards have been preserved.
The wiki says that the city-forming enterprise is Gazprom Dobycha Nadym, which accounts for about 11% of gas produced in Russia.
Where is the Dead Railroad located?
GPS coordinates: 66.049722, 82.1175
The abandoned transport highway is located in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The nearest settlement is the village of Krasnoselkup. You need to get to the railway by water (Taz River). In summer – on a boat, in winter – on skis. The distance from the village is about 45 km.