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The Russian Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest continuous rail line on the planet, stretching to nearly 6,000 miles of the Russian landscape. There are numerous ways you can enjoy this ride, from just staring at the vast countryside to pleasant conversations with all kinds of people, from the locals to adventurous world travelers. But you don’t need to choose between these two ways of travelling since you will have enough time for everything, due to the fact that the whole journey lasts more than a week.

Map Trans Siberian Line

The map of different routes along the Trans Siberian Line

History

Not many cities in the far east of the country made Vladivostok a very important port city. This emphasized the need for good transportation links. This is why Czar Alexander III started the construction of the line in 1891. After he died, his son continued the work and completed the first line in 1905. The present line was opened in 1916 while the latest route called the Baikal Amur Mainline was completed in 1984 after more than 50 years of work.

Trans Siberian Railway

Trans Siberian Railway

Routes

There are several routes available, as well as numerous extensions. The most famous one is the Trans-Siberian line from Moscow to Vladivostok. At the end of this route you can use the ferry to get to Japan. On this route, among many other things, you can see Yaroslavl on the river Volga, Ekaterinburg in the Ural mountains and Irkutsk near Lake Baikal.

Vladivostok Bridge

Vladivostok

Trans Manchurian line

The second route, called the Trans Manchurian line, takes you from Moscow to Tarskaya (east of Baikal) the same way the previous line goes, but then it turns towards China and ends in Beijing.

Trans-Mongolian line

The third option is called the Trans-Mongolian line and it goes the same way the Trans-Siberian one does all the way to Ulan-Ude, which is a Buddhist enclave on Baikal, where it turns south to Ulaan-Baatar and from there to Beijing.

Ulan-Ude

The main street of Ulan-Ude

The fourth route takes you even further up north. It is called the Baikal Amur Mainline and it leaves the Trans-Siberian route a few hundred miles west of Baikal and goes past its most northern part, coming to the Pacific at Khabarovsk. This route is the youngest of them all and, though you can visit the best of Baikal at its wonderful northern coast, the countryside can be pretty hostile, making this the most extreme option of them all.
If you are going in the opposite direction, through Moscow you can go to Berlin and Paris, Budapest, lovely St. Petersburg and Helsinki.

Evening in St Petersburg

Evening in St Petersburg

Places along the route

These are just some of the biggest places you can see here. The train stops several times a day, and, as a standard, there is not much time to look around. However, there is an option of arranging some longer stops in major places. In our next article we shall present some of the places you can see along the Trans Siberian line. Stay tuned.


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