Sunday, September 14, 2008

Train across Siberia


Unfortunately I have no photos of the 1st half of the day, as I lost them due to a mistake when copying files. However, as I have been to Barnaul some weeks ago during my trip to the solar eclipse in the Altaj mountains (see, that's not a big problem.

I spent the 1st half of the day with a walk in the quite pleasant center of Barnaul. My train to Novosibirsk was train 626 (Barnaul – Novosibirsk) which departed at 10: 47 (13:47 local time).

Railway station Barnaul (photo from my previous trip)

Also for this trip I booked a place in a seating-car at

There were only two Barnaul – Novosibirsk cars on this train, the rest of the train consisted of various through-cars like Biysk – Neryungri and so on…

At Cherepanovo the two AC EP1 are replaced by a DC ChS2:

On the other track train 301 Novosibirsk – Almaty (KTZ cars and two RZD through cars Novosibirsk – Leninogorsk):


Seating car from outside:

And from inside (at Novosibirsk, after all passengers already left it, it was indeed quite full):

The train arrived at Novosibirsk at 15:18.
As I dind't get so much sleep last night, I asked for the "komnata otdykha" at Novosibirsk station to spend there a part of the waiting time till 20:07 (arrival of train 12 Chelyabinsk – Chita). But the "station-hotel" was closed for renovation. So I stored my luggage at the left-luggage and decided to make a walk around Novosibirsk.

Waiting hall at Novosibirsk:

The impressive station from outside:

My walk around Novosibirsk:


Also Novosibirsk is prepared for the Oktoberfest:

Railway station by night:

EP2K with train no. 1 "Rossiya" (Vladivostok – Moskva):

Train 6 (Moskva – Ulan-Bator) was interesting too: Most passengers were Mongolian traders, who sold clothes and other stuff during the stop. The compartments were quite full with their luggage. This "train market" as far as I know takes only place in the Mongolian train 6 (wednesday from Moscow), the Russian train no. 6 (thursday from Moscow) is therefore more recommended for tourists...

As already mentioned, I continued my trip with train no. 12 (Chita – Chelyabinsk), which stops at Novosibirsk from 20:07 till 20:47 (23:07 till 23:47 local time):

The reservation for this trip:

Again my place was in a men-compartment in a car was additional service. My compartment was empty when I entered the train, but after 20 minutes another man came. He was travelling from Novosibirsk to Krasnoyarsk on a business-trip.

As I was already very tired, I soon went to bed.


I woke up near Bogotol, still four hours before Krasnoyarsk. Nothing special to tell, the weather was still cold and cloudy…

At Kransoyarsk my fellow passenger got off. Now I was alone in the compartment, which was a little bit boring…

Krasnoyarsk station (8:56 – 9:16):

Crossing the Yennissey-river:

A video of the river crossing:

Marshalling yard east of Krasnoyarsk:

Nice landscape and villages between Krasnoyarsk and Uyar:


Typical Siberian "datchas":

Siberia in autumn – a beautiful landscape!

2TE10 with a special train for track-renewal works:

At Ilanskaya (13:45 – 14:05):

Device for sand-refueling:

VL-80 with a freight train:

Some more landscape photos:

The dinner served from the dining-car:

On this train only one hot meal was included in the ticket. However, for lunch I could also order a hot meal from the dining car for 120 RUB, which is quite cheap.

The washbasin in the toilet:


Nowadays there are such warnings on all Russian trains

They say, that the sockets can be used to charge mobile phones, but that they were only designed for shavers and using them for other electric devices like mobile phones can lead to damage, for which the the train crew undertakes no responsibility.


In the morning at 2:13 (7:13 local time) I arrived at Usole-Sibirskoe:

After buying a ticket for the express-elektrichka to Irkutsk in the afternoon, I walked to the flat of my friends. They live close to the station.

On the way I noticed that appearently the tramway is now finally extended by about 500 meters to the railway station:

That was a little, but very positive surprise for me, as Usole-Sibirskoe is not a big town, where much progress is happening…

I stayed at my friends untill the afternoon. I have not seen them for quite a long time and my trip to North Korea was a good opportunity to meet again ;-)
When walking back to the station together with them, I took another photo of the tramway construction works:

The ticket for the express-elektrichka (Usole 12:15(17:15) - Irkutsk 13:24(18:24)):

The train arrived some minutes late and I got on. Alltough the ticket was issued via an Express-terminal (but at the "prigorodnaya kassa"), the number of tickets per train seemed to be unlimited.
As it was sunday afternoon and many students returned to Irkutsk, the train was full and I had to stand till Angarsk.

The express-elektrichka at Irkutsk Passashirskiy station:

My friend Oliver and his girlfriend were already waiting for me. They arrived at Irkutsk they day before after already spending some time in Russia.
We took the marshrutka no. 72 to reach the "Baikalhostel", where I left my luggage. Then we went by bus to downtown Irkutsk to have some dinner and returned to the hostel by taxi at around 23:30.



Eurasia 2005: ~35.000 km by train from Europe via Ukraine, Russia and Mongolia to China and back to Europe via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan:

Total solar eclipse 2008: Trip to the total solar eclipse in the Altay mountains (1st august 2008), including a 6-day trekking trip:


Anonymous said...

> BTW, anyone knowing the purpose of this blue tubes, which can be seen next to the tracks at many stations in Russia?

They are used to supply compressed air. Here the air is needed to power a reducing wagons' speed mechanism, also it is somewhere used to recharge brakes when wagons are standing without a locomotive.

supernova17 said...

The blue pipes carry tap water that they refill the train cars with. (to flush toilets, sinks, water heaters...)

alex said...

they could BE gas lines for the winter, when they need to keep the switches from freezing. but water or air seems likely too.

supernova17 said...

I'm pretty sure it's water, but I could be wrong. I'm from Kazakhstan originally and I've traveled across Russia and Ukraine by train every summer for the past five years. I have seen workers refill the trains with water at the long stops. Maybe it's different in some parts of the country.

gertjan said...

to my opinion it the blue pipes are used as a power source for the switches. I thought, but did not check, that the point machines are operated by high prssure air.
If you have a look you will see that at all big marshalling yards the point machines are fed by these blue pipes.
I guess that the system is less sensitive for disturbances in comparision with electric motors.

Gertjan (i did Moccou - Ulan Bator - Peking)

Luaay said...

great spasiba

kuks said...

Pipes are for compressed air, cleaning switches from snow in the winter. Also, a possibility of checking brakes is common, but only in depot areas mainly. Water for toilets etc. are coming from "wells" beside the tracks. Water pipes are dug deep below the surface to keep them from frosty winters and only taps are on the ground in the "wells". Again, it is only frost protection. The power from switches come by cables, what are also dug under ground or by air feeders, what are connected directly to station`s dispatcher or to central dispatcher of the area. Few types of point machines use compressed air for operating, but these use alternatibe power e.g. two pipe system or alternative compressor.

Comp said...

Those blue pipes are definitely NOT water supplies. Think about the freezing winter out there. Pipes distribute a gas for operating track switches and also for pneumatized braking in shunt-yards. Maybe the gas is also used for heating the switches to avoid freezing. Pneumatic-operated switches are more failure-proof than those with electro-motors, and also of simpler construction.

Yahoo said...

Great article. Thanks for sharing.