The Trans Siberian Railway

  Intro Trans-Siberian Route Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM) Line Route   Trans-Mongolia Route   

Trans-Manchurian Route     Classes of travel   Costs   Tickets   Visas   Travel Agencies   Recommended Vaccinations   Photo Slideshows   Transsiberian on Google Earth   Hear Russian Travel Phrases   Links   Google Russia Trans-Siberian Maps












 The Journey of a Lifetime !




 click for larger map of Trans-Siberian Railway showing the Trans-Siberian route,

Ural Route, Trans-Mongolian route and Trans-Manchurian route

 with major cities in English,Russian and Chinese.



1996 show on the Transsiberian, with a good over

view and history of the railway, Lake Baikal, China and Mongolia.


Introduction to the Routes

There are 4 main routes on the Trans-Siberian: the Trans-Siberian line, Trans-Manchurian line, the Trans-Mongolian line and the Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM) Line . There is also a southern Ural route from Moscow to Yekaterinberg via Kazan on train 16 known as the Ural. Kazan is the capital of the automonous republic of Tatarstan. Sone of the main sights in Kazan are the kremiln, declared a Unesco World Heritage site,the Annunciation Cathedral and the Syuyumbike Tower. the main tourist season goes from May to the end of Sept.



The first spike of the railroad was laid by then Tsesarevich Nicholas on May 19, 1891 at Vladivostok. Similar to the Transcontinental Railroad in the USA, Russian engineers started construction at both ends and worked towards the center.The Trans-Siberian Railway, completed in 1901, enabled millions of peasants to migrate over the UralsThe Trans-Siberian line remains the most important transportation link within Russia; around 30% of Russian exports travel on the line. While it attracts many foreign tourists, it gets most of its use from domestic passengers


An armoured train on the train Siberian during the Russo-Japanese was that broke out in 1904. Japanese fear of the completion of the Trans Siberian was one of the major causes of the war. In 1916 the last tracks were laid .


The Trans-Siberian Route from Moscow to Vladivostok


The Trans-Siberian travels some 9289km (about 6,000 miles) from Moscow to Vladivostok. The trip takes seven days nonstop.


Begining of the trans Siberian at St. Petersberg  Suzdal on the Trans Siberian rail road  Omsk on the Trans Siberian Tomsk on the Trans Siberian

 St. Petersberg               Suzdal          Omsk             Tomsk


Irkutsk on the TransSiberian Railroad  Irkutsk on the TransSiberian railroad



Vladivostok at the eastern end of the trans siberian railroad



 Starting from Moscow or St. Petersburg, passing through Suzdal (Су́здаль) famous for its onion domed churchs, the industrial city of Perm ( Пермь ) , Yekaterinburg ( Екатеринбу́рг ) , Omsk ( Омск )with its stately 19th century buildings along Lyubinsky prospekt/Lenin Street, Novosibirsk ( Новосиби́рск ) with its railway museum, Tomsk ( Томск )the oldest Russian city in with Siberia interesting wooden buildings, Krasnoyarsk ( Красноя́рск) close to the huge national nature reserve of Stolby. After this the BAM line splits off   to the north going to Vanino opposite Sakhalin Island Tayshet ( Тайше́т ) at Tayshet ( Тайше́т ).


The main Trans-Mongolian line going through Mongolia and onto Beijing splits off at Ulan-Ude. The Trans-Manchurian going through Harbin and Beijing splits off at Chita. It is also possible to take a train from Moscow to Central Asia, going to Tashkent and Almaty, these trains take about three days. From Almaty it is possible to enter China through Urumqi.From Vladivostok you can continue by ferry to Niigata on the west coast of Japan.



video of a Trassiberian trip from Moscow to Irkutsk in May 2006


Lake Baikal is famous for its smoked fish (Omul),sold on the

shore of Lake Baikal and at Slyudyanka Station:


 Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM) Line Route


Map of the BAM railway line of the trans siberian

Map of the BAM line


BAM railway on the Trans Siberian  Poster promoting the trans Siberian Railroad  Sovetskaya Gavan on the Trans siberian railroad

    BAM Railway           Poster promoting the BAM     Sovetskaya Gavan


4,300 KM  4 days journey through rugged Siberian landscapes

The newest and northernmost line From Tayshet to remote Sovetskaya Gavan ( Сове́тская Га́вань ) a port on the Strait of Tartary, most of it built in 1944-1946, mainly by gulag prisoners, including German and Japanese prisoners of war . This line passes the northern Lake Baikal town of Severobaikalsk . Close to the end of the line, you can tahe a ferry from the port city of Vanino to Sakhalin Island ( 16 hours ). Check to see if you can continue onward to Japan .


