Saratov is a city and the administrative center of Saratov Oblast, Russia, and a major port on the Volga River located upstream (north) of Volgograd. By the 1800s, Saratov had grown to become an important shipping port on the Volga. The Ryazan-Ural Railroad reached Saratov in 1870. In 1896 (26 years later), the line crossed the Volga and continued its eastward expansion. A unique train-ferry, owned by the Ryazan-Ural railroad, provided the connection across the river between the two parts of the railroad for 39 years, before the construction of a railway bridge in 1935.