The first step in the project on building railway between St. Petersburg and Moscow lay in recommendations submitted by engineer and scientist Pavel Melnikov to the respective ministry in early 1841. The document was thoroughly studied, and an imperial decree followed. The longest railroad in the world (for that time) was being built for 8.5 years, and the constructors were using all innovations in the field of transport engineering. The track gauge presented a separate problem. Melnikov carefully studied the situation in different countries and suggested the gauge of 1,524 mm, wider than in Europe and USA, yet the most convenient from the point of view of railroad’s operation in general.
On November 13, 1851, at 11:15, the first passenger train started form Saint Petersburg. Having covered 604 versts (645 km), it arrived to the platform of Nikolayevsky Railway Terminal, constructed in Moscow for this very occasion. Pavel Melnikov’s work was acknowledged – with an order from Tsar Nikolay and monument in Kalanchevskaya Square from future generations.