Military Wiki
Железнодорожные войска ВС России
Railway Troops of the Russian Armed Forces
Flag, great and small emblem
Active 6 August 1851 (as of the Russian Empire)-present
Country Russian Federation
Branch Rear Services of the Armed Forces of Russia
Role Railway transport and protection
Size 28,500 (approx)
Garrison/HQ Smolensk
Anniversaries August 6
Engagements Crimea War
January Uprising
Russo-Japanese War
World War I
Polish–Soviet War
Battles of Khalkhin Gol
Great Patriotic War
Soviet–Japanese War (1945)
Hungarian Revolution of 1956
Prague Spring
Soviet war in Afghanistan
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
South Ossetia war
Sergey Klimets (since 2008)

Railway Troops of the Russian Armed Forces (Russian: Железнодорожные войска ВС России) are a service in the Rear Services of the Armed Forces of Russia. They are involved in ensuring the defense of Russia. Railway Troops Russian Armed Forces are designed to perform the tasks of rail services (preparation, construction, reconstruction and protection of the objects of railways). It is the oldest railway troops in the world, established in 1851, as a unit in the engineering corps of the Imperial Russian Army. The professional holiday of the Railway troops is celebrated on August 6.


Railway Troops were first established August 6, 1851 by order of Emperor Nicholas I. In accordance with the document "Regulations on the Management of St. Petersburg - Moscow railway" was formed by 14 separate military-workers, 2 and 1 conductor's telegraphic company. The total number reached 4340 people. The task of the first military railway units was to support the working conditions of railway tracks, crossings, bridges, and their protection. Railroad became part of the Corps of Engineers since its inception in 1870. First, in the form of train teams, and since 1876 - railroad battalions. Railway formed part of the Corps of Engineers until 1908 inclusive. They were then isolated in a separate category and are subject to military service messages (VOSO) of the General Staff. During the Russian-Turkish War (1877-1878 period), staff provided a continuous supply of the compounds of the Russian army on the same railway built their site Bender - Galati. During World War I, the personnel of the units and was built about 300 kilometers broad gauge railway and up to 4000 km of narrow gauge, restored more than 4,600 miles of track and nearly 5000 miles of telephone and telegraph lines, railway tracks.

The conscript-based Russian Army that entered the break-away Republic of Chechnya in December 1994 was not prepared for the fight. Primary heavy-lift long-haul into the theater was on rail. Railway troops had to restore 260 kilometers of track, clear mines from another 70 kilometers, repair switches and restore electric power to electric rail lines. Trains had to be protected as they came under mortar, artillery and sniper fire.[1] On 30 July 2008, it was announced that Russian Railway Troops had completed their mission in breakaway Abkhazia and are withdrawing. A battalion of some 400 men of reportedly unarmed Railroad Troops was sent to Abkhazia to repair the railroad on May 31 without warning or the consent of the Georgian government. Despite strong protests from Tbilisi, the Railroad Troops continued their work in Abkhazia for two months. The troops repaired 54 km of Soviet-built tracks with 20 tunnels and bridges south of the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi to the coastal town of Ochamchire. The railroad was out of use since the early 1990s, a period which witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Georgia-Abkhaz war.[2]


In connection with the reorganization of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, located in the territory of the Russian Federation Presidential Decree signed on 18.04.1992 №392 "On the Railway Troops of the Russian Federation" General Directorate of railway troops, units, units, agencies, military and educational institutions and enterprises of railway troops, stationed in the Russian Federation, have been taken under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.

Presidential Decree of 30.09.1992 №1148 "On the structure of the central bodies of federal executive power" General Directorate of Railway Troops of the Ministry of Architecture, Building and Housing of was reorganized into the Federal Railway Troops of the Ministry of Railways of the Russian Federation, by thus taking them out of the Armed Forces control.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Railway Troops at the Cathedral Square, Moscow Kremlin, 21 February 2002

On 7.08.1995 Federal Law of 05.08.1995 N 126-FZ "On the Railway Troops of the Russian Federation" entered into force. According to Presidential Decree №903 signed on September 7, 1995 the Federal Railway Troops of the Ministry of Railways of the Russian Federation were reorganized into the Federal service of railway troops of the Russian Federation.

In accordance with Presidential Decree signed on 3 March 2004 №314 "On the system and structure of federal executive agencies" the Federal Railway Troops Service was abolished and its functions transferred to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The provisions of the decree concerning the Federal Railway Troops of the Russian Federation entered into force after the entry into force of the federal law (Federal Law of 29.06.2004 N 58-FZ). On October 5, 2004 the troops became subordinated to the Russian Armed Forces Rear Service).


At the disposal of railway troops are complex high-performance machines and tools, advanced design and equipment for rehabilitation and construction of railways. The complex includes:

  • puteukladchiki and other track machines
  • pile-driving and blasting equipment
  • overhead traveling cranes
  • railway cranes
  • proletovye collapsible structure and support
  • inventory collapsible trestle
  • specialized equipment floating bridges

Further reading

Железнодорожный транспорт: Энциклопедия / Гл. ред. Н. С. Конарев. —М.: Большая Российская энциклопедия.


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