Railway Employees Day in Azerbaijan Date in the current year: October 13, 2024

Railway Employees Day in Azerbaijan Railway Employees Day is an official professional holiday in Azerbaijan. Celebrated annually on October 13, it was established by President Ilham Aliyev in 2005. The date was chosen to commemorate the formation of the Azerbaijan State Railways shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Azerbaijan’s independence.

The history of railways in Azerbaijan dates back to the Russian Empire. In 1865, the imperial government funded the construction of the Transcaucasus Railway to connect the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. It was supposed to give the Russian Empire better control of the South Caucasus and speed up the transportation of troops from Central Asia.

The first railway line in Azerbaijan was laid in 1878 and opened two years later. It was a suburban line connecting Sabunçu to Suraxani (both municipalities are now part of Baku). The opening of the first long-distance railway in Azerbaijan took place in 1883; it connected Baku to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Two lines connecting Azerbaijan to Dagestan were opened in 1900, and eight years later, Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan exclave became connected to Armenia. This marked the end of the development of the Azerbaijani railway during the imperial era.

Following the 1917 October Revolution, the Russian Imperial Railways were transformed into the Soviet Railways. This transformation marked the beginning of the electrification of Azerbaijan’s railway lines, as well as their extension.

Until 1945, the Azerbaijani railway was operated as part of the Transcaucasus Railway. Between 1945 and 1967, it was repeatedly split from the Transcaucasus Railway into a separate entity only to be integrated back into it a couple of years later. Finally, in 1967, the Azerbaijani branch of the Soviet Railways finally began to be operated completely independently from the Transcaucasus Railway.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Railways were split into over a dozen national railways belonging to the newly independent republics. The Azerbaijan State Railways (Azərbaycan Dövlət Dəmir Yolları) was formed on October 13, 1991. The anniversary of its formation is now celebrated as Railway Employees Day. In 2009, it was replaced by the state-owned closed joined-stock company Azerbaijan Railways.

Azerbaijan Railways operates over 2,900 km of rail tracks, about 43% of which are electrified, and 176 stations. The national railway network of Azerbaijan has no high-speed lines and is therefore not served by high-speed trains. The Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway directly connects Azerbaijan to Georgia and Turkey. The country also has direct railway connection to Russia and Iran; however, its railway connection to neighboring Armenia was closed due to the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between the two countries.

Azerbaijan Railway Employees Day was created to commemorate the formation of the Azerbaijani State Railways and highlight the contribution of the country’s railway employees to the development of its infrastructure. It is marked by professional events held by the administrations of railway departments. Like all public holidays in Azerbaijan, it is not a non-working day unless it falls during a weekend.

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