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Russian floods close Trans-Siberian railway

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Russian Railways on Thursday closed a section of the legendary Trans-Siberian railway because if serious flooding, potentially delaying a train en route from Moscow to the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

Flood water washed away some of the stone ballast supporting the track in the far eastern Amur region after a nearby river reached a "critical level", Russian Railways said in a statement on its website.

Repair workers were propping up the affected area with concrete slabs and adding more crushed stones after the track was closed at a distance of around 7,500 kilometres (4,700 miles) from the capital.

The repairs were expected to cause delays to the Moscow-Vladivostok passenger train, the railway monopoly said. The train left Moscow on Wednesday evening and was due to arrive in Vladivostok almost a week later.

Extreme flooding in the region has seen the emergency ministry evacuate more than 13,000 people from their homes.

The Trans-Siberian railway, known as the Transsib in Russian, is the most reliable means of transport across the country, which is still not fully connected by modern motorways.

The route betweeen Moscow and Vladivostok covers 9,300 kilometres (5,800 miles).

President Vladimir Putin had been informed of the floods, the Kremlin's website said, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Twitter he would fly out to the Far East on Thursday evening to survey the damage.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130815/russian-floods-close-trans-siberian-railway