In this early spring view over Russia, the thin black linear extension of the Trans-Siberian Railroad contrasts sharply with the snow-covered ground. Only a small section of the 9340-kilometer railway is seen here extending westward toward the horizon. Major cities dot the route at intervals, corresponding to the refueling distances for coal-fired locomotive engines. The city of Omsk is the large black spot in the foreground. It is located at the intersection of the railway and the Irtysh River. The dark spot in the distance on the Trans-Siberian Railroad is the city of Petropav-lovsk. Transport of people and goods by rail is generally less expensive than by airplane or auto, but still more expensive than by ship. In the vast landmass of northern Russia and Siberia, where the northern route by sea can be blocked by ice for many months, the Trans-Siberian Railroad serves as a critical lifeline.
April–May 1994, image STS-59-215-30.