Tunnel to Sakhalin: the story of secret construction
XX century was a time of incredible breakthroughshumanity, innovative technical solutions that divided the world into two parts: the primitive past with wooden carriages and kerosene lamps and the digital future that the inventors so much sought to bring closer to its discovery beyond discovery.
The share of the USSR had a large numbergrandiose achievements of technical progress, quite often the country was in one or another industry "the first in the world". However, there were large-scale projects in the Soviet Union classified as "secret," which for whatever reason could not be fully implemented, and they remained on the blueprints or the initial stage of construction. One of such "construction projects of the century" was a tunnel to Sakhalin (photo and information about him - in the article).
The history of the idea and the first intention
The very first mentions of how to connectthe island of Sakhalin with the mainland by transport (not air) date back to the end of the XIX century. However, then the idea was quickly rejected because of the lack of the necessary amount of funds, as well as because of inexpediency from the economic point of view. The next time the theme of building a tunnel to Sakhalin under the Tatar Strait was raised at the turn of the 20-30's. the last century, and again the idea was not crowned. And so, in the beginning of 1950, the ferry started talking again, this time - seriously, officially and in the main office of the country.
Iosif Vissarionovich personally came up with the idea. The railway communication was supposed to be through the construction of a bridge or tunnel to Sakhalin. At about the same time, the first secretary of the Sakhalin Regional Committee of the CPSU (B), D. N. Melnik, was summoned to Moscow from Sakhalin in an emergency. Of course, the diplomat collected all the reports on the situation in the region and ongoing work, but he did not know the real reason for such an urgent call. However, there was nothing to worry Comrade Melnyk, because his presence at the meeting held on March 26, 1950 in the Kremlin walls, became a formality. The question of whether to build a tunnel or not, was already resolved positively, and at the moment when Stalin only visited the thought of it.
The purpose of the meeting was toproject. And yet the question came from the mouth of the leader. After hearing the Miller's report, Iosif Vissarionovich asked: "How do you feel about connecting Sakhalin with the mainland by the railway?" Dumbfounded secretary, of course, knew what to say should not be, but nevertheless tried to hint to Stalin that the construction will require enormous resources, both human and monetary. Needless to say, the leader perceived the miller's answer as "unconvincing" ... Can you imagine what the regional secretary should tell Stalin to be convincing, and at the same time to blow his head on his shoulders? The question is rhetorical.
Mystery of the century
The practical part of the grandiose construction is notforced itself to wait a long time, and on May 5, 1950, the USSR Council of Ministers issued a secret decree on the construction of the railway line Komsomolsk-on-Amur-Pobedino, part of which was to become a tunnel to Sakhalin Island. Secrecy was due not only to the fact that the implementation of such an idea in the 50 years was on the verge of something fantastic, the secret also covered the strategic component of the construction. After all, from the military point of view, the tunnel section of the highway would be a very profitable object, being an invulnerable "artery". In particular, the decree included a paragraph prescribing the mandatory construction of false landmarks of the imaginary tunnel within a radius of 50 kilometers from the construction of a tunnel of the present.
Events developed very rapidly, and already inSeptember The USSR Council of Ministers approved the technical regulations for the design and construction of a Stalinist tunnel on Sakhalin with the adjacent railways. On the part of Sakhalin, the length of the tracks along the project was 327 kilometers. The beginning of the tunnel was supposed to be in the area of Cape Pogibi. While on the mainland it was planned to build a railway from Cape Lazarev to the station "Selikhin", which is near Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Accordingly, the tunnel itself was supposed to connect the closest points of the island and the mainland, its length was about 10 kilometers. The cost of grand construction was estimated at 723 million rubles. The deadlines for carrying out the works were determined by the most severe. According to the plan, the first loaded train was to pass through the tunnel already at the end of 1955, and this despite the fact that detailed engineering studies, as well as geological surveys on the territory of the future tunnel, were not conducted. However, in those days orders from above were not accepted to be discussed, which means that the approved project must have been implemented on time, regardless of what human and material resources are required for this.
Who carried out the construction, and in what conditions was the implementation
Let's go back a bit. Literally a week after the publication of the secret resolution, on May 12, two subdivisions with the code names "Construction 506" and "Construction 507" are created, with centers on both sides in Alexandrovsk-Sakhalin and DeKastri respectively. To realize the construction and laying of the tunnel itself, a special subdivision was formed, which was called "Construction No. 6 of the Ministry of Railways of the USSR".
Construction brigades, which werelay out the railway tracks to the tunnel, consisted mainly of prisoners of the Gulag, while in the structure of "Construction No. 6" there were military, parolees, hired specialists, as well as engineers aimed at distribution. Because of the catastrophically small timeframe, the first stages of implementation began as soon as the prisoners were brought to their places. The project has not yet been finalized, and sometimes the builders simply had nowhere to live. However, when housing and basic conditions appeared, it became sweeter from it. Equipped everything was as if people were brought for a week, not for 5 years. Plywood, tent-type buildings, which often had a roof, lack of the proper amount of canteens, warm clothes, baths and washbasins created conditions for this hard labor. Dirt and dampness in barracks often led to the fact that workers fell ill with scurvy. Not surprisingly, due to all this, the death rate among prisoners was high.
What we managed to build
Stalin personally controlled the realization of his idea,periodically calling from the Kremlin and reminding the leaders of the construction about the terms and their personal responsibility. However, to see the grandiose idea embodied in life, Joseph Vissarionovich was not destined. March 5, 1953 became aware of the death of the leader. By that time, about 120 kilometers of the railway had been built from the mainland, the mine shaft was pierced at the site of the alleged start of the tunnel (Cape Lazarev), and an artificial island was laid 1.5 kilometers from the shore. On the part of Sakhalin, for almost 3 years it was not possible to build even a kilometer of railway tracks. This is due to the worst working conditions, rather than on the mainland. All that happened was a dirt road "Pogibi-Nysh".
The fate of the tunnel
Together with Stalin died and the realizationscale project, which, if successfully implemented, could become one of the significant world events of the twentieth century. On March 27, 1953, a mass amnesty was declared, during which the "Construction 506" division quickly lost a significant amount of labor.
However, the main reason for frost, andand the termination of construction, was the statement of the Minister of the Interior L. P. Beria, which stated that the construction of large-scale projects, such as railways and enterprises, was not caused by the needs of the national economy. The USSR Council of Ministers approved the statement, and on May 20 of the same year the construction of the railway line "Komsomolsk-on-Amur-Pobedino" was completely closed. The project was curtailed with the same lightning speed that it was deployed.
Memories of participants
The most famous published memory ofconstruction of the Sakhalin tunnel belongs to Yu. A. Koshelev. Then, during the work on the implementation, he was a young engineer sent by distribution, and acted as a master of major works. In his statement, Yuri Anatolyevich enthusiastically talks about the big plans for construction and regrets very much that the giant project has sunk into oblivion. Describes how, after Stalin's death, they wrote to Moscow, literally begging for permission to continue work. And if in the submission of Koshelev there were about 12 construction brigades, how interesting it would be to read the memoirs of ordinary workers forced to live and work in inhuman conditions! Would they also tell us joyfully about the "construction of the century"? Again a rhetorical question.
More than 60 years later
Today, the Sakhalin Island report with a "largeland "is still carried out only with the help of aviation and ferry. Of course, hardly such means cope with the transport load of the region. However, there is no evidence that the construction of the tunnel to Sakhalin will be resumed. There is only a project to link the island to the mainland with a bi-directional railway bridge. The terms of this project are not indicated.