The Vyshnevolotskaya water system , the Vyshnevolotskaya system  is a waterway in Russia , near the city of Vyshny Volochyok , the oldest artificial water system in Russia.
|Vyshnevolotskaya water system|
Remains of lock structures on the Vishersky canal in the Novgorod region
|Object of cultural heritage, |
object № 6900317000
The system links the Tvertsa River, a tributary of the Volga , with the Baltic Sea . The Vyshnevolotsk water system includes the Tvertsa River and its left bank equipped shoreline, a watershed section with canals, locks and reservoirs, and then the Msta River , Vishersky and Siversov Canals, on the Baltic one-way slope (slope) of the system. Transit traffic throughout the system has ceased since 1893. The largest hydraulic system in Europe at the end of the XVIII century. The purpose of the construction of the system was the development of trade, the supply of St. Petersburg with food and other goods supplied from central Russia.
Construction and the first period of government management
The history of the construction of the waterway began on January 12, 1703, when Peter I signed a decree on the construction of a canal between the Tsnoy and Tvertsoy rivers. The site for the construction of the canal was a part of the old trade route - it was an ancient portage connecting Tvertsa and Tsnu, and which gave the name to the village of Vyshny Volochyok . The management of the construction was entrusted to the tsar's steward the voevode Prince M. P. Gagarin ; The technical management was carried out by ten Dutch masters led by Adrian Gauter. Up to 6 thousand people were involved in the works. The construction of the canal with a length of 2,811 meters and a width of 15 meters with two sluices was completed in the spring of 1709. The channel that exists today was named after Gagarinsky (in honor of the head of construction, Prince M. P. Gagarin), and then Tveretsky .
The Dutch hydrotechnical system was very simple: the separate pool consisted of the Tveretsky Canal, locked in the direction of Tvertsy by the sluice (in the place of the current drain) and a small section of Tsna, locked in the direction of the Msta in the second gateway (in the place of the present Verkhnetsninskaya dam). Only Tsna fed the separate area.
Already in the summer of 1709 it became clear that the canal was built incorrectly: there was not enough water for the free running of ships. The Dutch engineers did not correctly calculate the required supply of water to power the separate part of the system, the gateways were laid too low and did not provide the required backwater. The ships in the bulk did not have time to go their way in a year, and partly they broke up on the most dangerous rapids. A particular problem was the passage of 40 Borovichi rapids over 31 kilometers on Msta. The canal was unsatisfactory, the facilities quickly deteriorated, the fairway was closed by drifts. In 1718, the Tsna River bypassed the existing gateway, after which the system was no longer regulated and became non-profitable.
Private Management Period
The Novgorod merchant Mikhail Serdyukov , who had previously drawn the king’s attention with valuable ideas for repairing and improving the water system, came up with the initiative to bring the water system to a working condition.
On June 26, 1719, Peter I issued a decree on the return of M. I. Serdyukov to the maintenance of the Vyshnevolotsky shipping route. The self-educated person Serdyukov owned several very successful hydrotechnical ideas. The first was to block the current of Shlin , which flowed into Znu below the locks, and force it to merge with Tsna in the area between the locks, which would increase the water level in the Tveretsky canal, and also allow it to direct the waters of Shliny to the direction of Tsna-Msta, and in the direction of Tvertsy, depending on the opening of hydraulic structures. The second idea was to create a new canal with a gateway that bypasses the winding section of Tsna, which is inconvenient for shipping, and to arrange a beyshlot at the site of the existing gateway on Tsne, which provides the necessary water level in the Tvoretsky canal. The third idea was to block the Tsna River with a dam above the Tveretsky Canal, which was to form the first reservoir in Russia. The most unusual idea was to transfer the waterway that suffered from the water shortage to a periodic mode of operation, alternately accumulating water into the reservoir and releasing it; Such engineering practice has not been applied in Russia before. Serdyukov was not only a good hydraulic engineer, but also a successful construction organizer. All the work under his command went quickly, and did it inexpensively (compared to government construction). The implementation of the first two ideas was completed in 1722 with full success, and the water system came to a navigable state. The dam with the reservoir was built in 1741 .
The Vyshnevolotsky system included the Tveretsk Canal with the Tveretsk Gateway, the Tsninsky Channel with the Tsninsky Gateway, the Tsninsky Beislot, which allows maintaining the required water level in the Teveretsk Canal, and a reservoir formed by Tsna and Shlinoy and feeding a separate pool propped up by the Factory Beyshlot. All facilities were smaller, simpler and, more importantly, lower than those built by the end of the 1820s - the reservoir at that time maintained a significantly lower water horizon. At that time, the reservoir was very small (5-6 km 2 ); Shlina flowed into it through the lakes Klyuchino and Gorodobl (currently merged with the reservoir). From the natural confluence of the Znu Shlin was locked with a beyshlot (now in its place the reservoir).