Sakhalin Island at the end of the Transsiberianrailroad

Sakhalin Island




The Trans-Mongolian: Ulan-Ude to Beijing route through Mongolia 

Ulan-Ude on the TransSiberian railroad  ulan uda on the Trams Siberian Rail road



Mongolia on the TranSiberian railroad



video on Mongolian throat singing


video on the Mongolian Naadam festival


Ulaan Baatar Station on the TranSiberian Railroad  

Ulaan Baatar Train Station

2,217 KM  2 day journey



video of a 2008 Moscow-Irkutsk-UlaanBaatar-Beijing trip

From Ulan-Ude ( Ула́н-Удэ́ ) the Trans-Mongolian heads south to Ulaan-Baatar before making its way southeast to Beijing. Ulan-Ude was founded in 1666 by the Russian Cossacks. Due to its geographical position, the city grew rapidly and became a large trade centre which connected Russia with China and Mongolia. There are old merchants' mansions richly decorated with wood and stone carving in the historical center of Ulan-Ude, along the river banks. They represent beautiful examples of Russian classicism. There is also a large and highly unusual head of Lenin in the central square - the largest in the world.


Trans-Manchurian Route 

A second primary route is the Trans-Manchurian, which coincides with the Trans-Siberian as far as Tarskaya (a stop 12 km east of Karymskaya, in Chita Oblast), about 1,000 km east of Lake Baikal. From Tarskaya the Trans-Manchurian heads southeast, via Harbin and Mudanjiang in China's Northeastern Provinces (from where a connection to Beijing is used by one of MoscowBeijing trains), joining with the main route in Ussuriysk just north of Vladivostok. This is the shortest and the oldest rail route to Vladivostok. Some trains split at Shenyang, China, with a portion of the service continuing to Pyongyang, North Korea.



Viaje en el Transiberiano en Mayo-Junio de 2007. Más de 9000 km en tren!!Ruta:Alemania-Polonia-Bielorusia-Rusia-Mongolia-China

A very detailed account of in Spanish


Classes of travel

The standard accomodation on TS trains are second class carriages. On the Chinese trains 1st class has softer beds, the real luxury is in the Chinese delux class with a sofa and shower.


Delux First Class

Available only on the 3/4 Trans-Mongolian train. Two person berths with wood panelling and a shared shower.


First Class SV

Usually called SV, short for spalny vagon (sleeping wagon), the same as Second Class but there are only two berths. Some have TVs with dvd players. Usually cost double of Second Class.


Second Class

Usually called kupeyny and are the standard accommodation on the Trans-Siberian trains. Each compartment usually has four berths.


Third Class

Called platskartny or zhyostky (hard class) with a car of 54 berths in blocks of four on one side and two on the other.Try to avoid seats near the ends as they are near the toilets.


On the trains the carriage attendant is called the provodnitsa,usually female.




Fares are widely variable, but difficult to predict exactly. Fares for Russian trains are subject to seasonal changes, with mark-up for high season being up to 40%. Rough ideas would be


    * Moscow - Vladivostok $250/$500 (2nd/1st class, one-way)

    * Moscow - Beijing $200/$320

    * Moscow - Irkutsk $60/100

    * Irkutsk - Ulaanbaatar $30 (one-class)


The train has second class four-berth compartments (called "kupé") and first class two-berth compartments (called "spalny wagon" or "SV") and a restaurant car. One-way fares start at about $250 in a four-berth sleeper or $320 in a two-berth sleeper.Prices increase dramatically if additional stops are needed. Russian train tickets can only be purchased within the Russian Federation or in Finland. Tickets can be purchased only 45 days in advance. Many travel agencies can arrange to have tickets purchased by proxy, but the 45 day limit is strictly enforced.




