the trans-siberian

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HISTORY OF THE TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY

In 1890-91 the future Tsar Nicholas II took part in an epic journey that took in large parts of Asia and the Far East culminating in a visit to the then mighty Empire of Japan. It is at the end of this journey in Vladivostok that he inaugurated the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway’s Far East section. He wrote of his excitement of travelling in the Tsar’s train, the mobile office of the Russian head of State, across the wilderness of Siberia.

Building of the original route from Moscow to Vladivostok

The original route was built between 1891 and 1916 beginning in Moscow and ending in Vladivostok running through Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude , Chita and Khabarovsk via Southern Siberia. A second line was built through Chinese Manchuria, in order to drastically cut down the travel time from Chita to Vladivostok, called the Chinese Eastern Railway. This line ended up being completed a decade before the main Trans-Siberian line was completed and was run out of Harbin.

The Trans-Siberian Railway spans a whopping seven time zones and a journey takes 8 days to complete making it the third longest continuous service in the world, the other two are Moscow to Pyongyang and Kiev to Vladivostok although both these, for the most part, are the Trans-Siberian.
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The Trans-Mongolian route through Ulaanbaatar to Beijing

Along with the Trans-Manchurian via Harbin, the oldest rail connection to Vladivostok, there is also a third line known as the Trans-Mongolian. This line breaks off at Ulan Ude and heads South to Ulan-Baatar and on to Beijing. Finally in 1991 a fourth route was finished after decades of on-off construction known as the BAM or Baikal Amur Mainline. This splits off several hundred miles west of Lake Baikal and passes the lake to its north.

The Trans-Siberian was to play a key role in many ensuing wars, not least World War II where it was used by both sides at different points during the conflict. Firstly by the Germans to import large quantities of rubber for the war effort from Japan and secondly to supply USSR with materials for the war effort from the US.

Finally it’s effect on the economies of Siberia cannot be understated with both agriculture and industry able to export with greater ease, not to mention creating tourism to an area that otherwise would remain cut off from the rest of the world.

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BROWSE RECENT POSTS

Siberia's Top 5

Siberia is one of the highlights of a Trans-Siberian journey and most visitors will undoubtedly have at least one stop in this magnificent region.

A Plumb Adventure

The Trans-Siberian Travel Company's staff member Chris Plumb took an epic journey from Vladivostok to St Petersburg visa Mongolia and the Tsars Gold train.

Trips Avoiding China

In the past most tourists have focused on the Trans-Mongolian to Beijing but in recent years the Trans-Siberian line to Vladivostok has become increasingly popular.

Visiting St Petersburg

Is it worth adding on a visit to the second city of Russia; St Petersburg? After all, it isn’t strictly a part of the Trans Siberian or Mongolian train lines.

Moscow Metro

There are so many options of tours in Moscow but a Metro tour should be the top of everyone’s list and is one of our favourites with plenty of surprises!

Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

One of the most popular stops on any Trans Mongolian or Trans Siberian Railway tour is the wonderful Siberian city of Irkutsk and nearby Lake Baikal.

Destination Ekaterinburg

Ekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia and one of the most popular stops on the Trans-Siberian Railway offering up history and rural Russia in the Urals.

Moscow's Kremlin

Literally meaning “fortress inside a city” the Moscow Kremlin refers to the fortified collection of palaces and cathedrals that look over Red Square.

St Petersburg's Hermitage

The State Hermitage is one of the world’s oldest museums having been founded by Catherine the Great 250 years ago and has been open to the public for over 160 years.

First Time China

As this was my first time in China I was keen to see as much as possible. We settled on Beijing, Xian and Shanghai which offer great contrasts.

Platform Life

This trip is full of discovery but you have to also get up and go out on the platforms to find the most exciting experiences to complete your Trans-Siberian trip.

Train Life

Guest blog entry describing life on board a Trans-Siberian train and the daily coming and going and routines you get into on a long train ride.

What Route to Take

When first exploring into the Trans Siberian railway, one of the first questions to ask yourself is which way to go. Here our guest blogger gives her views.

Moscow Impressions

First in a series of 5 articles written by guest blogger Louisa Howard who completed a Trans-Mongolian trip with us from Moscow all the way to Shanghai.

Trans-Siberian History

Learn about the history of this extraordinary railway in our brief guide to the construction and importance of the train routes across Russia and to China.

Tsars Gold Train

The Tsars Gold private train is one of several that run tours just for tourists in a good level of comfort along the Trans-Mongolian route. Learn more here.

Life On Board

What is a Siberian train really like? Here we go into detail about what you experience on the trains and how they really are and what facilities they have.

Destination Vladivostok

Vladivostok lies at the Far Eastern end of the Trans-Siberian railway and has been a city that has had an important part in the history of several countries.

Destination Krasnoyarsk

One of the lesser know destinations available for Trans-Siberian Tours is a stopover in the city of Krasnoyarsk despite being the third largest in Siberia.

About Siberia

With a total size of 13.1 million square miles Siberia takes up three quarters of Russia’s total size and a tenth of the whole world’s surface - learn more.

Off The Beaten Track

Learn about our Off The Beaten track rail tours that visit destinations less visited along the Siberian and Trans-Mongolian rail routes including Kazan and Krasnoyarsk.

Gers in Winter

One of the Highlights of a Trans-Siberian Tour is Mongolia and a night or two out at a ger camp on the steppe. How about visiting Mongolian ger camps in winter?

Visa Requirements

There are few nationalities that can take a Trans-Siberian trip visa free. This article intends to shed some light on the paperwork required by most.

Bogie Changing

Whether you are a train aficionado or not one of the more unusual Trans-Siberian tours experiences available to the traveller occurs at the Chinese borders.

Planning A Trip

For many people the idea of how to start organizing their Trans Siberian holiday is a daunting task. Here is a beginner’s guide to deciding what’s best for you.

Trans-Siberian in Winter

Winter is a very special time to travel the Trans-Siberian but many might be put off by the cold. This article will hopefully convince you to dress up warm and travel!

Accommodation Options

One of the joys of Trans-Siberian is the wide variety of accommodation on offer. Here we list some of the best options for the most popular stop overs.

Destination Kazan

Kazan is half way between Moscow and Ekaterinburg and an increasingly popular stop on Trans-Siberian trips for its exciting mix of cultures from East and West.

Trans-Siberian Routes

In this article we discuss the different Trans-Siberian route options available including the Trans-Manchurian, Trans-Mongolian and the Baikal Amur Mainline.

Who Travels The Trans-Siberian

Using the public trains in Russia who are you likely to come across on your Trans-Siberian travels. Here we discuss the different groups you are likely to find.

Train Classes

Picking the right train class can make all the difference on a Trans-Siberian train trip where so much time is spent on board. Learn about the different train classes here.

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