Baikal Irkutsk Trans Siberian

Circum-Baikal Railway 

Circum-Baikal railway (also known as Circum-Baikal Loop) is the most beautiful and picturesque part of the famous Trans-Siberian Railroad. This railway section curves round the southern shores of the lake and runs through rocks and small Siberian rivers.

The terrain around the lake is very mountainous and the railroad construction along its shores demanded great engineering skill. No wonder that this section of the track got the status of an architectural and landscape reserve and was taken under the state protection. Just imagine, that on the distance of only 85 km (53 mi) of its most rocky part, there are 39 tunnels, 16 free-standing galleries, 470 pipes, bridges, viaducts, 14 km (9 mi) of supporting walls.

Builders of this railroad had to blow up rocks to lay railroad tracks along rocky and steep shoreline. The road went across numerous rivulets flowing into the lake, met many swampy and permafrost areas on its way. In the early XX-th century, when this railway was made, almost all works were done manually and the instruments were very simple. One can only wonder how people managed to raise these splendid sound constructions that will keep on functioning for many centuries to come.

Ironically the most scenic part of the Circum-Baikal Railway with numerous tunnels and galleries was used less than 50 years. After a dam construction in Irkutsk a part of the railroad along the Angara river was flooded, and now the section from Kultuk to Port Baikal along the south-western partion of the lake shore became a dead-end route.

It would be a shame to abandon and completely forget this railroad museum under the open air. At the moment Circum-Baikal railway is used for tourist purposes. Special train takes pessengers from Irkutsk for the one day trip along this famed track. The train stops in the most beautiful places and a local guide tells visitors how the railroad was built. As soon as the train comes to a terminal station tourists are invited to take a ferry to the other shore of the Angara river and then go back to the city.

This relaxing and pleasurable trip is quite popular among both foreign and local guests.
Circum-Baikal RailwayCircum-Baikal RailwayCircum-Baikal Railway

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