Private waterway management was a kind of concession with a 50-year term. Serdyukov was obliged to make current repairs and maintenance of the channel at his own expense; the treasury provided him with the necessary forest for construction. Serdyukov received the right to impose a special collection on the passing ships, mills on the waterways transferred to him, out-of-competition receipt of payoffs for the maintenance of taverns in the canal zone, the right to use the coastal strip. Initially, Serdyukov managed only the canals and locks in Vyshny Volochyok, and the treasury was responsible for managing the shipping in Tvertsa and Msta. In 1741, at the request of Serdyukov, the Tvertsa River with a shoreline was also transferred to its maintenance, and the contract with it was declared eternal. At the same time, the fee collected by Serdyukov was raised from 5 to 10 kopecks from the sagging length of the vessel. In 1744, Serdyukov was also transferred from the state treasury to the work of cleaning the Borovitsky rapids on the Msta, while the treasury guaranteed compensation for its costs. When doing this work, Serdyukov also showed engineering talent - he guessed to lock up the tributaries of the Msta dam, after which the river bottom was exposed, which made it possible to carry out work on clearing the rapids the whole season.
By the end of the 1740s, the Vyshnevolotskaya system was finally becoming a well-functioning and cost-effective waterway. Gradually, the water industry developed: by the end of the 1760s, some lakes that flow into Msta were backed by beyshlots, as a result of which the Berezaisky, Kemetsky and Uversky reservoirs were formed. The activity of M. Serdyukov was marked by the government. In 1743, Serdyukov and his son were granted the nobility, and in 1745 they were given the ranks of a collegiate adviser and collegiate assessor. Since 1757, the son of Mikhail Serdyukov Ivan ruled the water system. In 1761, Ivan Serdyukov drowned in the Zavodskoy reservoir, and his son Mikhail was taken over. Mikhail Serdyukov Jr. was not distinguished by the talents of his ancestors, and the level of water system management fell noticeably. Merchants began to receive complaints of non-arbitrary administration and extortion. For example, Serdyukov was accused of deliberately delaying the opening of the Tsninsky sluice so that the baroque teams lounging in Volochek would spend more money in the taverns belonging to him.
The government in 1764 ordered to deal with the complaints of a special investigative commission. The commission recognized the complaints to be fair, and external administration from the treasury was appointed over Serdyukov. The channel received a strange management system: government officials controlled shipping, and the maintenance of the channel was carried out at the expense of the treasury. Profits from taverns and mills were taken from Serdyukov, replacing them with payment of 500 rubles a year, but he retained the right to plant a fee from passing ships (with government control over his spending). The impoverished Serdyukov asked for the redemption of his privileges, and in 1774 the Vyshnevolotskaya water system was accepted into the treasury with payment to the owner of 176 thousand rubles.
During the period of mixed administration, important work was carried out on the initiative and at the expense of the treasury. In 1766-68, the Mstinsky Gateway was built, after which a part of Msta lying above it turned into a full-flowing Mstinsky reservoir (Lake Mstino), during the 1760s Dubkovsky and Tuba reservoirs were built at the site of lakes connected with Mstoy.
Second period of government administration
In 1773, the Novgorod governor, Count Yakov Sivers, was appointed to the new post of Director of water communications; in 1793 this post was reorganized into the Department of water communications. Under the leadership of this energetic statesman, the rapid development of the waterways system of Russia began. In the 1770s, the Borovitsky rapids on Msta were thoroughly cleared, which allowed the Barge to pass them without transporting some of the goods by land; the shoreline was improved on Tvertsa; part of the old wooden beyshlotov was replaced by granite. The lakes continued to be included in the work of the water system - the Osechensky, Berezovsky, Valdaisky and Rudnevsky Beyshlots were set up, the Velievsky Canal was dug out.
Somewhere at the same time, Yaroslavl Governor-General Melgunov Alexey Petrovich received a letter from Vasily Khrapovitsky's son, MV Khrapovitsky , to which was attached three plans for water communication from the city of Kalyazin to Ladoga . It is known that at this time Vasily Khrapovitsky was one of the curators of the construction of the Vyshnevolotsk water system. The first plan included, in addition to the communication itself, its beyshlots and gateways "located at the waters and to this communication of the employees" with the piers and villages along them. The second plan is the gateway itself with a gate and the third one is a beyshlot with Veshnyaks; both with longitudinal and transverse profiles. The letter also mentioned Rudnevskiy Beyshlot with a detailed estimate of the materials for its construction  . If you look at the map, then to the south of the city of Kalyazin, the Puda River flows from which the Puda Channel originates, then it goes to the north-west and connects with the Delta of the Era River , which in turn flows into the Volga River . Whether this channel was part of the Vyshnevolotsk or Mariinsky water systems, or was it used to connect these two systems, remains a mystery. It is also not known whether this project was implemented.
