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Circum-Baikal railway or “krugobaikalka»

The TRANS-Siberian railway is figuratively called the “steel belt of Russia”. And the krugobaykalskaya railway, or “Krugobaykalka”, with the light hand of Emperor Nicholas II – the “Golden buckle” on this belt.

Circum-Baikal railway or “krugobaikalka»
Probably, everyone traveling by land transport (trains, buses) had such moments: in a boring city landscape or monotonous natural landscape outside the window suddenly breaks a “Hello from the past” – a small red-brick station building in the style of architecture of the last century, an outlandish viaduct, a bizarre arch of a concrete tunnel, pretentious bridge supports or a water tower, similar to a brick tower. It flickered and remained in my memory, as sometimes a page of an old book is accidentally opened. Monuments of engineering architecture are still little used by tourist companies as attractions, krugobaykalka is a happy exception.

Circum-Baikal railway, map

So, the Circum-Baikal railway is a section of railway track with a length of 89 kilometers, laid along the coast of the world’s deepest lake Baikal. Kbzhd was operated as a section of the TRANS-Siberian railway from 1904 to 1949. Now it is a dead-end railway line from the Slyudyanka station on the TRANS-Siberian railway to the port of Baikal, used mainly for tourist purposes. It has five active stations-Kultuk, Maritui, 137 km passageway, Ulanovo, Baikal, and 38 tunnels with a total length of 9063 meters (the longest, at Cape Polovinny – 778 m), as well as 15 stone galleries, three reinforced concrete galleries with holes, 268 retaining walls, 248 bridges and viaducts.

Circum-Baikal railway or krugobaikalka

All these objects are unique, built according to the original projects of Russian and Italian engineers and architects of the beginning of the XX century, and were not rebuilt in the following years. In Russia, there is no equal in the saturation of engineering structures of the kbzhd, there are only a few such Railways in the world. This is the main value of krugobaikalka as a tourist destination, plus the opportunity to admire the unique Baikal landscapes throughout the journey.

Circum-Baikal railway

Travel companies have recently started to develop a roundabout, but the success is already certain. Several comfortable trains and rail buses run along the unique route, some of them are powered by steam locomotives. Tourists on the way have the opportunity to take a walk along the coast and the Baikal taiga, and in winter-even take a small ski trip.

circum-Baikal

The most comfortable way to travel around Circum – Baikal is on the retro train “Baikal cruise”, in compartment cars equipped with showers, air conditioning, and toilets. There are also themed SV-compartments, with interiors in the style of the era of Nicholas II and the corresponding attributes-photos, maps, posters. Traveling in such a train for lovers of native nature and national history is a real gift.

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