Trans-Siberian 2012





Itinerary

  1. K3/003З: Beijing – Moscow Yaroslavskaya
    Class: Deluxe
    Fare: 6527.00 CNY ≈ 1032 USD
    Distance: 7819 km
    Time: 129 hours, 53 minutes (2012-01-18 08:05 +08:00 – 2012-01-23 13:58 +04:00)
  2. 152А “Sapsan”: Moscow Oktyabrskaya – Saint Petersburg Glavny
    Class: First
    Fare: 5585.90 RUB = 179.62 USD
    Distance: 650 km
    Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes (2012-01-25 06:45 +04:00 – 2012-01-25 10:30 +04:00)
  3. 001А “Red Arrow”: Saint Petersburg Glavny – Moscow Oktyabrskaya
    Class: Second
    Fare: 2233.70 RUB = 71.83 USD
    Distance: 650 km
    Time: 8 hours, 00 minutes (2012-01-26 23:55 +04:00 – 2012-01-27 07:55 +04:00)
  4. SU573: Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) – Beijing Capital (PEK)
    Class: Economy
    Fare: 9895.00 RUB = 332.50 USD
    Time: 7 hours, 45 minutes (2012-01-27 12:45 +04:00 – 2012-01-28 00:30 +08:00)

One cannot buy the trans-Siberian ticket at the train station. This is where the ticket is being sold. It is located at the first floor (ground floor) in Beijing International Hotel, about 600 meters north to Beijing Railway Station.

A one-way ticket from Beijing to Moscow via Mongolia costs CN¥4049 (hard sleeper), CN¥5962 (soft sleeper), or CN¥6527 (deluxe sleeper).

The ticket

The ticket

The ticket

The ticket

The ticket

The Russian and Mongolian visa is straightforward.

Beijing Railway Station, January 18, before sunrise

At 39°54′N, the sun would rise at 07:35 UTC+08:00

It was only five days from the Lunar New Year.

These temporary channels were to handle the Chunyun travel season, better known as the biggest human migration in the world.

The entrance to the station

Inside the station

Tigers

And human being

It was still early.

Waiting room

Upstairs

The train would be checked at the Central Hall

Passengers were waiting here.

Queue for boarding

These were the old-fashioned non-airconed green train cars.

The engine

A SS3 electric locomotive

Back on the platform

Two weekly trains serving the Beijing to Moscow route, one is the Chinese train K3/4 running through Mongolia, the other one is the Russian train K19/20 running through Manchuria. This is the Chinese train.

The train consists of 15 train cars, include one luggage, three hard sleepers, three soft/deluxe sleepers, one restaurant, and then seven more hard sleepers. The restaurant and three of ten hard sleeper cars were domestic.

Inside the train

A panoramic view

The train timetable

Train K3 pulled out of Beijing Railway Station at 08:05, bound for Moscow.

Having passed through Beijing South Railway Station, the train now running on the Fengsha Railway. Next station: Zhangjiakou South, 196 km away from Beijing

Fortunately I was the only one in my two-person cabin all the way from Beijing to Moscow. It would be worth the money.

First day’s lunch and dinner in the Chinese dining car were free.

And this was the free lunch.

The train stopped at Zhangjiakou South Station at 11:20:39, 00m39s late, 03h16m after leaving Beijing.

The distance from Beijing to Zhangjiakou South is 196 km. The train should stop here for 6 minutes, but it was delayed. It departed from Zhangjiakou South at 11:31:54, 05m54s late.

The dining car was full.

These two sitting in front of me were each wearing a Kim Il-sung’s badge.

They must come from a “Democratic” country.

Datong Station, arrived at 14:01:05, 02m55s late.

Datong Station, departed at 14:19:21, 03m21s late.

Jining South Station. It was 178 km from Zhangjiakou South to Datong, and 127 km from Datong to Jining South.

The train now running on Jining–Erlian Line, and it was time for dinner.

This was the last free meal on the train.

Having made a brief stop at Zhurihe (Jurh) Station, the train stopped at the Chinese border station of Erlian (Erenhot) at 20:30:08, 01m52s early.

The train would stop at Erlian for three hours and half for immigration and gauge changing.

Passengers could remain on the train, or they could also stay in the waiting room of the station.

China uses 1435 mm standard gauge, while Mongolia and Russia use 1520 mm broad gauge.

The train would be lifted and the bogie would be changed.

This process took about one hour and forty minutes.

The train

And my cabin

Now bogie had been changed, the train pulled back to Erlian Station.

The rail track in Erlian Station is dual gauge.

The train slowly pulled out of Erlian Station at 00:00:20 on January 19, and crossed the Chinese–Mongolian border 11 minutes later.