In the summer of 1785, Catherine II made a familiarization trip along the waterway. The Empress arrived in Vyshniy Volochek, looked at the canals, watched the caravan passing through Lake Mstino and the rapids, and then on the pier of the Patients, located after the rapids in three Vesta below Borovichi, sat on a specially prepared barge for her, and accompanied by a convoy of ships with her retinue, 10 days swam to St. Petersburg.
In the 1780s-1790s, the restructuring of wooden hydraulic structures into stone ones continued. In the granite were made: in 1786, the Tsninsky beishlot, the Tveretsky gateway, the Dubkovsky beishlot, in 1792 the Tsninsky and Mstinsky gateways, in 1794 - the Uversky beishlot, in 1796 - the Bereza beishlot.
In 1798-1803 a canal was dug out bypassing the Ilmen Siversov Lake. After this, the active work on the reconstruction of the system was, in general, completed. In the 1810s, the Keletsky and Valdai beyshlots, the sandy semi-hatch on the Tsninsky channel were built, and the banks of the Tsninsky channel received a granite lining.
On February 14, 1809, Emperor Alexander I signed a decree “On the Rules for Navigation on the Mariinsky Canal and the Vyshnevolotsky Route”.
By the 1820s, the operating conditions of the system were deteriorating - the water level in the reservoirs was decreasing, there was not enough water to pass the last caravan, and more and more vessels remain in the Valdai for the winter. To restore normal shipping in the late 1820s, a very significant reconstruction of the Zavodskoy reservoir was carried out. All the dams and backwaters enclosing the reservoir were raised, after which the area of the raised reservoir reached 60 km 2 , and the volume of water in it reached 0.16 km 3 . The dams of the Uversky, Berezaisky and Dubkovsky reservoirs were also raised. The reconstruction was successful, and the conditions of navigation through the system immediately improved significantly - in critical places, Tvertsy and Msta were able to raise the depth by 12-15 cm, the time during which the locks could be kept open, feeding the rivers, increased. If before the reconstruction of the water, Tvertsy was in sufficient condition to maintain a navigable state for 40-60 days, now this time has increased to 100-130 days. The hibernation of vessels that did not have time to pass the system, almost stopped. By the end of the 1820s, the waterway reached a historical maximum, both in terms of the number of vessels passed during the season and in terms of their carrying capacity.
In 1826–1836, the Vishersky Canal was built to replace the unfortunate Sivers of the canal. This construction was the last stage of the active development of the Vyshnevolotsk system. From the mid-1840s, the government’s attention shifted to a more cost-effective Mariinsky water system , and then to the construction of railways. All work performed on the system from now on is limited to maintaining it in working condition and small rebuilding of dilapidated hydraulic structures. In the late 1890s, the system’s locks, which were no longer needed in the absence of transit traffic, were rebuilt into waterways with trays for forest passage.
In 1943–1947, another reconstruction of the Vyshnevolotsk water system was carried out, during which a five-kilometer Novo-Tveretsky canal was built between the Vyshnevolotsky reservoir and Tvertsa, the dams of the reservoir were raised, after which its area increased from 60 to 109 km². At the Novo-Tveretsky Canal, when it was connected to Tvertsa, a small Novo-Tveretskaya HPP was built (2,400 kW) ( ) , and on Tsne, below the old Zavodskoy Beyshlot (gone under the water) - the Novozninskaya dam and the tiny Novo-Tsninskaya HPP (220 kW) ( ). These changes were not related to shipping and were aimed at flooding the headwaters of the Volga, where the Rybinsk hydroelectric station was built by that time. Previously, most of the waters of Tsna and Shlin went to Msta, now the waters were deployed to Tvertsa through a new channel. This, of course, led to the fact that Tvertsa became a wider and deeper river than it was historically, and to the opposite effect for Msta.
