Circum-Baikal Railway Guided Excursion by Train
Go Russia invites you to join us on the breathtaking journey around Lake Baikal, on the Circum-Baikal Railway, which runs along the North shore of the Southern part of the lake, from the village of Slyudyanka to the Port Baikal settlement. This is a full-day guided tour, which may start from either Irkutsk or the village of Listvyanka, depending on the train schedule (please see below.
The train travels at a leisurely pace right along the shore of the lake, stopping at the most significant architectural sites and at popular viewpoints, where you can take some great photos. You’re bound to be impressed by the stunning views of Lake Baikal, its magnificent beauty and the surrounding hills. Numerous tunnels, stone galleries, bridges and viaducts will strike your imagination. The personal courage and the unique skills of the engineers and workers will amaze you; at the end of XIX century, the majority of the construction was carried out by hand and in severe weather conditions, both hot summers and extremely cold winters. The rocks and mountains made the engineers lay the greater part of the railway on artificial structures in tunnels, strengthening the sides of the lake shore, and directing the small rivers that flow into the lake through special stone viaducts.
The total length of the Circum-Baikal Railway, from Port Baikal to the settlement at Slyudyanka is 89 km. The line includes 38 tunnels with a total length of 9,063 m (the longest tunnel, Polovinniy, is 777.5 m long), plus 18 galleries, 248 bridges and numerous viaducts.
You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide, who will tell you about the region’s history and wildlife, many facts and figures, and stories and legends of the construction of the railway. The Circum-Baikal is not just a railway, but a unique museum of history and nature, combining architecture with zoology, mineralogy and geology. Your day of discovery will be crowned by a visit to the local railway museum at Port Baikal.
TOUR SCHEDULEThe tour and the train run only on certain days of the year. All our Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian packages are designed so that you can join this optional excursion upon your arrival in Irkutsk or while you stay at Lake Baikal. The Baikal Shoreline Railway tour can also be added to your tailor-made travel arrangements.
All year-round schedule (please note all timings are approximate and subject to change during the travel season):
- Wednesdays. Irkutsk - Sludyanka - Port Baikal - by ferry to Listvyanka. Depature: 08:00 AM, arrival: 09:00 PM
- Thursdays. Listvyanka - by ferry to Port Baikal - Sludyanka - Irkutsk. Depature: 10:00 AM, arrival: 09:30 PM
- Fridays, Sundays. Irkutsk - Sludyanka - Port Baikal - by ferry to Listvyanka. Depature: 08:00 AM, arrival: 09:00 PM
- Saturdays, Mondays. Listvyanka - by ferry to Port Baikal - Sludyanka - Irkutsk. Depature: 10:00 AM, arrival: 09:30 PM
ABOUT CIRCUM-BAIKAL RAILROADThe Circum-Baikal Railway (also very well known by its abbreviated form, KBZhD) is a truly historic line, being part of the main Trans-Siberian route until the middle of the 20th century. It was completed in 1905, when the Western and Eastern parts of the railroad (previously served by the ice-breaker-ferries Baikal and Angara, or in the most severe winters by horses) were finally connected at the town of Babushkin (also known as Mysovsk ) on the Southern shore of the lake
The regular service on the Circum-Baikal Railway was stopped in the late 1950s, when Irkutsk’s hydro-electric power station was built on the river Angara in 1956, and the adjoining area was unexpectedly flooded. The Slyudyanka - Port Baikal route became a single dead-end line. Subsequently the second track was dismantled and the railway was converted into a museum and major tourist attraction, as it is today. The main Trans-Siberian railway route was redirected, connecting Irkutsk to Bolyshoy Lug and Slyudyanka.