Georgian Railway Ltd

The history of the Georgian Railway begins in 1867 when the first railway link was constructed to connect the Black Sea port with the manganese mines in Georgia. Later on, in 1872 the railway link was extended from the sea port to Baku for Azerbaijani oil. Today the Georgian Railway, initiated for cargo transportation, maintains its role of a railway.

With no subsidies from the government it does its own maintenance and self-modernizes its own infrastructure. Being 100% state owned, Georgian Railway pays significant dividends to its shareholder and is one of the largest taxpayers and corporate employers in the country.

Georgian Railway is a 1,600-kilometer (including double tracks and branches), broad-gauge railway well located on the western part of the land bridge connecting Azerbaijan and Armenian railways and the three existing ports on the Black Sea (Batumi, Poti and Kulevi), railway connection link to Turkey is under construction. The existing capacity of Georgian Railway is around 27 million tons per year. JSC Georgian Railway has started the implementation of Railway Modernization Project (modernization of existing railway line from Zestaponi to Kharagauli and construction of new railway line from Moliti to Khashuri) with the aim to improve and optimize the service provided to freight and passenger traffic. After completion of the project the thought capacity of the main railway line will increase threefold and the costs of operations will be considerable decreased. On the first stage, the estimated increase of the line capacity will reach up to 60 million tons per year, but after the full completion of Modernization project and introduction of automatic blocking  system the overall heavy load capacity on the entire railway line will exceed 100 million tons per year.

The mainline is double track, which means the network has high capacity, and the line is fully electrified. In addition, the railway enjoys the benefits of regional economic growth, concentrated in the development of energy resources.

The large majority of the railway’s freight volume is transit cargo—primarily oil and oil products - moving from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to the Georgian Sea Port/terminal - Batumi Port and Kulevi Terminal. As many as 20 trains a day operate each way across GR’s double-track mainline.

Major characteristics of GR’s infrastructure are:

 -   The predominant track gauge is 1520 mm, and a small branch line is built to    narrow gauge (912 mm).

  -  The design axle load is 23 tonnes on most lines (although the narrow gauge line and some branches were built to lower axle loading limits).

  -  The mainline was designed to accommodate speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour (kph) for passenger trains and 80 kph for freight trains, though the geography rarely permits such speeds.

  -  The main line’s rail standard is R65 (65 kilograms-per-meter, Russian design), and lower rail weights (mostly R50) are used in branches, shunting yards, and some station tracks.

  -  The minimum design horizontal curve is for a radius of 300 meters or more (about a 6 degree curve), although there are more than 30 curves (totaling 3.7 km) with a radius of 200 meters or less; two with radii of 180 and 190 meters on the main line.

- The electrical power system is an overhead simple catenary with a nominal working voltage of 3.3 kilovolts (kV) direct current (DC). The single narrow gauge line uses a nominal voltage of 1.5 kV DC.

Although in the past GR operated from the Azerbaijan border in the east to the Russian border in the west, the railway ceased operating into Abkhazia ever since the conflict in that region closed the borders. Currently, official GR operations end at the administrative border with the Abkhazian Autonomy. When that conflict ends, it is likely GR will reopen the line and continue operations to the Russian border at Adleri at the western end of Georgia.