The facilities of the Vyshnevolotsky hydroelectric complex are currently serviced by the FSUE “Channel them. Moscow . "
Description of the water system
The Vyshnevolotskaya water system connected the basins of the Volga and the Baltic Sea . The system stretched from the Tvertsa confluence into the Volga to Novaya Ladoga and had a total length of 812 versts (866 km). The Volga part of the system (176 versts) ran along the Tvertsa River , from its into the Volga in Tver ( ); through the city of Torzhok ; before the start of the Tveretsky Canal in Vyshny Volochyok . At the entrance to the Tveretsky canal, the Tveretsky gateway was built ( ). Then the path went along the short (2.7 versts) Tveretsky canal to Tsnu ( ); The confluence of the channel into the Tsnu is the highest point of the water system and the watershed between its Baltic and Volga parts. Then the path passed half a verst along the Tsne and passed into the Tsne canal parallel to the Tsne ( ); the canal (1.1 versts) through the Tsninsky gateway ( ) was again connected to Tsnoy. Then the path ran along the River Tsne (6.5 versts) to its confluence into Lake Mstino ( ), along the lake (12 versts) to the source of the river Msta . Not far from the source of Msta, the Mstinsky gateway was arranged ( ). The path along Msta was 402 versts, passed through the town of Borovichi and then went ( ) to the unregulated Sivers ’channel (9 miles), connecting Msta and Volkhov bypassing Lake Ilmen and the swampy delta of Msta. The channel communicated with Volkhov ( ) just above Novgorod . Then the path went along the Volkhov (202 versts) to Novaya Ladoga , where, just above the confluence of the Volkhov and Lake Ladoga , it was connected ( ) with the Novoladozhsky canals of the Mariinsky water system parallel to the shore of the lake. In the direction of the Baltic Sea led the channel of Empress Maria Feodorovna, in the direction of the Volga - the channel of Emperor Alexander II.
The first in time of construction, still under the guidance of Dutch masters in the years 1703-1709, was built the Tveretsky Canal ( ), length 2.6 km, connecting the Ladoga and Volga pools. Granite lining of the left bank of the canal was completed in 1825–1826, right in 1841.
Secondly, in 1719-1723, under the leadership of M.I. Serdyukov, the 1400-meter-high Tsninsky Canal was built ( ) . The direct channel was intended to bypass the winding section of Tsna, which was inconvenient for shipping. In the 1810s, the banks of the canal received a granite lining. In the early 1840s, the Obvodny Canal was dug out at the source of the Tsninsky Canal, next to the Trading Rows ( ), intended for ship loading in it. On the island formed by the channel, the Epiphany Cathedral was later built.
Low-boring and flat-bottomed barks did not tolerate the excitement and wind, so swimming on Lake Ilmen was dangerous for them. For the direction of ships to bypass the Ilmen, two fully preserved canals were built. In 1798–1803, the Siversov Canal was built ( ), which runs close to the bank of the Ilmen and connects Msta and Volkhov. In 1826–1836, the Vishersky Canal was built ( ), located further from Ilmen and connecting Msta with Vishera, from where you can get in Volkhov, bypassing Novgorod. Only the spring caravan used the Vishersky canal. Both channels were unregulated and had a current in the direction of the Volkhov. Siversov, the canal dug through the marshes was very shallow (about 70 cm deep), and it was constantly drifted.
Reservoirs and reservoirs
The main reservoir, located on the watershed, which can feed both sides of the system (Baltic and Volga), as well as auxiliary reservoirs (reservoirs), feeding separately Tvertsa and Mstu, was intended to power the system.
The main reservoir, the Zavodskoy reservoir (now called the Vyshnevolotsk reservoir ), is formed by the confluence of the Tsna and Shlin rivers, which are loaded by the Tsninsky Beishlot and several dams. The reservoir could feed both Msta (through the Tsninsky gateway) and Tvertsa (through the Tveretsky gateway). The reservoir was created in several construction stages, gradually increasing the area and volume from 1722 to 1951. At present, the reservoir does not look exactly like it did during the years of the waterway — after reconstruction at the end of the 1940s, it was about 40 km 2 more than it had been since the end of the 1820s. The configuration of the western, Vyshnevolotsk coast remained close to the initial state, but to the eastern and southern sides of the coast they were very far apart; the islands in the reservoir are largely submerged; Klyuchino Lake, previously isolated and connected to the main reservoir by two channels, has now almost merged with it; The tsna, which previously flowed into the reservoir near the village of Pererva, now spread 4-5 km upstream. The old beds of Tsna and Shlin, previously well read on the shallow reservoir and marked on the old maps, are now no longer visible. The dam separating the lower course of Tsna from the reservoir was raised; The old granite Factory Beislot ( ) went under water, and a small Novo-Tsninskaya hydroelectric station appeared below it. From the configuration of the first reservoir, built by Serdyukov in the early 1720s, there was no trace on the ground; the shores of this small (5-6 km 2 ) reservoir were completely under water during the reconstruction of the 1820s.
