Monday, September 24, 2007

 

Building the BAM

‘The Soviet engineers gazed into the abandoned tunnel with dismay. It was 1974 and work was scheduled to resume on the construction of the Baikal-Amur Magistral (BAM), a railway line in north-eastern Siberia. The Dusse-Alin Tunnel had been completed in an earlier phase of the undertaking, as evidenced by the inscription “1947-1950” over the entrance and the busts of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin that earlier workers had hewn out of the nearby rock. But the harsh climate and intervening years had not been kind to the permafrost-piercing passage. Peering into the gaping hole, the worried workers could see something glinting inside. The BAM project, perhaps the greatest civil engineering endeavour the world has ever seen, had encountered yet another problem.’




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