Camp Railroad, Vorkuta, Russia

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Camp Railroad

This piece of track is part of the long railroad that skirts around arctic Vorkuta. It was originally built to serve the lagpunkts surrounding the city. At 1940s Vorkuta was essentially a Gulag town, with dozens of labour camps scattered in the harsh tundra. They were mostly mining camps, and the railroad connected all of them, providing the camps and hauling the coal away. The railroad was used also after the dismantling of Gulag in the 1960s as the mines continued to operate with free Soviet citizens working in them. Now the camps are gone, most of the mines are closed and the microraions around them are reduced to mere ghost towns. But the wound of the railway still stretches there, a solemn unintended memorial for the hundreds of thousands who suffered here in vain.

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