First view of Mongolia

The Mongolian side of the border

And another immigration check on the train

Zamyn-Uud, the Mongolian border station

The train should stop here for 75 minutes.

The second morning

This section of the railway is single track, we need to stop and wait trains from the other direction pass.

Second day on train, sunrise.

Choir Station

Nothing

Outside of the window

Inside

The decoration for the upcoming Chinese New Year

Mongolian scenery

Mongolian scenery

Mongolian scenery

Approaching Ulaanbaatar

The train

The train

Near Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital

Ulaanbaatar Station arrival at 13:38:50, 18m50s late

Ulaanbaatar Station

Ulaanbaatar Station

The train departed from Ulaanbaatar at 14:12:16, 22m16s late.

Mongolian restaurant car

A dish for CN¥70 (~ US$11). Chinese yuan was accepted in the Mongolian restaurant car.

The train arrived at the Mongolian border station of Suhbaatar at 20:45:40, 04m20s early. The train was expected to stay here for 75 minutes for Mongolian immigration.

Train 003 crossed the Mongolian–Russian border at 22:45:30 Mongolia time (UTC+08:00). The Russian local time was one hour ahead, but Russian Railways uses Moscow time all over the country.

While Russian Railways operates in Moscow time, the immigration at the border station uses local time, so the date of my arrival in Russia was January 20.

The temperature dropped to nearly -40 °C this night. As the train burns coal for heating, it is constantly replenished at every major stop.

It was 16 °C inside.

The third day on the train.

Lake Baikal

A frozen lake

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China sends out spam SMS and reminds its citizens to comply with the Russian law.

View of the Siberian countryside

View of the Siberian countryside

Near Irkutsk

Near Irkutsk

The train stopped at Irkutsk Passenger Station at 15:39:46 local time, or 10:39:46 Moscow “summer” time, 14 seconds early.

Irkutsk Passenger Station

In front of Irkutsk Passenger Station

The train was expected to stop here for 20 minutes.

Tram in front of the station

Rail tracks for tram

Local money withdrawal near the station

And then back inside

Coal truck on the platform

Without this, the train would freeze very soon.

Russian restaurant car

Menu

For 325 rubles (~ US$11)

This is the “hard sleeper” car.

Sunset

Sunset

The daylight hours was short.

January 21 before sunrise, the train was near Krasnoyarsk.

It was the fourth day on the train.

Krasnoyarsk approach

Krasnoyarsk approach

Krasnoyarsk approach

The train stopped moving at 07:58:07 local time, or 03:58:07 Moscow time, 04m07s late.

It was 2564 km away from Beijing, and 3267 km away from Moscow, …

… according to my GPS.

It was actually a pair.

The next station was Mariinsk.

In the train

In the train

In the train

Mariinsk Station arrival at 12:53:02 local time, or 09:53:02 Moscow time, 01m58s early.

The train was expected to stop here for 25 minutes.

The locomotive would be replaced, so would be the voltage.

For historial reasons, the western part of the trans-Siberian railway was electrified for 3 kV DC.

But the eastern part of the railway has 25 kV AC.

Tracks

As the overhead catenary had switched to the new voltage, the next locomotive was coming.

The locomotive changing

The locomotive changing

The locomotive changing

The locomotive changing

The locomotive changing

The locomotive changing

View of the platform

A panoramic view

The staff was de-icing of the train

The train

The train pulled out of Mariinsk Station at 13:20:14 local time, or 10:20:14 Moscow time, 14 seconds late.

Back on the train, this the staffs’ room.

Frozen coke, bought from a shop on the platform

Water heater

After two hours, it was still frozen.

After a short stop in Taiga, the train was approach Novosibirsk.

Near Novosibirsk

Near Novosibirsk

Near Novosibirsk

Near Novosibirsk

Train 003 arrived in Novosibirsk at 18:57:12 local time, or 15:57:12 Moscow time, 48 seconds early.

It was freeze, better keep inside.

Novosibirsk

Departed from Novosibirsk at 19:18:20 local time, or 16:18:20 Moscow time, 01m20s late.

The next station was Barabinsk.

Barabinsk arrival at night

And then Omsk, early in the next morning

January 22, the fifth day on the train

It was approaching Ishim

The train arrived in Ishim at 04:59:42 local time, or 02:59:42 Moscow time, 01m42s late.

And departed at 05:12:40 local time, or 03:12:40 Moscow time, 02m40s late.

Next station: Tyumen

Near Tyumen

Near Tyumen

Near Tyumen

Tyumen arrival at 08:36:19 local time, or 06:36:19 Moscow time, 02m41s early

Tyumen

On the platform

On the platform

On the platform

It was the day of Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Need for coal

Need for coal

Need for coal

Shop on the platform

On the opposite side, it was train 37 from Tomsk. The train leaves Tyumen earlier, but its Moscow arrival would be two hours later than my train.