The factory tank was fed, through the Tsnu and Shlin, and besides them, a number of regulated lakes. Lake Fedovo (now called Lake Shitovo) ( ), previously backed up by the disappeared Rvenitsky beyshlot, became shallow and swamped; The leading to the lake is the Rvenitsky Canal (now the River) ( ) excavated in the 1770s. The Schlinsky reservoir ( Lake Shlino ) continues to be regulated by a rebuilt outlet ( ). Lake Velje , which lies above Lake Shlino, is connected to it through the River Libya by the artificial Velievsky Channel, which partially preserved the old wooden fortification of the banks; the level of the lake is maintained by the Velievsky dam ( ), rebuilt from the old wooden beillot in the 1990s. Construction work carried out by the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Channel. Moscow ”were stopped by a court at the suit of local environmentalists, and the developer was forbidden to raise the level of the dam (and lake) to the mark that existed before the destruction of the historic wooden dam.
The Mstinsky reservoir ( Lake Mstino ) - the only reservoir on the canal, is a natural lake greatly increased due to the backwater by the Mstinsky gateway. The reservoir was created in the late 1760s and has not changed in the future. A modern concrete drain ( ), supporting the lake, is located next to an abandoned old airlock. At the end of the 1840s, the lake was divided into two parts by the now-lost gateway ( ). This measure allowed free and at any time to release vessels accumulated in the Tsninsky Canal into the upper part of the lake.
The two reservoirs were small rivers, supported by dams. The Osug reservoir, created by the beyshlot at the Osugi inflow into Tvertsa ( ), and reaching an area of 6 km 2 , has disappeared; On the ground, the swollen forms of the old dam are poorly traced. This tank was the only one communicating with Tvertsa. From the large Uverskoye reservoir after the destruction of the Uverskoy beyshlot ( ) there remains a small boggy lake Bologna ( ).
All the other auxiliary reservoirs of the water system were the natural lakes of the Msta basin, springing with beyshlots. Two remote reservoirs that fed Msta across the Berezayka River were fully preserved. The Berezaisky reservoir, due to the preservation of the ( ), continues to exist and is currently called Lake Piros . The Kemetsky reservoir, which also retained a beyshlot ( ), is currently called Lake Kaftino . The Dubkovsky reservoir, after the destruction of the beyshlot, turned into a small lake Tishadra ( ); its area decreased from 6 to 1.8 km 2 . The Pudor reservoir is now called Lake Pudoro , its level is somewhat lower than the historical one, since the rebuilt beyshlot on the River ( ) is partially destroyed. The Tabo reservoir is now called Lake Toboss, and has been preserved in full size. The Berezovsky reservoir (now called Lake Imolozhe ) also retained the existing beyshlot ( ) and is in the original position. The Rudnevsky reservoir (called the Karpov Pond in recent years) was in the 2000s, its dam with a rebuilt beyshlot ( ) ; The Canal excavated in the 1780s ( ), which connects the reservoir to the upstream Lake Yashchino, also survived .
Regulation on the shipping part of the system was carried out by locks. The gateways were used not only for the passage of ships, but also for the simultaneous power supply of the lower parts of the system, so they did not have closed chambers and double gates, and the actual locking operation was not performed. The gateway consisted of an open chamber with wooden or stone walls (protecting the banks from erosion during the descent of water) and a sloping bottom, and one wooden gate opened against the current. When the airlock was opened, the water rushed into the lower reservoir along the inclined bottom as soon as the water level in the upper and lower reservoirs was leveled off sufficiently for safe navigation (and the flow rate in the airlock, respectively, decreased) the caravan began to pass through the open airlock. To pass such a lock, the barks had to have great longitudinal flexibility, but this did not matter much, since Borovichi’s rapids on Msta made even greater demands on the flexibility of the ships. On the river Tvertsa, at the village of Prutnya, a wooden single-chamber gateway was built, allowing to bypass the threshold. At present, no gateway on the system has been fully preserved. Tworetsky ( ) and Tsninsky ( ) the gateways were rebuilt into concrete outlets, and the Mstinsky gateway ( ) (rebuilt in granite at the beginning of 1800 -years) partially preserved and visible on the shallowed bottom of the river next to the modern drain. The wooden Prutnensky gateway has disappeared, and the channel leading to it ( ) now looks like a channel between the right bank of Tvertsy and a small island . Two decorative stone obelisks of the end of the 18th century are preserved from the old Tveretsky gateway.
