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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.
Map with the main stops:
The complex landscape of the coastal zone required much more investments than it was originally planned. During the work the number of workers and resources increased significantly. The cost of the Circum-Baikal Railway exceeded all the other railways in Russia, which is why it was called the “Golden Buckle”. Now it is one of the most picturesque railways in the world with outstanding engineering solutions.
n 1958, part of the road from Irkutsk to Lake Baikal was flooded due to the construction of the Irkutsk Hydroelectric Power Station. It could no longer function as before, because it had become a dead end. At first it seemed that all the efforts were in vain. But soon it became a popular tourist attraction – they discovered it as a a great chance to admire the views of Lake Baikal.
The easiest wat to get to the railway is the bus or a tour from Irkutsk.
Listvyanka is located on the right side of the Angara. So to get to the “Baikal” port on the left side, you need to cross the strait. It takes about twenty minutes.
“Baikal” port is the first station on the eastern side of the Circum-Baikal Railway. This is the place where the road became dead-ended after the flood.
Trains depart from the port and the road to Sludyanka will take about 5 hours.
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. Now it’s hard to imagine that it the wal was made almost manually.
Next station is Polovinnaya (110 km). Here you can see that there are two railroads – an ancient one and a modern one.
Here you can see a beautiful view on Chaykin cliff.
The longest road tunnel with its construction dates. Nearby is the shortest tunnel.
In the fall, landscapes of the coastal zone are especially picturesque. By the way, the weather on Lake Baikal is very unpredictable: it may rain, but in a few minutes the sun can come out.
The section from Baikal to Slyudyanka is not electrified, and the train runs with diesel traction at a speed of about 30 km / h. Throughout the journey, the train travels along the very shore of the lake.
Views from the train window and from the Kirkirei stop (123 km). The part of the roat in Kirkirey had to be built twice, so there are two parallel tunnels.
Angasolka (149 km) is the longest and biggest 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.
Here is located beautiful Angasolsky viaduct, which was especially complex from a technical point of view. It is probably the main attraction of the road.
Sludyanka is the last stop before the Circum-Baikal Railway becomes part of the modern Trans-Siberian Railway (Sludyanka-Irkutsk). The station building is built of marble.
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