Sunrise, again

Another view

I would say at over three times the price of an air ticket, it worths the money.

Next station: Yekaterinburg

The train staffs were preparing their food.

Chinese dumplings for the new year eve

Not for the passengers

Near Yekaterinburg

Near Yekaterinburg

Near Yekaterinburg

The train arrived in Yekaterinburg at 13:31:47 local time, or 11:31:47 Moscow time, 13 seconds early.

Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

The Russian restaurant car

Another visit to the restaurant car, 545 rubles (~ US$18)

This is the door to the restaurant.

Corridor

Freezing

The staff was washing it with hot water.

It was a different world outside of the first class compartment.

Outside of the window

Sunset

Next station: Perm

View of the countryside

View of the countryside

View of the countryside

View of the countryside

View of the countryside

View of the countryside

Perm approach

Perm approach

Perm approach

The train stopped in Perm 2 Station at 19:16:08 local time, or 17:16:08 Moscow time, 04m52s early.

Perm 2 Station

My cabin from the outside.

On the platform

On the platform

The train pulled out of Perm 2 Station at 19:41:26 local time, or 17:41:26 Moscow time, 26 seconds late.

Having stopped twice at Balezino and Kirov at night, the train was near Nizhny Novgorod.

It was January 23, 2012, …

… or the sixth day on the train.

Early in the morning, the train stopped in Nizhny Novgorod at 06:54:24 Moscow time, 36 seconds early.

Nizhny Novgorod’s Gorky Moskovsky Station

The train departed from Nizhny Novgorod at 07:11:11, 01m01s late.

The last sunrise on the train

View through the train window

View through the train window

View through the train window

Next station: Vladimir

Scenary between Nizhny Novgorod and Vladimir

Scenary between Nizhny Novgorod and Vladimir

Scenary between Nizhny Novgorod and Vladimir

Scenary between Nizhny Novgorod and Vladimir

Near Vladimir

Near Vladimir

Near Vladimir

Vladimir

Vladimir

Vladimir arrival at 10:17:56, 4 seconds early

Vladimir Passenger Station

On the platform

The train was expected to stop in Vladimir for 23 minutes.

Caution: “Sapsan” high-speed trains run through the station

And also low-speed trains

The locomotive to pull the train to Moscow

The train departed from Vladimir at 10:41:48, 48 seconds late.

Next station: Moscow Yaroslavskaya, the terminal of the train

Commuting stations along the railway

Commuting stations along the railway

Commuting stations along the railway

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

Near Moscow

After having spent six days in this cabin, …

… Moscow arrived.

Train 003 arrived in Moscow Yaroslavsky Station at 13:55:54, 02m06s early.

Moscow arrival

Moscow arrival

Moscow arrival

Moscow arrival

Moscow arrival

Moscow arrival

Train 003, from Beijing

0 km, Trans-Siberian

In front of the station

Speed profile of train K3/003 from Beijing to Moscow (click to enlarge)

Ticket print out for the next train to Saint Petersburg

Ticket print out for the next train to Saint Petersburg

Ticket print out for the next train to Saint Petersburg

Ticket print out for the next train to Saint Petersburg

Ticket print out for the next train to Saint Petersburg

Ticket print out for the next train to Saint Petersburg

The two tickets for the round trip were booked at rzd.ru on January 11.

Moscow

Moscow

Moscow

Next: Train 152 “Sapsan” from Moscow to Saint Petersburg

I had a first class seat.

Meal included

And coffee

This was my first time on a Russian high-speed train, but I had been on this kind of Siemens Velaro trains for nearly 300 times in China, mostly between Beijing and Tianjin.

Unfortunately most pictures of this segment was lost, as my iPhone 4S was stolen in Saint Petersburg, at a metro station.

These only survived pictures were those I posted on the Internet during the ride.

Speed profile of train 152 from Moscow to Saint Petersburg

Next: Train 001 “Red Arrow” from Saint Petersburg to Moscow

These pictures were taken by another iPhone of mine, an iPhone 3GS. The quality is not as good as the iPhone 4S’s.

The railway station in Saint Petersburg

Here I gave a begger 100+ rubles in hope of a better luck in the next few hours — not lose another iPhone.

My original plan was to take train 020 back. Due to the incident, I’d fly.

The platform

The train

“Red Arrow”

Wikipedia’s introduction of the train: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Arrow_(Russian_train)

I had a second class sleeper.

Inside the train

It was an 8 hours for the 650 km journey.

The Airport Express train to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport

Onboard the Airport Express train

Sheremetyevo International Airport arrival

SVO to PEK, in less than 8 hours, instead of 146 hours on a train.

Other Trips


Comments

Name: Email: (Your email address will not be published)