In order to regulate the non-navigable parts of the system, backdrops were used - ground dams with diversions, the opening of which was blocked by removable wooden shields inserted into vertical guides. Since the opening of the backslide was blocked by several shields in height, it was possible to remove and install them one by one, making stepwise adjustment of the water level in the upper reservoir. The baishlots were not mechanized, and for their unlocking (that is, raising the shields) had to gather up to 100-200 people local peasants. The baishlots were arranged on all tanks of the system. A special role was played by the well-preserved granite Tsninsky Beyshlot in Vyshny ( ), which was used to descend the high spring waters of the Zavodskoy reservoir in Msta in bypass of the Tsninsky channel. The baishlots, which regulated the water supply in numerous auxiliary tanks of the system, are currently mostly either rebuilt into concrete outlets, or lost, their eroded dams are in some cases poorly readable on the ground. The foundations of the Uversky Beilisht (last reorganization of the 1890s) are fairly well preserved ( ). At Berezaisky ( ), old granite foundations are preserved, and it was reconstructed in the middle of the 20th century and operates. The (the last reconstruction of the 1840s) ( ) and Berezovsky Beyshlot (1777, rebuilt in the 1840s) ( ).
On the Tsninsky channel there was also a spider semi-sluice. This structure was a sandal beyshlot, the upper shield of which was installed below the normal water level in the canal. In the normal state of the court passed over Shandor (barrier shield) half-lock; when opening the Tsninsky gateway, the beyshlot began to restrict the flow of water through the gateway. This structure has been lost; in its place ( ), the narrowing of the channel has been preserved. A close in construction half-gate is preserved on the Vishersky canal ( ). This half-lock was used only in the spring, and protected the canal from the spill of the Msta, at the beginning of navigation its shandors were removed.
A shoreline was set up along the Tvertsa River - a road along the coast for horses pulling barges. The line ran along the left bank of the river. At the confluence of the streams in Tvertsa, stone and wooden pipes or small bridges (mainly boulder) were arranged on the shoreline, steep slopes were planned with the device of small cobblestone pavements, small dams or fascine pavements were arranged on wetlands. At the moment, there are a lot of bridges and culverts preserved; under the state security in the Torzhok district there are 16 shoreline structures built in the 1820s. An example of a structure in excellent preservation is a boulder bridge ( ) in the village of Savinsky Gorki. A granite embankment of large boulders ( ) is preserved from the pier in the village of Opechensky Posad on Msta.
In shallow sections of Tvertsy and Msta, water-tight fascine dams were used to increase the depth, and to ensure the safety of vessels leaving the rapids, elastic swims (booms) from logs were used. Of course, there is no trace of these structures.
The peculiarity of the water system was that both Tvertsa and Msta are very incomplete and, without artificial feeding, are unsuitable for navigation. In low water the Msta in the worst places had a depth of no more than 35 cm, Tvertsa - 50 cm. Even though the draft of ships in spring was not more than 66 cm, and in summer and autumn - no more than 53 cm, there was not enough water in the watershed. for the simultaneous feeding of two rivers (the reservoirs could accumulate about 60% of the required amount of water). Therefore, the system worked in a periodic mode, using the caravan system of posting vessels . During the year there were three caravans - spring, summer and autumn, conducted according to the same scheme. At first, due to the release of water from the watershed reservoirs, of which Zavodskoye was the most important in Upper Volochka, the water level in the Tvertsa River rose, thanks to which the caravan of ships rose to Vyshny Volochka. After the passage of the caravan of the dividing section on the Msta River, the discharge of water from the Mstinsky reservoir and auxiliary reservoirs began, raising the water level in Msta. After the passage of the Msta caravan (and in the worst case, after the water in the tanks was exhausted), the locks and backlots closed and water accumulation began in the tanks for the next caravan. In winter and early spring, the floodgates were kept open so that the spring waters did not overflow the reservoirs. Ideally, a spring caravan sent from Vyshny Volochka could have reached Volkhov with the natural flow of water, without the help of reservoirs. But the caravans sent from the Volga and Tvertsy, no longer have time to do it.
The movement along the system was one-way, from the Volga to St. Petersburg, since the Borovitsky rapids on the Msta were impassable when sailing upstream.
A feature of the system was the mode of incomplete regulation. The water level in Tvertsa and Msta was determined by the flow of water from unregulated tributaries of these rivers, and the release of water from reservoirs only increased it. The only fully regulated area, the height of the water in which was determined solely by the installation of the Tsninsky Beishlot, was a separate section between the Tveretsky and Tsninsky locks. Managing a system that includes many main and auxiliary tanks was difficult, and the results were far from always successful. When water was released from auxiliary tanks, it was necessary to take into account how far they are from the river; when passing through the caravan, the tanks were unlocked in a complicated order. Water could not be released with too much expense, because it might not be enough for the next caravan; it was necessary to try to keep its level at a minimum, ensuring the free passage of ships. As a result, the passage of caravans did not always end in success. Sometimes the reservoirs were closed too early, and ships got stuck in the banks of the river. But more often than not, there was not enough water to descend the last, autumnal, caravan along Msta, and he remained to spend the winter at the wharves of Vyshny Volochek. At the beginning of the XIX century, on average, 25-30% of the vessels did not have time to pass through the system on time.
