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[as of 11.2005]

The city is located 3587 km. east of Moscow, 199 km. south of Kemerovo, the regional capital, and 25 km. north of Novokuznetsk, the major industrial center in the Kuzbass area. The original settlement was established in 1918 by way of joining of two villages, Monastyrskoe and Prokop'yevskoe. The status of the city was acquired in 1931. Nowadays, the city's population is 219 900 people. This number, however, is gradually subsiding ever since 1986, when it reached its maximum at 276 000 inhabitants.

The city of Prokop'yevsk is actually a compilation of a number of villages and towns that are administratively joined into one township.

The city's development is directly related to the mining industry. Even though coke coal mining was always a dominant trade in the Kuzbass area, the industry has downsized dramatically after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the planned economy. Many facilities have since closed down. Limited mining is now maintained at only 16 mines and open cuts that remain open, a fraction of the famed past. The city also boasts a major "Electromashina" factory and a mining automotive machinery factory.

After a period of decline during the 1990s, the city of Prokopyevsk is experiencing a re-birth, thanks to the newly elected socially oriented city government, and aggressive alternative trade economic policies. As of 2004 Prokop'yevsk appeared to be a city of many contrasts, as clean central neighborhoods and neat newer suburbs coexist next to sites of abandoned mines, a gloomy reminder of the past socialist industrialization.

(by Dmitriy Merzlov)


12.05.1936 - from Shakhta im. Kalinina to Gorniy Tekhnikum (Tyrgan) via Prospektnaya Ul., Serova Ul.; (temporary depot at Shakhta 8)
08.1936 - from Shakhta im. Kalinina to Poliklinika via Prospektnaya Ul.
03.1937 - from Poliklinika to Artemovskaya Ul. via Fasadnaya Ul. (Shakhterov Pr.)
04.1937 - from Artemovskaya Ul. to Komsomolskaya Ul. via Fasadnaya Ul.
1952 - from Komsomolskaya Ul. to Torgovaya Ul. via Fasadnaya Ul.
5.11.1956 - from Shakhta "Koksovaya" to DK im. Stalina (Pos. Yasnaya Polyana) via Koksovaya Ul., Yasnaya Polyana Ul., Tuvinskaya Ul., Volzhskaya Ul.; the Depot 2 opens
1958 - from Torgovaya Ul. to Zavod "Elektromashina" via Fasadnaya Ul.
1959 - the new Depot 1 on Serova Ul.
1963 - from Tyrgan (DK PZShA) to Park im. 40-Letiya VLKSM via Gagarina Pr., Institutskaya Ul., O.Dundicha Ul.
07.1964 - from Park im. 40-Letiya VLKSM to Shakhta "Ziminka 3-4" ("Tyrganskaya") via Pavlova Ul.
08.1964 - from Fasadnaya Ul. to Shakhta "Koksovaya" via Komsomolskaya Ul., Frunze Ul., Koksovaya Ul.
1972 - from Gagarina Pr. to RTTZ via Institutskaya Ul.
1974 - from RTTZ to Farforoviy Zavod (PFZ) via Gaydara Ul.
1975 - from Shakhta "Tyrganskaya" to Shakhta "Ziminka 1-2" via Uchastkovaya Ul., Kutuzova Ul., Novoselovka Ul., Morozovoy Ul.
1976 - from Shakhta "Ziminka 1-2" to Khlebozavod via Morozovoy Ul., 40 Let Oktyabrya Ul.
08.1981 - from PFZ to Stroitelnaya Ul. (3-y mikrorayon) via Gaydara Ul.
09.1981 - from Pos. Yasnaya Polyana to Shakhta "Severniy Maganak"
1987 - the Depot 3 near RTTZ opens
1993 - from Stroitelnaya Ul. to BTI via Esenina Ul.
2003 - the new Severniy Maganak loop at Profsoyuznaya Ul. and Bezhetskaya Ul.
2003 - the 700 meter line from Severniy Maganak to Shakhta "Severniy Maganak" dismantled

After the "Severniy Maganak" mine was abandoned, but prior to the opening of the new Severniy Maganak loop, for a period of time trams ran to the old loop at the former mine without passengers.



