The first train from Moscow to Beijing arrived early this week. A new route, designed to meet the growing demand to live the thrill of the Far-East and the vastness of Russia’s landscapes.
What kind of trip fuels your dreams? If, like many, it is crossing Russia to the Pacific boarder on the legendary Trans-Siberian, you have reason to get excited because you dream is a little closer to becoming a reality. The Russian railways (RZD), the ones who have opened the new link, announced at the beginning of August that the new Moscow-Beijing / Beijing-Moscow route is officially open!
5,600 miles and 10 time-zones later…
The first run of the route took 2 weeks to complete, from August 15-29. In this time the passengers onboard successfully crossed 10 time-zones and crossed more than 5,600 miles by train. There were eight major stops along the way to mark the journey: Kazan in Tatarstan, Yekaterinburg in the Urals, Novosibirsk in western Siberia, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk in eastern Siberia, Ulan-Ude in Buryatia, Ulan Bator the capital of Mongolia and finally Erlian in China.
The train itself is designed for tourists, consisting of two sleeping cars, two dining cars, a bar car and a shower car. In-train services are provided in seven different languages and there is even an organized program for every evening, be it live music, cooking classes, film screenings, etc.
(As you read this the passengers are making their way back to Moscow, probably just heading past Lake Baikal or relaxing for the night in a Mongolian yurt… which is also part of the itinerary.)
Want to be part of the next trip?
The next trip will be announced in November. Depending on the number of requests, the trail will leave in August 2012, during the most “comfortable month” according to the RZD. Unfortunately (or not?) the trip is proving very popular thus far and there could be a long waiting list! Watch for cheap flights to Moscow and stay up to date:
A ride of a lifetime that inspires
Angela Carter wrote of travelling across Siberia,
“Outside the window, there slides past that unimaginable and deserted vastness where night is coming on, the sun declining in ghastly blood-streaked splendour like a public execution across, it would seem, half a continent, where live only bears and shooting stars and the wolves who lap congealing ice from water that holds within it the entire sky. All white with snow as if under dustsheets, as if laid away eternally as soon as brought back from the shop, never to be used or touched. Horrors! And, as on a cyclorama, this unnatural spectacle rolls past at twenty-odd miles an hour in a tidy frame of lace curtains only a little the worse for soot and drapes of a heavy velvet of dark, dusty blue.”
Have you ever dreamt about travelling across Russia? Have you ever done it?