The lack of water was a formidable problem. In the action of the system, noticeable cycles were observed. After each reconstruction, the water supply in the reservoirs increased, the permeability of the waterway improved, but after 10–20 years, complaints about the lack of water supply to maintain the required depth of the rivers began to be heard again. The most obvious reason for this phenomenon was the gradual disappearance of forests in the basin of the system, and, to a much lesser extent, the reclamation of marshes in the sources of rivers. As the forests and swamps that held the spring waters disappeared, more and more water flowed through the rivers during spring floods and less and less during low water. The development of reservoirs could not solve this problem exhaustively, since both Tvertsa and Msta were fed mainly by unregulated tributaries, the water consumption of which fell constantly during the 18-19 centuries. Ultimately, it was the shortage of water that caused the high costs of passing the system by the vessels, made it uncompetitive in comparison with the railway and led to its closure.
Ships and Shipping
The size of the ships used on the waterway was strictly regulated by the charter of communications. Such regulation was necessary, since the gateways had a standard width (under a vessel 8.6 m wide), and the water level was maintained until the standard depth was reached in shallow places (a draft of 67 cm in spring and 53 cm in summer and autumn). All ships were wooden, flat-bottomed, had a short bow, straight and low sides.
The largest vessel was the barge , which had a length of 36.3 m and a width of 8.6 m. In the spring, 115-123 tons could be loaded onto the barge, and 100-107 tons in the summer and autumn. The next largest vessel was the semi-fleet and enchanting boats , 25.6 m long, 8.6 m wide, and 78-107 tons carrying capacity. The smallest vessels were tikhvinki and sominki 19-25 m long, 5.5-6.5 m wide, with a lifting capacity of up to 50 tons. The forest along the waterway was floated in rafts.
All vessels were disposable. In Petersburg, they served as warehouses in the winter, from where the imported goods were sold, and then the ships themselves were sold for firewood and boards. At the end of the 18th century, the government tried, in the form of saving forests, to award the prize to merchants returning their vessels to the Volga, but this plan had no success.
Water system passage
Up Tvertsa court raised horsemanship. Each barge pulled 10 horses, the average speed was about 2 km per hour. On 8 difficult rapids, we had to attract another 10-25 horses, which we borrowed from the downstream barges. In Vyshny Volochyok, horses and horse breeders were sent back, following the next caravan, and the ships were hired by a new team and pilots needed to pass difficult rapids on Msta and Volkhov. The ships very quickly, in two or three days, reequipped: they removed the masts and steering wheels, installed oars and pressures (very large steering oars), controlled from special platforms. There was little space at the separate section in Vyshny Volochok, and the locked water quickly deteriorated, so the re-equipped vessels immediately released to the vast Lake Mstino, where they waited for the departure of the rafting caravan down Msta. In Vyshny Volochek itself, about 10 workers were hired to the barge, but the more difficult the thresholds became, the more they hired people on the following piers. By the most dangerous series of rapids above Borovichi, 60-70 people were already on the barges. Even such a large team was often lacking, and at the large rapids, many locals waited for the bark, ready to scoop out the water collected from the barges to pause (overload the goods on the small boats of the sponge) stranded barges, help with a caulk or repair damage, received on the thresholds.
The movement of ships was rather slow. The ships passed through Tvertsa to Vyshny Volochk for 25-30 days, for about 3 days they were in Vyshny Volochk, then they passed Msta for 14 days and Volkhov for 6 days. In total, the total travel time of the Vyshnevolotsk system was about 50 days, and the journey from Tver to St. Petersburg generally took from 57 to 71 days.
During the period of maximum development of the waterway (1820s - 1850s), three caravans passed through the system: spring, autumn and summer. The spring caravan consisted of four separate caravans. The Solpensk caravan was already loading below the locks, on the Solpensk pier on Msta, and set off with high spring water. Novotorzhsky, Gzhatsky, Verkhnevolzhsky and Tverskaya caravans were sent separately, so as not to overload Tvertsa, then they gathered together in Vyshny Volochyok and together floated along Msta. In the flood years, the Novotorzhsky caravan could also pass through the spring water, without the help of the reservoir's reserve water. The spring caravan was the largest, the ships of this caravan wintered on the corresponding four piers and without haste were loaded with goods brought by sleigh. Summer and autumn caravans served cargoes from the middle and lower Volga and its tributaries. These cargoes were delivered by large Volga vessels to Rybinsk, there they were loaded onto flat-bottomed barks of the Vyshnevolotsk system, which, as far as the load went, went to Tver and there they were going to a caravan. The ships of the autumn caravan, on which the cargoes coming from the most distant zone (the Caspian Sea, etc.) fell, had a certain chance to winter anywhere on the Vyshnevolotsk system, if the year was not watercourse.