Technically speaking, the Prokop'yevsk tramway network is rather an interurban system, than an urban installation. If identified correctly, it would be the Severniy Maganak - Yasnaya Polyana - Koksovaya - Prokop'yevsk - Scherbakovka - Rudnichniy - Tyrgan - Novoselovka - Ziminka - Krasnaya Gorka interurban network. The system also conveys an interurban character as it consists of long picturesque tramway lines connecting various neighborhoods that are spread out over a hilly landscape. Most lines boast extensive curvature and rollercoaster grades as they adjust to the rugged terrain they run through. The system is exceedingly reminiscent of the Silesian interurban web, or of the former Pittsburgh, USA network.

Even though most of the lines are duplicated by roads, trams remain the only mode of transportation in the city. Unlike in many other Russian cities, gipsy taxi minibuses (marshrutka) are practically non-existent.

Prokop'yevsk boasts the most extreme grades in Russia. The city used to be the testing grounds for the main Russian tramway manufacturer, the Ust-Katav factory.

There is an impressive tramway history museum at the Depot 1, a surprising treat, considering the small size of the city.



1 Zavod "Elektromashina" - RTTZ
3 Zavod "Elektromashina" - Yasnaya Polyana
4 BTI - Gorbolnitsa (rush hours only)
5 BTI - Khlebozavod
6 Zavod "Elektromashina" - Stroitelnaya
7 Yasnaya Polyana - Severniy Maganak
9 BTI - Razrez "Prokopyevskiy" (rush hours only)

Lines 1 and 9 did not operate for a period of time during the late-1990s, but were resurrected by 2004.

Line 1 is a supplementary service, a shorter version of the city's busiest line 6. It mostly operates during the rush hour, with occasional service only provided other times. Lines 4, 5 and 9 serve the same BTI - Khlebozavod corridor, with services 4 and 9 being the rush hour only shorter versions of the full line 5.



At the end of the 1990s / the beginning of the 2000s, there were various reports on Prokop'yevsk tramway system experiencing persistent disruptions due to power shortages. Additionally, the reliability of service was low, and the headways could extend up to as long as 1 hour. This situation changed radically as the system has seen a virtual revival. By 2004 a reliable and predictable service is operated, with steady headways maintained at 7-8 min on all lines, all day long, including weekends. For instance, the combined headway via the previously notoriously underserved Khlebozavod corridor worked by Lines 4, 5 and 9, is only 3-4 min within the central-most section to Gorbolnitsa, and 7-8 min along the outer section to Krasnaya Gorka.

Such orderly tramway operation projects the image of stability of the service, conveys predictability to passengers, and leaves particularly pleasant impression with rail fans. This comes somewhat unexpected, considering that just recently the tramway service in Prokop'yevsk was not expected to survive. It is especially grotesque if compared to the neighboring major industrial city of Novokuznetsk (just 25 km. to the south), which as of 2004 boasts nearly ruined and the most pathetic electric transport system in Russia.



KTM-5M3, 90 cars (1983-1991):
102, 103, 108-113, 118-120, 124, 127-130, 133-136, 139, 140, 142-148, 162, 166, 168, 169, 171-173, 175-177, 179,180, 182-185, 187-192, 207, 210, 212-214, 216, 218-220, 229, 233, 235-237, 242, 260, 264, 315, 316, 318-320, 323, 325-327, 330-334, 336, 337, 339-343, 356, 357

KTM-8, 12 cars (1992-1994):
239, 240, 344-350, 352-354

KTM-8M, 2 cars (1995):
241, 355

Total: 108 cars.

