HomeGovernanceConvicts to rebuild BAM line in Siberia

Convicts to rebuild BAM line in Siberia


The Moscow Times and other news agencies have reported that a 340km (211 mile) section of the planned upgrade of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) in Siberia is to be delivered by prison convicts.

BAM is 4,000km long, running from Lake Baikal in Siberia to Russia’s east coast on the Sea of Japan. It was built in the Stalin era of the 1930s, with prisoners from the Gulag camp at Bamlag constructing the section from Tayshet to Bratsk.

The whole line was later upgraded to take heavy freight traffic, a project that took 25 years and was finally completed in 1991, although sections had been opened for military traffic earlier.

Russia’s Siberian railways, showing the BAM in green (click to enlarge).

Russian Railways’ 2019 investment plan called for the modernisation of the Baikal to Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway (Second stage) as its top priorities, allocating 35 billion roubles (£486 million) to the project for that year.

In its report, Moscow Times states that, due to labour shortages, Russian government officials have discussed plans to use prisoners for major construction projects, but they insist there are no plans to revive the Stalin-era Gulag practice, stating that prisoners will enjoy “decent conditions” and receive a salary.

State news agency RIA Novosti apparently quoted a spokesman for Russia’s Federal Prison Service (FSIN) who said: “An agreement was signed on the intent to use convict labour and create a site that functions as a correctional facility.”

Alexander Tchernoyarov, who heads one of the main companies involved in the project, pointed to a “serious shortage of manpower,” with many migrant workers are unable to enter Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russian military has said that it will contribute to the modernisation of the BAM track, but more manpower will be needed to fill the 15,000 vacant positions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

Boost for regional transport in upcoming budget

It looks likely that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a £5.7 billion investment into sustainable transport settlements for city regions in his Autumn Budget...

TSSA members vote to accept ScotRail pay offer

The TSSA has called off its dispute with ScotRail, with its members having voted to accept a new pay offer. The TSSA says the offer...

Passengers give rail a thumbs up in latest survey

Nearly ninety per cent of rail passengers said they were satisfied with their last journey, according to a new survey by watchdog Transport Focus. The...
- Advertisement -

More news

Rail museum holds consultation on major plans

The National Railway Museum will house a consultation on plans for a new Central Hall as part of its vision as the cultural heart...

TfL bodycam video results in assault conviction

Uxbridge Magistrates have sentenced a woman to a 12-month community order and 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days following a physical assault on two Transport...

Portishead line reopening delayed

A decision as to whether the Portishead line will return to life has been delayed by the government. North Somerset District Council had applied for...