By the end of the period of private management of the system (the beginning of the 1770s), 2,400–3,000 vessels transported annually through it, carrying 160–240 thousand tons of cargo. In the 1770s-1790s, the water system developed, and the conditions of navigation, thanks to an increase in water cut, improved. In the 1800s, up to 4,600 ships passed through the system annually.
The system was used for mass transit shipping until the end of the XIX century . In 1870, 805 vessels passed through the water system, in 1872 - only 406, then reached two hundred (at the beginning of the 19th century, more than 4,000 vessels passed annually  ). By the beginning of the 1890s, the movement along the system to Petersburg ceased. After the cessation of transit traffic, the Vyshnevolotskaya water system continued to be used for timber rafting from the basin of Msty, Ilmen and Volkhov to St. Petersburg, as well as for very small local transportation volumes of Volkhov.
The capacity of the Vyshnevolotsk system was limited and did not meet the needs of a growing economy. Since the end of the 1790s, the construction of two alternative routes, the Mariinsky Water System (operated since 1808) and the Tikhvin Water System (operated from 1811), was started simultaneously. The Tikhvin water system was unsuccessful, and gradually, simultaneously with Vyshnevolotskaya, fell into decline. The Mariinsky water system was more viable. This waterway, although longer, had a greater depth, it was possible to use steamboats on it, the movement was two-way.
The railways turned out to be a much stronger competitor. The Nikolaev railway connecting St. Petersburg and Moscow was opened in 1851. But since the road was not connected with the Volga region, the Vyshnevolotskaya system continued to be used intensively for the transport of Volga cargo. The main blow to the Vyshnevolotsk water system was inflicted by the Rybinsk-Bologovskaya railroad that opened in 1870, connecting Petersburg with Rybinsk, the main pier used for unloading cargoes following the Volga. The economic inexpediency of using the water system manifested itself immediately - the cost of freight from Rybinsk to St. Petersburg via Vyshny Volochek was 14-22 kopecks per pound, while the railway already at the time of its opening transported grain cargo for 10 kopecks per pound. In addition, shipments of water went about 90 days, with a high risk of wintering in Vyshny Volochok, while the railway was able to transport them in a week. During the period of active use of the waterway, rye on delivery from Volga to the northern region became more expensive by 100-120%, after switching to rail transportation, the price increase decreased to 45-50%. As early as 3-4 years after the opening of the Rybinsk-Bologovsky railway, the Vyshnevolotskaya system almost completely ceased to exist as a transit route between the basins.
In the middle of the 19th century, an average of 26 million rubles a year passed through the Vyshnevolotsky waterway, of which 18 million came from the Volga, 5 million from the piers within the system itself, 3 million from the Ilmen basin; goods of another 5 million rubles unloaded within the water system, not reaching St. Petersburg. The main commodity was grain cargoes, of which about 240 thousand tons passed during the year.
During the Soviet period, the transport use of the waterway was extremely small. Transit traffic through the system was no longer possible, since the floodgates were rebuilt into waterways at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1940, in the center of the city, on the left bank of the Tsna, below the old mouth of the Shlina River, a small wharf, Vyshniy Volochek, was established. In 1959, the pier joined the passenger port of Kalinin. The pier carried passenger traffic on the Vyshnevolotsky and Mstinsky reservoirs on passenger ships of the type “Kalininets” (K-80) and since August 1988 - on the Vyshnevolotsky reservoir. For navigation through the pier passed more than 70 thousand passengers (1989). Until the 1980s, passenger shipping was carried out on two lines “V. Volochyok — Mstinskaya Dam ”and“ Zdeshevo — Pererva ”. Currently, there is no regular shipping within the water system (with the exception of Volkhov); The list of inland waterways of Russia includes two sections of the Vyshnevolotsk water system: Vyshny Volochyok - a dam on the Msta river (25 km) and the village Zdeshevo-Pererva (Vyshnevolotskoe reservoir) (8 km).  . The lower 174 km of the Msta and Siversov Canal currents are recognized as waterways without guaranteed dimensions and without navigational conditions, which in fact means a refusal of the state to maintain them. Volkhov is an inland waterway with a navigation situation without lighting and with a guaranteed dimension, with a period of validity from May 1 to October 31.
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|Vyshnevolotskaya water system||Tract St. Petersburg ↔ Moscow|
|The path from the Varangians to the Greeks||Vyshnevolotskaya water system||Mariinsky water system|
|Tikhvin water system|