THE HISTORY OF BAM
AFTER THE WAR, BUT BEFORE BAM
THE BIG CITY
THE ART AND SOCIAL LIFE
THE FIRST DECADE. 1975-1985.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS.
THE BREAKING POINT
WHAT'S LACKING IN THE CITY
WOULD YOU LIKE MORE DETAILS?
TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE AREA
Tynda (Biased Notes)
Nevertheless, in 1927 the Far Eastern regional committee organized a reconnaissance exploration of the Khabarovsk - Soviet Harbor line.At the beginning of 1930, the Far Eastern regional organizations addressed a report to the Politburo and the Soviet of Peoples Commissars (SNK) of the USSR.In the report they offered to build a second railroad mainline in Siberia and Far East from the functioning Transsib Taishet station through the northern border of Lake Baikal to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur and further to one of the bays on the Pacific.In this document the railroad was for the first time referred to as the Baikal-Amur railroad mainline (BAM).There also were several proposed exits to Transsib.
The idea began materializing at the beginning of 1930s.A survey party of twenty-five was sent on a research mission along the proposed route.They only had the bare essentials: measuring tape and other surveying equipment.The food supplies were delivered to them on horsebacks.Seven strongest guys were assigned to clear cut the path through the thick brush.However, despite the enormous effort, they could only travel three and a half kilometers a day.During summer, there also were the forest fire hazards with the smoke blocking the sun.They had to wait or go on tiresome round trips.In the fall, after extreme heat, it became very cold and snowed a lot.They came to Tynda River valley in winter when it was 32 degrees below zero.
To speed up the reconnaissance of the mainline, they began experimenting with the aerial photo survey.In fact, the idea existed for a while.In 1896, Russian engineer Roman Savel'ev proposed to use blimps for aerial survey of the remote areas - an intriguing project never realized.In the Soviet times, while laying down the BAM line, enthusiasts managed to perform the aerial photo survey from the airplanes.It was done from the slow ANT-7 planes.Director of the first surveying expedition Edward Horman reminisced those days: "An airplane for our purpose was put on pontoons and had two engines.Its fuselage was divided into four compartments: pilot, navigator-aerial surveyor, reconnaissance engineer and an operator armed with two one-lens Kodak and five Fairchild cameras.There were special hatches for the cameras in the floor.All that was done and seen was discussed later in our notes to each other.There was this huge one-kilometer crevice on the bottom of the Davan mountain pass that made a profound impression on me.I exclaimed in delight that here is the real trail for the proposed railroad!"
The experiment with the aerial survey was a success.On the Tynda - Chara railroad section alone they were able to complete four thousand kilometers in spite of high winds, fog and ice.Surely there were crashes due to imperfect and unprepared planes: a few times these reconnaissance planes plummeted to the ground together with their fearless crew.Today, there aren't many live witnesses of those events.However, one of the planes with a hull number Zh-II was raised from the bottom of Barachinsk Lake by scuba divers after WWII.Later this plane was set on a rock pedestal by a remote station Taksimo, not far from Vitim.That was the plane that crashed here in July of 1940 and it belonged to the 11th squad of Vitim expedition "BAMproject."Until now this Tupolev airplane was considered lost without trace.
The Far Eastern complex expedition from USSR Academy of Sciences began a systematic research of the territory from Velikaya River to the Pacific in 1931.In summer of 1932 they conducted a survey on the 1000-kilometer upper section of the future railroad.On June 17th 1932 the survey party led by G. Z. Zborovsky determined a merging point of BAM with Transsib - 250 meters away from the Takhtamygda (Transsib Railroad Mainline) exit.The point was named "BAM" station.
One of the researchers of the northeastern part of Tynda area was a young geologist and later a writer Ivan Antonovich Efremov.In 1932-34 his squad on assignment from Academy of Sciences and Peoples Committee of Roadways was looking for the most feasible ways of BAM construction on the Chara - Tynda section.At the same time he was mapping the area because before him these territories were a "white spot."Efremov researched the route from Ust'-Nyukzha to Tynda.That was a heroic voyage.The squad covered thousands of kilometers on a boat on Olekma River.A short summer did not indulge them with good weather.By the end of fall, the squad was passing the Olekma rapids amongst ice floes.They had to go over the pass between Olekma and Chara during winter in a two-meter deep snow.The squad made a geological and topographical survey of 1600 km of a before unknown land.
In January-February of 1934, 17th Congress of Communist Party confirmed a second five-year plan of the USSR's economical development for 1933-37.The following are the main tasks of the technical reconstruction:
b) Construction realization of the new greater railroad lines."One of them was Baikal-Amur mainline.
Many respectable organizations were preparing the construction of BAM.Up to 40 research parties and squads were surveying the line.The railroad construction plan outlined the following lines:
a) Takhtamygda - Tynda - Ust'-Kut - Komsomol'sk-on-Amur
b) Londako - Ust'-Kut
c) Khabarovsk - Komsomol'sk-on-Amur
d) Komsomol'sk-on-Amur - De-Kastri
e) Komsomol'sk-on-Amur - Soviet Harbor
f) Taishet - Ust'-Kut - Tynda
g) Chita - Vitim
The total length of proposed lines was 6410 km, with the first order totaling 2340 km.
By that time Belomor-Baltiisk Canal had been completed.A lot of cheap, almost free labor force was freed up - the slaves of GULAG.Despite the promises and slogans something like "When the canal is finished everyone can go home!" workers were thrown onto a new grand project.A provision of SNK from October 22nd 1932, even before the completion of Belomorcanal, transferred the management of BAM construction to OGPU.