Car 113 of KTM-5M3 type is the oldest, delivered in 1983. The newest are KTM-8M cars 241, 355, delivered in 1995. Car 355 is refurbished into a cafe and is no longer listed as a passenger car.

Cars 356 and 357 of KTM-5M3 type have numbers higher than cars of a newer KTM-8 and 8M type. The higher numbers were assigned upon transferring cars 170 and 167 respectively from Depot 1 to Depot 3.

3 KTM-5M3 cars (162,191,192) and 2 KTM-8 cars (353,354) were received second-hand from the neighboring city of Osinniki, which did not like the cars built by the Ust'-Katav factory.

In 2004 all KTM-8 cars are used during 'peak' hours only, mostly working the BTI - Gorbolnitsa - Razrez Prokop'yevskiy - Khlebozavod corridor, served by Lines 4, 5 and 9. The usage of these cars was reduced to a minimum as they are considered the least reliable. All KTM-8 cars are also found in the least presentable cosmetic condition.

Attempts to cosmetically beautify the fleet as a part of the drive to resurrect the system were evident around 2004. Even though many cars still have rather dreary look, most of them seem to be in a fair mechanical condition, as breakdowns are kept at the minimum.

There is a program of a complete overhaul of KTM-5M3 cars at the local depot. Most cars are rebuilt up to the manufacturer's standards. Car 119, rebuilt at the Depot in 2004, received a number of cosmetic innovations. Among them, rotating doors - a feature highly unusual for KTM-5M3 cars. 119 is considered a pride of Prokop'yevsk tramway.

2-car trains were popular in the city during the mid-1990s. By 2004 there are only 2 trains left, used during 'rush' hours only.



The system is built almost entirely on the reservation. The short sections in mixed traffic are: the viaduct on Komsomolskaya Ul., between Shakhterov Pr., and Frunze Ul.; and the section via Institutskaya Ul. near Gagarina Pr.

All other lines are built on the segregated right-of-way, mostly via the streets' curbside. Only the main lines through Tyrgan, via Gagrina Pr. and part of Institutskaya Ul. are built tramway-boulevard style, in the middle of the road.

The line along the northern part of Institutskaya Ul. and Oleko Dundicha Ul., the line via Esenina Ul., and most of the Yasnaya Polyana section of the network, are tramway-only corridors with no roads.

The section via Gagarina Pr. between Institutskaya Ul. and Shkolnaya Ul., together with the square at the intersection of Gagarina Pr. and Institutskaya Ul. are somewhat unique, as these are developed into a tramway-pedestrian zone - an approach almost unheard of in the post-Soviet world.

The most notable sections of interurban character are:

- The line via Prospektnaya Ul. from Shakterov Pr. to DK PZShA, between Prokop'yevsk and Tyrgan, through Scherbakovka and Rudnichniy;
- The line from Tyrgan to Krasnaya Gorka, through Novoselovka and Ziminka, beyond Gorbolnitsa;
- The line via Frunze Ul. and Koksovaya Ul., from Shakhterov Pr. to Yasnaya Polyana Ul., between Prokop'yevsk and Krasnaya Polyana, through Koksovaya.

The above noted lines stretch along suburban roads, amid scenic hilly landscapes, in some places turning into tramway-only right-of-ways that cut through ragged terrain. The line to Yasnaya Polyana, as well as some sections of the line via Prospectnaya Ul., run amid a mountainous terrain where the width of roads is limited. Tramway tracks are tightly fit within the narrow curbside, thus in some places forcing trams to face opposing traffic almost head-on.

Vast open prairies on the west side of the line via Esenina Ul. give an impression that trams run through nowhere, provided the camera is pointed west. The new apartment blocks are nevertheless loom on the eastern side of the street.



The total length of tracks (two-way) is 36,9 km. All tracks are in good condition, allowing for relatively high speeds.



The latest trend toward tramway resurrection might convey optimism, but it depends heavily on current city politics. The insolvency of the city economy and the dwindling population do not validate future stability of the network.

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