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Circum-Baikal Railway

29.10.2018

Circum-Baikal Railway

The Circum-Baikal Railway goes along Baikal lake shore in Irkutsk region. It has been constructed between 1896-1905 years in order to connect the parts of the Trans-Siberian Railway. On this 89 kilometers railway, there are 39 tunnels, bridges, viaducts and galleries.

The complex relief of the shore has complicated the construction and eventually, it needed a lot more work and money that originally had been planned. That’s why another name for this railway is “Golden Buckle”. Now Circum-Baikal railway is one of the most picturesque railways of the world with the most complex engineer constructions.

In 1958 the part of the road from Irkutsk to port Baikal has drowned because of the Irkutsk hydropower plant. So the railway has become dead-ended and lost its main function filling the gap in the Trans-Siberian Railway. Now the Circum-Baikal Railway is one of the main sightseeings around Baikal.

There are several options to visit this railroad. You can walk it by foot or go on a train: a regular one or on a special one that stops in most interesting places by the road. This post is about a Circum-Baikal Railway visit on tour on a train with stops.

The trip starts from Irkutsk. The bus goes along the Angara river to Listvyanka.

From Listvyanka the ferry goes to Baikal port.

Baikal port – the first station on the eastern side of the railroad.

102 km stop is called “Italian wall” stop in the memory of all the Italian workers that took part in its construction. Besides Italians, there were a lot of workers and engineers from all over Europe and other countries.

Next station is Polovinnaya. Here you can see that there are two railroads – an ancient one and a modern one.

The longest tunnel of the road with the dates of its construction.

In the autumn the landscapes along the road are especially impressive. The weather in this area can be very unpredictable – sometimes it goes from sun to rain every 30 minutes. And even in a cloudy and foggy weather, the views of a lake and mountains are beautiful.

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The part of the road from Baikal port to Sludyanka is not electrified so the train goes with a locomotive with 30 km/h speed. All the road is located right along the shore of the lake.

Views from the window of the train and on a Kirkirey stop.

Angasolka is the longest stop on a way. You probably won’t have enough time to go to the Roerich Museum, that is situated here. But you can take pictures of the beautiful bridge, gallery and go down to the water. One of the unique features of the Circum-Baikal Railway is that almost all of the constructions are preserved in its original form.

Sludyanka is the last stop before the Circum-Baikal Railway becomes part of the modern Trans-Siberian Railway (Sludyanka-Irkutsk).

Bonus: Chinese tourists that also went on tour.

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