Russian Train Travel

Great Information about various train journeys you can do around Russia

Trans-Siberian Rail Journeys

Russian Train journey

The Trans-Siberian Railway features several times in the Guiness Book of Records. It is the longest railway in the world, has the greatest number of stations on the route, and also for construction time. At 9,289km (5,772 miles), it covers Moscow in Russia to Valdivostok, then through to Pyongyang in North Korea (extending the distance to 10,214km (6,346 miles)), going across two continents, 12 Russian regions and 87 cities. One train a week makes the journey in around 7 days 20 hours 25 minutes. The fastest superior train, the Rossiya, covers the journey in 6 days 2 hours, with an average speed of 64km/hr. The Trans-Siberian Railway was built over the period 1891 – 1916 under the supervision of the Russian government ministers. There a journeys within this route known as the Trans-Manchurian, east of Chita to Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang to Beijing, and the Trans-Mongolian Railway coinciding with the Trans-Siberian as far as Ulan-Ude, then extending south to Ulaan-Baatar, before heading southeast to Beijing. One more was added in 1991, known as the Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM) passes the northern extremity of Lake Baikal, extending east from Taishet to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. See map above for routes.

Trans-Mongolian Rail Journey

The Classic Trans-Mongolia Railway is 2500km (1553 miles) long. It was built between 1949 – 1961 to connect Russia, Mongolia and China. In Russia, the road branches in Eastern Siberia from Ulan-Ude city on Lake Baikal and goes straight south through Mongolia to Jining city of northern China. In Mongolia the journey passes Ulaanbaatar city and other important towns such as Sukhbaatar, Darkhan, Choir, and Zamyn-Uud (Erenhot). Rich deposits of colour metals, coal and gold keep the railroad busy. The cargo accounts for 80% of all traffic. The railroad remains a major transport artery for Mongolia’s economy, while for travellers it is more known as the shortcut from Siberia to China. In Mongolia, most of the route lies in endless Mongolian steppes and the Gobi desert in the south.

Trans-Manchurian Rail Journey

In 1898, construction began on an 880km (550 miles) line off the Trans-Siberian route, starting at Chita, heading east to Harbin. The railway the head south on the South Manchuria Railway, starting at Harbin, leading southwards through Eastern Manchuria, along the Liaodong Peninsula

The Trans-Manchurian Railway (also known as the Chinese Eastern Railway) was essentially completed in 1902, a few years earlier than the stretch around Lake Baikal. Until the Circumbaikal portion was completed (1904–1905; double-tracked, 1914), goods carried on the Trans-Siberian Railway had to be trans-shipped by ferry almost a hundred kilometers across the lake (from Port Baikal to Mysovaya).

Also see Dalian High Speed Railway

The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM)

The last main railway to be built, completed in 1991, the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM), is 4,324km (2,687 miles) in length. It had to be specially designed as it passes over areas with permafrost. Starting at Tayshet and travelling through numerous cities on the way to Sovetskaya Gavan. There are 21 tunnels along the line, with a total length of 47 km (29 miles) and more than 4,200 bridges, with a total length of over 400 km (about 260 miles).

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