When considering the nature of the task to be undertaken in providing Russia with a railway net, the geographical importance of the River Volga as a collecting agency for the products of practically the whole of European Russia must first of all be taken into account. 1 It encloses the greater part of Russia in Europe within a large bow, stretching roughly from the Baltic to the Caspian Sea. It was within this bow that railways were first constructed, to serve as a distributing agency for the commodities collected by the great river. The following aims were kept in view: to connect the Volga region with the Baltic Sea, and Central Russia with the Black Sea and the Western land frontier. Hence the agricultural products of the country might find a speedy route to the markets of Western Europe, from which also the necessary supplies of manufactured goods could be easily distributed in exchange. The right bank of the river was connected with railways at fifteen points, from which lines were laid down leading to Petrograd, Riga, Libau. Thus the twofold object was attained of securing the exchange of goods between the large interior waterways and the principal ports, and connecting the rich district of Central Russia with Western Europe through the Black Sea ports and the Western land frontier.