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November 2nd 2005
Published: April 25th 2006
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Coming from a family that has always had strong connections with railways, I have always had an interest in trains from being a small child. Therefore I suppose it was only natural that I would always have a fascination about what it would be like to travel on the world's longest railway journey, the 'Trans-Siberian'. This was probably fueled in the last few years by watching with envy the travels of Michael Palin in his many BBC TV programmes taking unusual journeys across the globe.
The 'Trans-Siberian Railway' is a working railway and in fact one of the busiest in the world for both passengers and freight across the entire length of Russia. At this stage lets dispel the myth that there is an actual train called the 'Trans-Siberian Express'. The Trans-Siberian is a railway and not a train, but has many different passenger trains that work along its route from Moscow to Vladivostok. The majority operate different stretches of the line between major towns and cities. However there are 3 trains that stand out from the rest due to the length of their journey. The first is the 'Rossiya' which operates between Moscow and Vladivostok. The other two are both international trains, one operates between Moscow and Beijing via Mongolia, the other between Moscow and Beijing via Manchuria.
So I recently started to think about actually making such a journey and after some research have decided that I would probably take the Mongolian route, which is 4,916 miles and seems the most interesting, going not only across Russia but also through Mongolia and into China, and also more convenient for getting a flight home. The route goes through the Ural mountains, across the Siberian plains and forests, around Lake Baikal, through the Sayan mountains, across the Mongolian steppes, the Gobi desert, and under the Great Wall of China !
There are many travel companies in the UK all with their own websites who can organise a full travel package that can cost anything from £2000 to £6000 (GBP) per person depending how many stopovers you take, and most offer only Second Class train travel. However I calculated that the approximate cost of doing it myself would be just over £1000 and unlike the costs shown above, that would also include travel by train from the UK all the way to Moscow, First Class travel on the 'Trans-Siberian' from Moscow to Beijing, and a further train from Beijing to Shanghai.
If you are going do a train journey make it a big one……….… travelling a total of 7,650 miles, which is nearly the equivalent of travelling half way round the world from the UK on latitude 53 degrees north - so the trip could also be referred to as '(Half Way) Round The World In 13 Days' !
So from today the planning commences and will take place during the next 6 months leading upto departure on Friday 5th May 2006.


6th September 2006

13 day wah!!!!
only 13 days......! did you get time to smell the roses?

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