The Workers’ Trains and the Right to the Railroad in the Baikal-Amur Mainline

Authors: Nikolay Baikalov*, , Vera Kuklina, Institute of Geography SB RAS
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: mobility practices, Baikal-Amur Mainline, local transportation, workers’ trains,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: President's Boardroom, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper considers changing mobility practices along the Baikal-Amur Mainline where the railroad serves as the dominant mode of transportation. Since the railroad was built mainly for the purposes of cargo transportation to the international markets, the passenger transportation remains heavily subsidized by the federal and regional budgets. While the federally funded long-distance trains operation hasn’t cause misunderstandings over the division of responsibilities and work for their maintenance and operation, the operation of regional trains has been less settled that gave space for informal mobilities along the railroad. The paper focuses on the most notorious example of the semi-formal use of the worker trains for local transportation since its construction in the 1970s. The data used for analysis include semi-formal interviews conducted along the BAM with railroad workers and their families, in combination with archival research. The authors argues that through the work of Lefebvre and a nuanced study of the local tactics and practices of semi-formal mobility by the railroad politics of production can be uncovered, one which reveals the unique experiences of these workers as they navigated the transition from a planned to neoliberal economy in this remote region.

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