Trans-Siberian Railway - Gateway from Moscow
The Trans-Siberian Railway, or as it is also known, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, is a railway that connects Moscow, European Russia, Russian Far East provinces, China, Mongolia and the Sea of Japan through a vast railway network. The Finance Minister, Sergei Witte, oversaw the full time construction of the railway that started in 1891.
The Trans-Siberian Railway’s main line runs from Moscow to Vladivostok, and travels via Siberia. This line was constructed between 1891 and 1916, and is the third longest single line in the world, running over eight time zones, 9 288 kilometers in length and with a journey duration of approximately 7 days. The second route is named the Trans-Manchurian line. It is the oldest and shortest rail route to Vladivostok, as it coincides with the main line until Tarskaya, and then heads south east, past Harbin in the Northeastern Province of China, and rejoins the main line north of Vladivostok. The Trans-Mongolian route is the third route, coinciding with the Trans-Siberian at Ulan Ude, heading south to Ulaan-Baatar and southeast toward Beijing. The fourth route, to run further north, was completed in 1991 and is known as BAM (Baikal Amur Mainline). This line leaves the Trans-Siberian line at Taishet, runs past Lake Baikal, crosses the Amur River and then moves on to Sovetskaya Gavan. Although this route is very beautiful along the Baikal northern coast, it also covers somewhat forbidding territory.
The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway lines were only considered after 1880, before then, any railway projects were either ignored or rejected. The rejections were due to the weakness of the Siberian economy and the financial risk that was involved. Eventually, more and more requests for permission to build the railway lines were received to link Siberia and the Pacific. Due to the lack of interest to connect Siberia with eastern Russia, it posed great concern to the Government, and connecting Siberia with Moscow became a priority. The lines started to be electrified in 1929 and this was completed in 2002. The electrification of the lines allowed trains to be doubled in weight to 6 000 tonnes.
Today the Trans-Siberian Railway is a very important traveling medium, with local residents and tourist using the line. Many tours are available on the lines, and most travel agencies can arrange and outline a route for any visitor wanting to experience this unique adventure.