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History of the Railway

Georgian Railway is an important part of the Euro-Asian Transportation Corridor that links Europe with Central Asia.The concept of a rail-link between the two continents originates back to the 1830-ies. Construction of the railway magistrals of Black and the Caspian Seas began in 1865. In 1871 the railway operation on Poti- Kvirila (present Zestafoni) part was launched. On October 10th, in 1872, first passenger train arrived from Poti to Tbilisi. This date is regarded to be the birthday of Georgian Railway.

Construction of the Georgian Railway obtained high speed from the very beginning. The following railway forks were built: Rioni-Kutaisi (1877), Samtredia-Batumi (1883), Rioni-Tkibuli (1887) and Zestafoni-Chiatura (1895). On September 16th,  1890, the construction of a double track Tsipa tunnel was completed. For that period the tunnel was among the other unique constructions.

Outstanding Georgian public figure Niko Nikoladze played significant role in the construction of the railway in Transcaucasia. For participation in the construction of Poti-Tbilisi railway, Niko Nikoladze was awarded with the "Gold badge” railway-man.

Tbilisi-Baku railway line belongs to the second stage of the construction of Georgian Railway. This line was put into operation in 1883 and the transportation of Azerbaijan oil through Batumi Port to the world market began. In 1899, the railway connection between Georgia and Armenia was established.

Borjomi Gorge has always been the matter of great interest, with resort conditions and the world famous mineral water "Borjomi". For the purpose of commercial benefit of natural riches, the Russian royal family of Romanovs began construction of Khashuri-Borjomi railway line in 1894.

Construction of a narrow-gauge line began in 1897 and because of the difficult environmental conditions, lasted for four years. Since January 1902, the first "Kukushka” train passed Borjomi-Bakuriani narrow-gauge line. Since then the "Kukushka” serves tourists and the fans of skiing. For the movement to high-mountainous areas, a steam engine of "Porter" type was brought from England. Cars of open type were added to the train, which were framed only by handrails. Since 1967, the small-steam engine was replaced by an electric engine.

The bridge which connects Tsaghveri to Tsemi by Borzhomi-Bakuriani railway line, was designed by the French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel under the order of the Romanovs. The construction was brought to Georgia and installed on the river Tsemistskali in 1902.


Kakheti railway line, the construction of which was completed in 1915, passed through the regions popular with making outstanding Georgian wines: "Mukuzani", "Tsinandali", "Rkatsiteli", "Manavis Mtsvane" and etc.

In 1923, the first "Ferli" class steam engines were substituted by "F" and "SU" series steam engines.

As a result of electrification of Surami Pass,  “С-10” class steam engines were substituted by "General Electric” engines, providing faster traveling.

In 1932 the first electric depot was constructed in Khashuri. The first Soviet electric “ВЛ-19” locomotive was tested here. Now this first steam engine stands on the pedestal at the station Khashuri.

One of the significant dates in the history of the Georgian railway is August 16th, 1932, when the first electric engine passed Surami Pass. Since then all railway lines were gradually transformed to electric traction. In November 1967, this process was completed - all lines of Georgian railway, including Borjomi-Bakuriani narrow-gauge, were electrified.

Since 1974 new and modern electric engine of “ВЛ-10” and “ВЛ-11” series appear in the railway, which were constructed in Tbilisi electric engine repair factory.

The rapid development of the leading industrial and agricultural branches, such as tea-growing, citrus-growing, gardening, wine-growing, was followed by new railway constructions: Natanebi-Ozurgeti (1924), Brotseula-Tskaltubo (1934), Senaki-Ingiri-Gali (1930), Gali-Ochamchire-Sokhumi (1938), Gori-Tskhinvali (1940).

On 31st of December, 1986, the construction of Marabda-Akhalkalaki new railway line was completed.

The epoch of communication, automating and telemechanics in the history of Georgian Railway goes back to 1946-1949. The automatic blockage switches and mounts electric centralizing systems, train and maneuvering radio communications.

The complicated geographical relief of Georgia motivated the construction of the artificial engineering buildings, which include more than 3,700 constructions. Total length of the Georgian Railway is 2,344, 2 km.
On April 12, 2012 Georgian Railway from Limited Liability Company wasreorganized to Joint-stock Company.
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