From Bare Bones to Unrivaled Luxury:
Experience the New Trans-Siberian Railway
More than 150 years ago, plans for an internationally known legend were first set in motion. Though construction on what would ultimately be the Trans-Siberian Railway didn’t begin for another 34 years after the concept was introduced, all those who’ve benefitted from it during the decades since agree it was well worth the wait.
Spanning 9300 km (5,778 miles), it’s longest passenger railway ever constructed to this day with a history as diverse as its passengers’ travel experiences.
Looking Back in Time
Trans-Siberian Railway History
While the Trans-Siberian Railway has become synonymous with luxury travel, it didn’t quite start out that way. Numerous roadblocks began cropping up in the development of the railway from the moment Muravyov-Amursky, a general governor in Eastern Siberia, brought up the notion of building it.
Inadequate funding quickly brought the project to a halt during the late 1850s even before it got off the ground.
After being granted financial assistance from the Russian government by Tsar Alexander III, construction finally got underway in 1891. Still, funds ran short. High-quality materials called for in the railway’s original plans were replaced by less expensive alternatives, and many much-needed support structures were either skimped on or left out altogether.
Labor shortages forced officials to bring in workers from other areas of the country. Of course, the harsh Siberian weather and unforgiving landscape presented plenty of challenges of their own to overcome. On top of it all, the 90,000 labourers said to have had a hand in building the railway had only basic tools to work with, such as shovels, hand saws and axes.
In 1916, the Trans-Siberian Railway was officially completed.
In 1904, the Russo-Japanese War sent the project off course while also taking its toll on the sub-par materials used in construction, further slowing progress. From there, though, the line was repaired and upgraded using higher-quality materials. In 1916, the Trans-Siberian Railway was officially completed.
Up and Running
From Moscow to Vladivostok
In the beginning, the Trans-Siberian Railway was a strictly utilitarian setup serving multiple purposes. Trains pounded the rails back and forth from Moscow to Vladivostok, carting supplies to various areas of Siberia, including those inaccessible by other means. Cars hauled goods for export to chief ports across Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Russia’s military was likewise served by the extensive line.
It was the fastest way to traverse between Asia and Europe
Passengers were a major focus of the railway as well. It offered a practical and economical mode of transportation; not to mention, it was the fastest way to traverse between Asia and Europe. Over time, it became the transport of choice for backpackers on cross-country journeys because it was the most comfortable, flexible and affordable option at their disposal.
From Simplicity to Extravagance
Fairly early on in the Trans-Siberian Railway’s budding history of passenger travel, it became famous for its bare-bones accommodations. Cars were divided into several sleeping quarters with multiple people bunking in each. Common areas were small and highly restrictive, and guests shared small restrooms offering only basic facilities. Those passenger trains weren’t equipped with showers, and dining opportunities came only from train station kiosks during stops along there routes.
In time, the railway blossomed into a more well-appointed affair. Passengers were given a broader range of options in terms of accommodations and more creature comforts during trips. Economy trips in various price tiers are still available for those who choose to take the Trans-Siberian Railway, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg.
With the launch of the Trans-Siberian Railway’s latest fleet, passengers can now enjoy extravagant adventures with far more amenities than those of the past.
They offer luxurious private accommodations, full ensuite facilities, restaurants, bars and a long list of other onboard features.
Trips on the railway’s deluxe trains range from 13 to 16 days depending on the chosen route. Tailored itineraries and onboard entertainment are offered with excursions available for those who want to see all the renowned sites along the way.
Several luxury trains now run the Trans-Siberian lines, each with its own special features and opportunities.
Deemed the railway’s most opulent passenger train, the Golden Eagle offers three classes of cabins equipped with ultramodern conveniences. Cabin attendants cater to guests’ needs as they travel in style from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar or vice versa.
Grand Trans-Siberian Express
Passengers of the Grand Trans-Siberian, may choose to board in Moscow and journey to Beijing or begin their trips in Beijing and venture to Moscow with stops at Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, Ulan-Ude and Ulaanbaatar scheduled in between. Overnight stays in four or five-star hotels and daily excursions are also part of the package.
Posh passenger suites give way to separate bar and restaurant cars on the Imperial Russia. Guests are served authentic Russian cuisine and cocktails as they ride the rails between Beijing and Moscow or Moscow and Vladivostok. Live music and other forms of entertainment are made available as well.
Running the Moscow-to-Beijing route, the Tsar’s Gold gives passengers the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful landscape Europe and Asia have to offer from the comfort of their deluxe private suites.
Trans-Siberian Railway’s Dragon Wagon is a private car pulled behind conventional trains through Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Lake Baikal and Irkutsk. Excursions take passengers to famed sites where they can enjoy traditional cuisine, entertainment and other aspects of local culture.
From the unique experience of the Dragon Wagons to the exclusive accommodations of the Golden Eagle, passengers have an extensive lineup of options to choose from when they travel via the Trans-Siberian Railway. These trips are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities packed with adventures and sightseeing opportunities.
Take Your Next Journey to an Entirely New Level
While the Trans-Siberian Railway’s well-known economy options remain available to those looking for affordable travel across Europe and Asia, its deluxe trains are in a class all their own. They offer luxury land-based cruises with ample features and amenities, giving passengers a chance to experience local sights, sounds and tastes in unequaled class and comfort.