History of the Trans Siberian Railway

The Trans Siberian Railroad, or the Great Siberian Way (its historical name) connects European Russia with Siberia and the Russian Far East. The term Trans Siberian not only denotes the true route (Moscow to Vladivostok), but has become the generic term for the other two routes – Trans Mongolian, Trans Manchurian and the BAM route. During this grand rail journey you can pass through eight time zones, 14 provinces, 3 regions, 2 republics and one autonomous region of the Russian Federation.

You can also cross 16 of the largest Eurasian rivers, namely the Volga, Vyatka, Kama, Tobol, Irtysh, Ob, Tom, Chyulym, Enisey, Oka, Selenga, Zeya, Bureya, Amur, Hor and Ussuri.

All routes (except the BAM) follow the shores of Lake Baikal for a short distance. Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake (1637 meters) and also the largest fresh water reservoir on the planet.

There is a ‘train spotters’ delight on this section of the route. Near the lake shore is a station called Slyudyanka-1, which is unique in that the building is made entirely of marble. It was built in 1904 as a monument to the efforts of the railway labourers who built this route.

The Trans Siberian is also famous for its many bridges, the largest of which crosses the Amur River and is 2,612 meters long. Then there are the tunnels (the longest is 7 km), and of course the many train stations, the most famous of which is the Novosibirsk Station. For some time this was the largest within the old USSR. The actual length of the traditional Trans Siberian Railroad (from Moscow to Vladivostok) is over 9,288 kilometers, covering nearly all of Eurasia and being the longest railway route on earth. It transepts two continents, Europe being 19.1% of the total journey and Asia absorbing the other 80.9%.

At the 1,778th km of the route (from Moscow) you have what is considered to be the geographic border between Europe and Asia. At the foot of the Ural Mountains is a monument noting the border between two continents.

Russian Railways offer this virtual Trans Siberian rail journey, six days from Moscow to Vladivostok aboard the ‘Rossiya’.