Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian EmpireMain MenuAboutDashboardsData CatalogMapStoriesGalleriesGamesWho said history was boring?Map ShelfTeach Our ContentCiting the ProjectKelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f5The Imperiia Project // Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
cryptic reference to a trove of statistical information embedded on a map made in Paris
12019-11-07T17:39:24-05:00Kelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f591plain2019-11-07T17:39:24-05:00Kelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f5Alas, while the promised information exists, its contents are slightly underwhelming. It offers a report on the length of each of the lines conceded to the Grand Societie:
Title: Carte des chemins de fer concédés à la Grande société des chemins de fer russes par l'ukase de S.M. l'Empereur de Russie : en date du 26 janvier-7 février 1857 : [Russie européenne] Author / Creator: Andriveau-Goujon, J. [publisher] Published: Paris : J. Andriveau-Goujon éditeur, [1857?] Description: Scale approximately 1:3,500,000 (E 019.4--E 056.3/N 063.3--N 041.2). // 1 map : hand colored; 74 x 89 cm Language: French Notes: Relief shown by hachures and spot heights. Alternate title at lower left: Réseau des chemins de fer concédés à la Grande société des chemins de fer russes. Base map is "Extrait de la Carte de l'Europe Orientale publiée par J. Andriveau Goujon." Paris meridian. Includes statistical table. Author / Creator: Glavnoe obshchestvo rossīĭskikh zheli︠e︡znykh dorog Other title: Réseau des chemins de fer concédés à la Grande société des chemins de fer russes. Chemins de fer russes. Creation Date: [1857?] HOLLIS Permalink: http://id.lib.harvard.edu/alma/99153810640903941/catalog
What the map will tell you, if you look long enough
Rail lines make places farther away The absolute distance from Warsaw to St. Petersburg, measured using a straight edge and the map scale, is 900 versts. The length of the rail line given in the statistical table is 1,010 versts (1.073 km). The absolute distance from Feodosiia to Moscow is 1,080 versts: the rail line runs 1,180...
X does not mark the spot The rail lines to which the society won concessions ran north south, from St. Petersburg to Feodosiia, and west-east, from the border of the Russian Empire in Poland (near Olkusz) to Nizhnii Novgorod. While one might expect Moscow to have served as the central pivot, it did not. At Vitebsk, the rail line makes a southern turn to Mogilev, before heading east to Orel, then north to Kolomna and Moscow.
Rivers end in the strangest places Well, the navigable stretches certainly do. A merchant who chose to offload goods from railcars at Kolomna and continue downstream on the Moksha would eventually find himself sailing past the small town of Troitsk and continuing a few versts farther only to find that the river, for all intents and purposes, came to an end. Smack dab in the middle of Penza province. With no obvious connections to other navigable rivers, rail lines, or even post routes.
Just because there is a river, it doesn't mean you can float things on it ...Especially if the things are big or heavy. The Ingul River, for example, which flows south from Elisavetgrad to Kherson Bay (on the Black Sea), is navigable only along its lowest reaches, from Nikolaev south to the sea, meaning that for all intents and purposes, it was an unnavigable river.