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The world's longest railway, the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia, is 5,777 miles (9,297 kilometers) long. It runs from Moscow to Vladivostok. If the auxiliary route to Nakhodka is included, the distance becomes 5,865 miles (9,436 kilometers). The Trans-Siberian Railway was opened in sections. The first train transporting goods reached Irkutsk on August 27, 1898.
The Baikal-Amur Northern Main Line, which began operating in 1938, shortens the distance from Moscow to Vladivostok by about 310 miles (500 kilometers). The journey takes approximately 7 days, 2 hours, and crosses 7 time zones. There are 9 tunnels, 139 large bridges or viaducts (bridge carrying a railroad over a valley), and 3,762 smaller bridges on the whole route. Nearly the entire line is electrified.
In comparison, the first American transcontinental railroad, completed on May 10, 1869, is 1,780 miles (2,864 kilometers) long. The Central Pacific Railroad was built eastward from Sacramento, California, and the Union Pacific Railroad was built westward from Omaha, Nebraska. The two lines were connected at Promontory Point, Utah.
Sources: Guinness Book of Records 1992, p. 378; Marshall, John. The Guinness Railway Book, pp. 62-64; McNeil, Ian. An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology, p. 574; "Union Pacific Railroad Company." Encyclopaedia Britannica CD 97.
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