The Abkhazian Railway was once part of the busy Transcaucus Railway, a strategic railway line built by the Russian Empire linking the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. It opened in 1871. It was an important route for supplying oil from Baku to the rest of the Russian Empire. When the Soviet Union was formed in 1922, the Transcaucasus Railway was absorbed by Soviet Railways but continued to operate as a subsidiary.
It did so until the breakup of the USSR in 1991 when the Transcaucasus Railway was split between Armenian Railway, Azerbaijan State Railway, Georgian Railways, and Abkhazian Railway. Not long after, the War in Abkhazia broke out and much of the railway in the autonomous region was destroyed and abandoned.
The link to Russia was restored in 2002 and through trains began to operate between Sukhumi and Moscow. Attempts were made to reactivate internal traffic and some freight movements may still operate, but local passenger services were discontinued in 2007. In 2009, Abkhazian Railways were placed under the management of Russian Railways for a period of at least 10 years.
Russian Railways restored a 130 km section of the railway in mid-2011 using a 2 billion ruble loan from the Russian government. Regular passenger services from Moscow and Sochi were also restored.
Abandoned train station in Ochamchire, Abkhazia
Ochamchire is located on the Black Sea coast, approximately 50km southeast of the Abkhazian capital, Sukhumi. The town was badly affected by the Abkhazia-Georgia conflict of 1992-93 and, as a result, many of the buildings are in a state of abandonment or neglect.
The Ochamchire railway station was constructed during the 1950s through to the 1960s. The train station designed in Stalinist Empire style and now lies in a state of abandonment. It was possible to get inside and urban explorers were able to wander around and marvel at what would have been an exceptional piece of architecture back in its day.
As with other sections of the line, occasional trains still rumble through and in the case of Ochamchire, it’s coal from nearby Tkvarcheli that is being transported before eventually being shipped abroad.
Not far from the station was an abandoned factory. Ochamchire was once home to a number of production industries and this particular factory used to processed tea. The economic hardship and destroyed infrastructure that followed was another contributing factor for the decline of railway.
In 2019, summer passenger services on the line consist of daily overnight trains from Sukhumi (Russian Сухум) to Moscow or St Petersburg and return. In spring and autumn services are reduced to 2 or 3 times weekly, and there are no winter services.
Currently, the biggest part of the Abkhazian railway is not used and abandoned. Rumor has it that the local inhabitants are sawing abandoned rails for scrap and sell them.
The stunning photos at the Teriberka, Russia were taken by Nordskif & Co. Nordskif & Co are professional photographers and urban explorers, which share their stories with followers.
If you’d like to see more abandoned places in Abkhazia then check out our articles on the Stunning Photos of Train Graveyard at the Sukhumi railway station and the Abandoned Sukhumi Babushara Airport in Abkhazia