Circum Baikal Railway

In 1886 Alexander III decreed that a Trans-Siberian rail route should be built. Construction started in 1891 and by 1900 the journey could be made by rail (though partly through China and partly by ferry). Heading east from Irkutsk the obstacle of Baikal was encountered and in 1900 an icebreaking ferry service was established across the lake
to Mysovaya. Building a railway along the shore of the lake was planned from 1901 but nothing happened. In 1904 the Russo-Japanese War meant that a winter interruption of the rail service by ice too thick for the ships threatened national security (tracks laid on the ice and utilising animal power were of limited use).

In 1902 work started on building a line along the shore from Kultuk in the south to Port Baikal near Listvyanka. In engineering terms this was a magnificent achievement and was completed in 1905 thus allowing through operation of trains. The line remained the main route until 1949 when a shorter, direct route was opened from Irkutsk to Kultuk
. In the 1950s flooding of the Angara valley to create a lake for hydro-power led to the loss of the line between Port Baikal and Irkutsk. Today the line from Port Baikal to Slyudyanka is still open with a sparse local service, but also carries regular tourist trains.

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Ferry to Pt Baikal

Port Baikal

Port Baikal

Railcar

Watering point

First stop

Baikal

Tunnel

Old bridge

Ice floes

American loco

Polovinnaya

Polovinnaya

Polovinnaya

Polovinnaya

Railcar

Watercourse

Last stop

Settlement

Anemones

Slyudyanka

Port Baikal

Ferry

Ferry
 
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