The Ministry of Defense has tested trains that can be used both in support of military operations and in the elimination of the consequences of natural disasters. They are equipped with everything necessary for carrying out repair work of automobile and armored vehicles, accommodation of specialists and their provision in hard-to-reach places. According to experts, such rescue trains will be especially in demand in sparsely populated areas, in particular in Siberia.
Ready to be saved
The railroad train for emergency assistance was successfully tested in the strategic exercises Zapad-2021, sources in the defense department told Izvestia. Starting next year, such convoys will, if necessary, be sent to combat zones or to areas of natural disasters. The equipment placed in the cars allows carrying out complex repairs of a wide variety of combat vehicles, replacing and adjusting their electronic and mechanical equipment.
In the event of a military conflict, the train performs the functions of a mobile repair and recovery center. In this capacity, he was involved in August at the exercises of the logistics forces (MTO) in the Western Military District, and then at the final maneuvers “West-2021”. During the exercises in the rear, with its help, for the first time, a whole area for the comprehensive restoration of weapons and military equipment was deployed. MTO specialists in the field practiced evacuation, repair, restoration and transfer of vehicles to combat units. Representatives of manufacturing plants were involved in the work. In total, more than 300 servicemen and 170 units of special equipment were involved.
The capabilities of the recovery train may also be in demand in the elimination of the consequences of emergencies, to which the military has been regularly involved in recent years. If necessary, the echelon will become a rescue station, a service point or a mobile headquarters.
“If there are railways, this technique can be used to eliminate any large-scale emergency,” explained military expert Vladislav Shurygin to Izvestia. – During the Great Patriotic War, there were whole repair factories on wheels, which, in the event of a major operation, moved forward in this direction and repaired the equipment that was delivered for them. Today the range of tasks is much wider, and these trains are very much in demand. If, for example, we take the situation with fires in Yakutia, in places where there was a railway, they could well be used. In addition, various modules can be added to them. Since Soviet times, there are railway fire systems – large tanks that were used to extinguish fire
Train to the taiga
There are units in the system of the Ministry of Defense, whose work can be aimed at helping those who are fighting fire, participating in the elimination of various kinds of natural disasters or man-made disasters, said Colonel Alexander Perendzhiev, associate professor of Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.
“These formations need trains in order to quickly transfer equipment, equipment, and the troops themselves to carry out rescue operations,” he explained to Izvestia. – This is especially true in areas with small settlements, in forests, where there are no settlements at all. The Armed Forces can maneuver across the country to carry out rescue operations, liquidate natural disasters, and fight fires. And in order to ensure the successful implementation of these tasks not only with the help of aircraft, but also by land, there is a need to introduce rescue trains.
According to the expert, it is most effective to use such formulations in Siberia and the Far East, in large and sparsely populated areas.
– The Railway Troops (ZhDV) will ensure the construction of new roads in Siberia, which are not yet intended for passenger traffic, but are necessary for the passage of military echelons with rescuers. In connection with the appearance of these trains, they will be given a new task – to ensure the passage of rescuers’ equipment to the most inaccessible places for a more effective fight against fire, floods and other natural disasters, concluded Alexander Perendzhiev.
The Armed Forces of Russia are already serving trains, which are called “special purpose trains.” For example, the Railroad has a recovery train “Amur” and a special combat escort train “Baikal”. The first one is designed to remove obstacles on the rails and repair tracks. Baikal is more versatile. It is adapted not only for the restoration of the canvas, but also for the repair of small structures, as well as demining. He can carry small units or accompany military echelons.
Such trains have armored platforms and carriages where not only personnel but also artillery systems can be accommodated. For example, twin rapid-fire anti-aircraft guns ZU-23-2. In recent years, they have been regularly involved in major exercises, practicing escorting trains, protecting infrastructure facilities and overcoming large water obstacles along pontoon bridges.
In the course of military reforms at the beginning of the last decade, changes also affected the Railway Troops. Then, among other things, the option of eliminating them was considered. But in the end, it was decided to preserve this branch of the military, provide it with modern special equipment and use it on projects of strategic importance, as well as in the elimination of the consequences of natural disasters. Thus, in 2015, railway soldiers built a section of the Zhuravka-Millerovo track on the southwestern borders of Russia. This summer, the Railways began work on the expansion and reconstruction of the eastern section of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM). More than 1100 people and 900 pieces of equipment are involved in them. By 2024, the railway units will have to build about 340 km of tracks.
Bogdan Stepovoy, Anna Cherepanova
Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus