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Circum-Baikal Railroad: Golden Buckle on the Russia's Steel Belt
December 2, 2009 22:51

Circum-Baikal Railroad is a part of the famous Transsib, it is still sometimes called "golden buckle on the Russia's steel belt". Circum-Baikal Railroad is a railway, getting round Baikal Lake. It is not made of gold, but it cost so much and the result was so beautiful and technically sophisticated, that it is worth to be compared with a jewel. Actually, the Circum-Baikal Railraod today is a western part of the historical Circum-Baikal Railroad from the headstream of Angara River to Slyudyanka. Eastern part belongs to the through traffic of Trans-Siberian Railroad. One more reason for such metaphor was a fact that the Circum-Baikal Railroad has tied the western and eastern parts of Trans-Siberian Railroad, which were tied by icebreaking ferry, transporting trains across the lake.

First of all, the price paid to construct each kilometer of this 84 km railroad amounted 130 thousands rubles (it was very much in the early 20th century). As a comparison, a kilometer of Trans-Siberian Railroad cost 93 thousands rubles. Circum-Baikal Railroad has overcome all the railroads of that time according to the cost.

What should the railroad consist of to be so expensive? The 84 km railroad, constructed in the early 20th century on the south-western coast of Baikal Lake, includes 424 engineering structures, including 39 tunnels, with total mileage of 8994 meters. The longest ones are Katorzhny (back-breaking) – 538 meters, Khabartui – 548 meters and Polovinniy – 778,4 meters. 14 kilometers of retaining walls, 47 stone galleries and 3 iron ones were built to prevent collapses in the dangerous places. And finally, this place was an absolute leader between contemporary railroads in difficulties. It disposed almost all the factors, disturbing the construction works. But it was a necessity, to construct it, because the transportation of the trains on the ferry was uncomfortable, laborious and looked undignified.

It should be also added, that the Circum-Baikal Railroad was built in very short time, mainly because of the war with Japan being prepared then. Rapid transportation of the troops and weapons fits badly with a ferry, especially the armored trains. The project was completed in 2 years and 3 months, by the year 1905.


The Circum-Baikal Railroad, combining the architecture, engineering structures and coastal landscape on Baikal, is a historical monument and tourist attraction, popular among the Russian tourists and foreigners as well. Its different engineering constructions are not only picturesque; much of them are absolutely unique.

The journeys along the Circum-Baikal Railroad let the tourists to enjoy the sights of Baikal Lake during all the way even in winter, when it is too cold for the long excursions on the open air.

Tickets for the journeys on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and the tickets for all the Russian trains you can book here.


Read more artikles about Russian Raiway...

Yulia Buzykina


Tags: Russian Railways Baikal    

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