Island (Zamoskvorechye)

An artificial island is located right across from the Kremlin between the Moskva River and its old riverbed, turned into the Vodootvodny Canal in 1786. It does not have any official or established name. In the relevant sources it is referred to as the Island; the island a part of the historical Zamoskvorechye area. The island itself was split into four localities: Bersenevka, Balchug, Sadovniki. Despite the lack of the name proper in some popular publications the island called either after one of these localities: Balchug, Sadovnicheskiy or due to its proximity to the Kremlin as Kremlevskiy or due to its land value as Zolotoy or Bezymyanniy; this section is based on P. V. Sytin's "History of Moscow Streets" Balchug is one of the oldest Moscow streets outside of the Kremlin walls, it emerged towards the end of the 14th century, when the new Kremlin built by Dmitri Donskoi pushed the posad settlement into what is known today as the Red Square as well as areas further east. The main trading road to the south and the river crossing moved to the east, to present-day Balchug and Pyatnitskaya streets.

The name Balchug comes from Tatar balčyk, meaning "dirt" or "mud". Muddy conditions in the area were caused by migrations of the river bed, frequent floods, inadequate drainage. In the 15th century, Prince Vasili I set up royal gardens west of Balchug Street across from the Kremlin; the gardeners settled east of Balchug, giving its name to the Sadovniki neighborhood and present-day Sadovnicheskaya Street. They set up flood control moats connecting River Moskva with the old riverbed. Memories of those medieval moats—rovushki and endovy in Old Russian—survive in the names of Raushskaya Embankment and St. George Church "v Endove". One moat survived until the 1850s; as the city grew south into Zamoskvorechye, Balchug became a market street, with butchers, bakers and public baths, according to tax records from 1669. In 1701, the Gardens and Balchug were swept by fire; the market reappeared each time, but in 1735 the government relocated the butchers beyond the city limits. 1783 flood destroyed most of Sadovniki, including the St. George bell tower.

By 1786, the city built the original Vodootvodny Canal, a flood control dike following the old river bed. The first metal bridge in Moscow, Chugunny Bridge, connected Balchug with the Zamoskvorechye mainland. A steel bridge north, to Red Square and Zaryadye, was completed in 1872; until the 1930s, Balchug remained a street of two-story shops. Construction of the new Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge changed the street's status again; the main north-south artery moved west. Houses between the bridge and Balchug street were razed. What was left in the 1930s was destroyed in the 1990s. First, the old Balchug Hotel was built out from 4 to 9 stories high a Central Bank building replaced the few surviving buildings between the bridge and Balchug. One 19th century single-story building remains as a facade curtain for a nine-story office block. In 1692 Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, the first permanent bridge in the city, linked Zamoskvorechye with the city to the north. Four years Russia's first triumphal arch was built in front of the bridge in order to welcome Peter I's return from the Azov campaigns.

In 1783, the area was swept away by a severe flood. The first documented project was drawn in 1775 by Matvey Kazakov. In addition to separating Balchug Island from Zamoskvorechye, he proposed cutting two flood control dikes west of Bersenevka to create two more islands. In the east, he planned to flood uninhabited farmland and connect the canal to Moskva River inside the present-day Garden Ring; the moat east of Balchug had to be widened, too. This plan was implemented in between 1783 and 1786. An 1807 plan shows only one additional island west of Bersenevka. Evolution of Vodootvodny Canal and the island After the fire of 1812, the western island and the dike separating it from the mainland were reclaimed for development, the Moskva River was reduced to its present-day width; the canal's eastern end was reduced to its original width of 30 meters. In 1835, the city built the Babyegorodskaya Dam west of the island, which enabled barge shipping up the canal. A new channel extension east was built to bypass the old 90-degree turn.

For a while, the island was cut into three parts when the Balchug moat was filled, in two. The moat parallel to the Garden Ring was filled in the 1930s when the Bolshoy Krasnokholmsky Bridge was completed. Four pairs of bridges cut the island into five distinct parts. In addition to the bridges listed above, the island is connected to the Zamoskvorechye mainland by tw

Zephyr Rocket

The Zephyr Rocket was an overnight passenger train operated jointly by the Chicago and Quincy Railroad and the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad between Saint Louis and the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, with major intermediate stops in Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa. The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy carried the train between St. Louis and Burlington, while the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific carried it between Burlington and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Motive power and equipment were traveled the entire distance without change; the trains, with coaches and sleeping cars, started operating on January 7, 1941. They carried round-end observation cars with the train's name emblazoned on the rear for several years; the train was named by combining the nicknames of the operating railroads' passenger train fleets: The passenger trains of the Burlington Route were called Zephyrs, while those of the Rock Island Lines were called Rockets, hence Zephyr Rocket. In 1964 the train was still earning money above its direct costs, at least for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.

In 1967 the train, by coaches-only, was discontinued, with the last trains departing on April 8 and arriving at their respective end points the following morning. It would not be possible to re-institute direct passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and St. Louis today, as a key part of the route, between Burlington and Cedar Rapids, was abandoned when the Rock Island ceased operations in 1980. Portions of this section have been converted to bicycle/hiking trails