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International Railroad Discussion > Georgia part 6, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch

Date: 11/30/18 21:34
Georgia part 6, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch
Author: gobbl3gook

I bicycled west through southern Georgia.  I passed the head end of another branch line at Akhaltsikhe, but didn't see any activity or other infrastructure.  There's a large, mostly-restored castle in town, so that's what I spent my time visiting.  

Usually when traveling I keep a close eye on the rail infrastructure, both on maps and visually.  Here I think I didn't even notice that I was at the end of a branch line.  I recall going under the railroad overpass to get to the castle, and recall noticing, with some surprise, that I was running parallel to the rail line as I was leaving town.  But, it was cold and intermittently drizzly, so I overlooked the rail features.  

Looking at Google Maps, the line appears to be active as far as the down-canyon end of town, where there is an active freight yard.  It would have been interesting to have gone down to see what activity looks like on a small branch line -- this may be te only rail infrastructure I missed on the entire journey...  

Midway between the terminus here and the origin of the branch line in Kashuri is a restored 1900-era narrow gauge line.  There were a couple routing options that would have brought me that way, but the season was getting late so I just made a straight journey across southern Georgia.  http://agenda.ge/en/news/2016/3146

Photos Nov 6, 2017

1), 2) and 3) aerial shots of the branch line, in the mid-background.  
Location: Rabati Castle https://goo.gl/maps/oBviGBmAk3U2

Ted in OR

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/30/18 22:52 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 11/30/18 21:46
Re: Georgia part 5, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch
Author: gobbl3gook

4) Railway map of Georgia (from wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgian_Railway 
Akhaltsikhe is on the bottom of the map, along the Turkish border, just to the right of the town of "Vale".  

5) and 6) Castle photos
This castle was the largest I saw in my travels, and also the most extensively restored.  It functioned as the civic center of the region, with commerce, a church, a mosque, and various other buildings.  The views from the towers were pretty nice, the gardens, plazas, gazebos, were pretty to look at, and the narrow, steep stairways up to the walkways on the top of the castle wall were fun to climb and explore.  

Pomegranates and persimmons were popular fruit trees all over the Caucasus.  Just as I was getting ready to go, the drizzle started again, so I bought a glass of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice from a vendor.  I'd never had fresh pomegranate juice before, quite tasty.  I'd think it would be popular in the Sacramento Valley, where pomegranates also grow very enthusiastically.  

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/30/18 21:49 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 11/30/18 22:17
Re: Georgia part 5, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch
Author: gobbl3gook

Bonus photos: Goderdzi Pass

Heading west I went over a 6000' pass on my way to the Black Sea coast.  

Georgia is at a similar latitude as the Pacific Northwest, and like Oregon, the east side of the mountains is dry, and the west side, along sea, is wet.  

I was following the Turkish border here.  And, an odd artifact of being at the edge of the former Soviet Union is the presence of a well engineered, military road.  Often low-valume, narrow mountain roads are difficult to bicycle on because they follow the countours of the land, and have lots of sharp ups and downs.  Soviet military roads, by contrast, have constant grades.  So for 3000' of vertical climb I had the pleasure of riding on a gently climbing gravel road with very little traffic.  My bike was loaded to about 100 lbs at this point, but I had equipped it with a very low climbing gear, and it was a very comfortable ride.  

7) Towards the top the forest cleared, and there was fresh snow on the top.  This is what I always imagined Siberia to be like -- scattered wooden houses, frail wooden fences, lots of snow.  

8) The summit.  This was a great road for bicycling -- I like quiet roads with very little traffic.  Just fine at the 5 - 12 mph pace I roll at.  

9) Looking west.  There was a ski resort here, and the road dropped down 6000' over the next 50 miles or so, gradually getting more lush.  

Questions, comments?  

Ted in OR

Date: 11/30/18 23:05
Re: Georgia part 5, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch
Author: ajax247

Bonus indeed!! Thanks for posting your travels. 

Date: 12/01/18 10:08
Re: Georgia part 5, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch
Author: GettingShort

Excelent as always. You really had a good look at Georgia.

Date: 12/01/18 10:13
Re: Georgia part 5, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch
Author: Duna

Nice photos, thanks!  An old map- it still shows Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of Georgia. Similar to maps showing Crimea as part of Ukraine.

There is no rail service between Georgia and Abkhazia, the line is broken at the Inguri River. Rail service to Abkhazia is from the northwest (Sochi, Russia) and is provided by RZD, Russian Railways.

Date: 12/01/18 15:27
Re: Georgia part 5, no traffic on Akhaltsikhe branch
Author: retcsxcfm

Looks like arough and muddy road to me.
Not a "super highway".
Love you pics.

Uncle Joe

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