The Russian train system is different from European ones. The train tickets are bought for fixed dates and all the stops must be planned in advance. If you have a ticket Moscow-Vladivostok and step off the train in Irkutsk, you can't use your ticket for a next train going to Vladivostok. If your stop is not planned in advance and not revealed in your tickets, your ticket will be cancelled and you'll get stuck in Irkutsk.

There are four ways of buying tickets for the trip. You can either purchase them from a travel agent in your own country (or online), a travel agent in the country you will start the journey in, or turn up and buy tickets yourself. The first option is the safest but the most expensive, the latter the cheapest but riskiest. Popular trains can be sold out well in advance, particularly in peak season.

 If you want to meet Russians on your trip, consider going from Vladivostok and heading west,since fewer tourists take the Trans-Siberian in this direction.




Russian visa needed for the trans siberian railroad

Russian Visa


Trans-Siberian travellers will need Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas. It is best to obtain your visas in your home country or Hong Kong, some tour companies will arang this as a package.


Mongolian visas can easily be obtained from the Mongolian consulate in Irkutsk (Russia), and Chinese visas in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia).


Russia : Invitations are generally required, and they must be registered in the country within 72 hours of arrival. However, Russian transit visas issued in Beijing last 10 days, and require no invitation. This would be enough time to make the trip with no stops on the way and spend a couple of days in Moscow.


Travel Agencies in HK can arrange train tickets, visas and hotels 852-2723


Recommended Vaccinations 

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B. Consider a vaccination for Japanese B encephalitis if spending a month or longer in the russian Far East and Siberia.A vaccination takes three injections over 30 days.





Trans-siberian railway trip 1978 



Set of photos taken in the Asian and European parts of Russia -- plus a few taken in northeastern China -- during a trip from Beijing to Moscow in early April 2000






Hear Russian Travel Phrases 


    Hello Здравствуйте  

What is your name?   Как Вас зовут?  

My name is _____.  Меня зовут ______ .  

Nice to meet you.   Очень приятно  

Thank you   Спасибо   

Goodbye   До свидания  

Do you speak English ? Вы говорите по-английски?   

I don't understand. Я не понимаю.   

How much is a ticket to _____ ?  Сколько стоит билет в _____?    


St. Petersberg  Санкт-Петербу́рг   

Moscow  Москвa   

Suzdal   Су́здаль   

Yekaterinburg   Екатеринбу́рг   

Omsk  Омск   

Irkutsk   Ирку́тск   

Vladivostok   Владивосто́к   

Ulaanbaatar    Улаанбаатар   

Provodnitsa (female) Provodnik (male)   train attendents



 Books and movies on the Trans-Siberian Railway



 Trans-Siberian Guide

 Lonely Planet

 Essential tips on route planning, when to go and visas
Locals and experts name their journey highlights in a full color section
Insider advice on the best dining carriages, stopovers




 Trans Siberian handbook





 The Trans-Siberian Railway: Railways from Moscow to the Pacific Ocean

 Impressive photos and
special reports tell the tale of the expanse and beauty of the differentlandscapes.


Transsiberian (film 2008)

Transsiberian is a 2008 neo-noir thriller film that stars Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega, Thomas Kretschmann, and Ben Kingsley. The film is set on the Trans-Siberian Railway and its Trans-Manchurian branch

 watch trailer


East of the Sun: The Epic Conquest and Tragic History of Siberia Russia's conquest of far-flung Siberia is a magnificent saga that rivals that of the settlement of the American West in its tragic drama.


Horror Express

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star in this creepy tale of a long-frozen "missing link" discovered in the ice in Northern China. As the frozen relic is being transported to England via the Trans-Siberian, passengers begin turning up dead, their eyes drained of all color. This excellent forgotten horror gem has the look and feel of a Hammer production, though it's Spanish. Oh, and Telly Savalas is in it, too!

watch clip



Modern Marvels

Trans Siberian 

Railroad on DVD Explores the incredible history of this legendary line through amodern-day ride across Russia, archival footage and photos of its construction


Trans Siberian t shirts




 Wikipedia on the Transsiberian

wikitravel on the Trans Siberian

Russian Railways  seems to be down

virtual Transsiberian trip

man in seat 61  The Turkestan-Siberian route into Central Asia via Novosibirisk and Almaty













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