Railway bridge

The construction of railway bridges on the Salekhard-Igarka route was also completely ensured by prisoners. Here we offer a tour of a reinforced-concrete bridge across the Ketlar creek.

The vast majority of bridges on the Dead Road are wooden. Construction was rushed, so they built temporary bridges that were later supposed to be replaced by something more solid. This pertains to smaller bridges, 4.5 metres wide and not longer than 20 metres with sturdy and thick construction beams.

“I worked on the construction of bridges and with us the fulfilment of targets was strictly monitored,” recalls Vasily Basovsky. “We ourselves had an interest in this, because one day of one’s sentence was counted as three for constantly exceeding targets. In this way, instead of seven years, I served only three. We worked as we liked. Of course, the target had to be met, and each of us could then do what we wanted to do beyond that.”

Reinforced-concrete bridges were built directly across larger rivers. However, bridging the great Ob and Yenisei rivers, which are up to several kilometres wide, was not part of the plan. According to the plans, river railroad ferries were supposed to be used in the summer and a special ice causeway was supposed to be used in the winter. Sets of railway carriages were actually used in this way to cross the Ob in the winter of 1952-1953.

Watch Egon Morgenstern’s whole story

A large bridge was also built across the Turukhan River near the settlement of Yanov Stan. Four concrete pillars were sunk in the river. The prisoners did not manage more than this before the construction was terminated. A steam locomotive can be seen abandoned on the embankment heading to this bridge. Have a look on panorama.


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