Route development

In March 1890, the future Tsar Nicholas II personally inaugurated and blessed the construction of the Far East segment of the Trans-Siberian Railway during his stop at Vladivostok, after visiting Japan at the end of his journey around the world. Nicholas II made notes in his diary about his anticipation of travelling in the comfort of “The Tsar’s Train” across the unspoiled wilderness of Siberia. The Tsar’s Train was designed and built in St. Petersburg to serve as the main mobile office of the Tsar and his staff for travelling across Russia.

The main route of the Trans-Siberian originates in Moscow at Yaroslavsky Vokzal, runs through Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita and Khabarovsk to Vladivostok via southern Siberia and was built from 1891 to 1916 under the supervision of government ministers of Russia who were personally appointed by the Tsar Alexander III and by his son, Tsar Nicholas II. The additional Chinese Eastern Railway was constructed as the Russo-Chinese part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, connecting Russia with China and providing a shorter route to Vladivostok and it was operated by a Russian staff and administration based in Harbin.

The Trans-Siberian Railway is often associated with the main transcontinental Russian line that connects hundreds of large and small cities of the European and Asian parts of Russia. At 9,259 kilometres (5,753 miles),[1] spanning a record seven time zones and taking eight days to complete the journey, it is the third-longest single continuous service in the world, after the Moscow–Pyongyang (10,267 km, 6,380 mi)[2] and the Kiev–Vladivostok (11,085 km, 6,888 mi)[3] services, both of which also follow the Trans-Siberian for much of their routes.

A second primary route is the Trans-Manchurian, which coincides with the Trans-Siberian as far as Tarskaya (a stop 12 km east of Karymskaya, in Zabaykalsky Krai), about 1,000 km east of Lake Baikal. From Tarskaya the Trans-Manchurian heads southeast, via Harbin and Mudanjiang in China’s Northeastern Provinces (from where a connection to Beijing is used by one of the Moscow–Beijing trains), joining with the main route in Ussuriysk just north of Vladivostok. This is the shortest and the oldest railway route to Vladivostok. Some trains split at Shenyang, China, with a portion of the service continuing to Pyongyang, North Korea.

The third primary route is the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which coincides with the Trans-Siberian as far as Ulan-Ude on Lake Baikal’s eastern shore. From Ulan-Ude the Trans-Mongolian heads south to Ulaan-Baatar before making its way southeast to Beijing.

In 1991, a fourth route running further to the north was finally completed, after more than five decades of sporadic work. Known as the Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM), this recent extension departs from the Trans-Siberian line at Taishet several hundred miles west of Lake Baikal and passes the lake at its northernmost extremity. It crosses the Amur River at Komsomolsk-na-Amure (north of Khabarovsk), and reaches the Pacific at Sovetskaya Gavan.

On October 13, 2011 a train from Khasan made inaugural run to Rajin in North Korea.[4

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