Abkhazian railway

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Passenger train at the station of Psyrtskha
Abkhazian Railway
Russian Railway )
Psou River
1998 Psoukm from Moscow
2000 Gyachrypsh
Lapsta River
Mekhadyr River
Xashupsa River
2005 Tsandryphsh
Kholodnaya River
2009 Bagripsh
Anakhamsta River
2014 Chigripsh
Chigripsh River
Zhayuapsy River
2018 Abaata
2020 Gagripsh
Demerdzhipa Street
2023 Atsxyda
2026 Gagra
Bagnasheni
Alaxadzy
2034 Bzyb
2036 Atchada
Bzyb River
2040 Kaldaxvara
2041 Myussera
2048 Blabyrxva
2052 Xudzyrta
2053 Mchishta
Mchishta River
2057 Apshdvany
Xipsma River
2060 Ashitsra
2063 Gudauta
2066 Gudou
2070 Aapsta
Aapsta River
2075 Tskvara
Lapsta
2081 Psyrtskha
New Athos
2087 Gvandra
2089 Shytskvara
2090 Dzyata
2093 Eshera
Gumista River
2096 Achadara
2099 Sukhumi
Guma
Kelasuri
Kelasuri River
Machara River
Gulripsh
Dranda
Kodori
Kodori River
Adzyobzha
Kindyg
Toumysh River
Tamysh
Aradu
Mokva River
Ochamchira
Ochamchira - Akarmara section
Beslaxuba
Akuaskia
Gup
Galidzga River
Tkvarcheli
Akarmara
Oxursa
Achigvara
Shesheleta
Gali
Taglan
Tagiloni
Inguri River
Georgian Railway )

The Abkhazian railway consists of a 101 km (63 mi) rail line along the Black Sea coast.[1] Built to 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in) standard Russian gauge, it connected Russia's North Caucasus Railway with Georgian railways prior to 1992. This connection was severed as a result of the War in Abkhazia. The railway is administered by the Abkhazskaya Zheleznaya Doroga (Russian: Абхазская Железная Дорога, Abkhaz: Аҧсны Аиҳаамҩа) company.

As of 2010, there was one regular long-distance train Moscow-Sukhumi, Adler-Gagra elektrichka services and occasional freight traffic.

History[edit]

Map of Abkhazia showing its railways
Station of Sukhumi

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and damaging of the Transcaucasian Railway lines, the Samtredskoye part to the west of the Inguri River came under control of the Abkhazian railway.

The bridge over the Inguri River was blown up on 14 August 1992, which was the day when Georgian forces entered Abkhazia and is the date considered as the start of the War in Abkhazia. The pretext for sending the Georgian National Guard to Abkhazia in 1992 was to protect the railroad.[2] The bridge was subsequently restored but blown up again in 1993, after the end of the war.

The track between Achigvara and the Inguri River was dismantled. The rest of the railway line also suffered greatly during the war. After the war ended, traffic was restored along the line. The railway system of Abkhazia was isolated in the 1990s, due to the blockade imposed by Russia.

On 25 December 2002 the Sochi-Sukhumi elektrichka train made its first run since the war, which let to Georgian protests.[3] As the number of Russian tourists greatly increased in the 2000s, the Psou-Sukhumi section was mainly repaired by Russia in 2004 and on 10 September 2004 the Moscow-Sukhumi train first arrived in the capital of Abkhazia.

The Ochamchira-Sukhumi, Sochi-Sukhumi and Tkvarcheli-Sukhumi elektrichkas, that had operated at various times from 1993, no longer operated by 2007 due to various infrastructure problems. The last of the elektrichka, Gudauta-Sukhumi, was closed down on the end of 2007.[4] The Adler-Gagra train service was resumed on 26 June 2010 by the Don-Prigorod company.[5]

Rail tunnel in Gagra was part of the project that enabled a rail link to be established between Georgia and Russia via Abkhazia in the 1940s

There have been proposals to restore destroyed parts of the railway and re-establish rail traffic between Russia and the Trans-Caucasian countries of Armenia and Georgia. The alternative route through Azerbaijan is significantly longer and not available at all, in the case of Armenia, due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Georgia has long tied the restoration of rail traffic with the return of refugees to Abkhazia.

On 15 May 2009 the Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, announced that Abkhazia's railway and airport would be transferred to Russia with management rights for ten years, a decision which caused a negative outcry in Abkhazia. According to the Abkhaz tycoon and opposition party leader, Beslan Butba, this has led to growing anti-Russian sentiment in Abkhazia.[6]

In late 2012, early 2013 the new Georgian government under Prime Minister Ivanishvili repeatedly proposed to revamp the Abkhazian Railway and getting it hooked on the Georgian railways, specifically to appease Armenia, and enabling a commercial link to Russia.[7] This sparked domestic and international discussion in Armenia (the country with the most commercial interest in such a connection,[8][9]), in Azerbaijan (which has fears it enables Russia with a more efficient military transport to its base in Gyumri, Armenia), and in Russia (Russian Railways owning the Armenian-based South Caucasus Railways).[10] The Abkhaz authorities first reacted dismissively to cooperate with such initiative, but later changed their tone.[11] Azerbaijan shortly threatened with consequences for the Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway connection, due completion at the end of 2013, and suggested rising the gas price charged to Georgia. In Georgia there is still sharp opposition to reopening this railway link.,[12][13]

Currently there is one daily train connection from the Russian Federation to Abkhazia, running from Adler to Sukhumi and returning the same day.[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]