We are happy to introduce a new book dedicated to famous Russian railway - “The Trans-Siberian Railway Encyclopedia” by Robert A. Walker, Esq.
As the title indicates, this book is a complete, fully comprehensive, detailed explanation of the Trans-Siberian Railway and all four of its routes in the English language. Although there are some editions about various sections of the rail line in both Russian and Chinese, there has been no comparable work that covers all four lines available in English until now.
As most first time Trans-Sib travelers tend to take the rail line from Europe to Asia (west to east), rather than the other way around, the book is written in that fashion. Obviously, it can be used from east to west, but the reader will have to count the kilometers down, in reverse order. The book starts at Kilometer 0 at Moscow’s Yaroslavskiy Rail Station and runs east to Vladivostok, Mongolia, Beijing, Sakhalin Island, and Hokkaido, Japan.
There are six chapters. Chapter One is an overall introduction to the railroad, the four routes of the railroad, and traveling by train in Russia, Mongolia, and China in general. It discusses the types of sleeping accommodations available, the dining cars, and the toilets/washrooms. The chapter also introduces the other means of surface transport in Russia; that is, the metro, local trains, busses and trams, and river transport on hydrofoils.
Chapter Two is a brief introduction to the nation of Russia and an overview of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Although that latter city is not on any of the Trans-Siberian Lines, it is assumed that many visitors might wish to see this extraordinarily beautiful city while on their journey. If beginning at the beginning, all travelers must pass through Moscow and thus can’t miss this great city. The section on Moscow also includes a detailed view of more than a dozen of the most famous stations of the Moscow Metro.
At Chapter Three, the book begins to fulfill its main purpose – riding the Trans-Siberian Rails across the continent. This chapter covers the main line of Trans-Siberian Railway line from Moscow to Vladivostok. As in all the subsequent chapters, the coverage is kilometer by kilometer. Not every single kilometer of course, but every kilometer of interest. This amounts to thousands of entries as on average; there is something of interest every few kilometers on the Trans-Siberian Rail Lines: a city, a village, a river, a mountain chain, a scenic view, a point of history. It is sometimes difficult to fathom, but for the curious, open-minded, and imaginative, there is in fact a world of beauty, culture, and opportunity outside the window of one’s rail compartment. It can be extraordinarily relaxing to watch this world roll by – kilometer after kilometer. Many travelers report that their voyage on the Trans-Siberian has been one of the most exciting, yet calming, vacations they have ever experienced.
At the same time, it can be both interesting and enlightening to stop off from time to time and discover these worlds outside of the train. The purpose of any good guidebook is to alert the reader of various possibilities. No one has more than one lifetime – and no one can see everything, but given the options, one can make choices. The purpose of the book is to introduce the possibilities.
Chapter Four covers the Trans-Mongolian Line of the Trans-Siberian. The journey begins in Moscow on the Trans-Siberian, but halfway around the world after Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, the line turns south and travels through both Mongolia and China to Beijing. For many travelers, this is the most interesting route for three vastly different countries and cultures are explored.
Chapter Five, which discusses the Trans-Manchurian Line, is somewhat similar to Chapter Four in that the rail journey takes one from Moscow to Beijing. But in this case, the line takes a different route. After Russia and Siberia, the route of the Trans-Manchurian crosses Inner Mongolia and northeastern China, i.e., Manchuria, a fascinating region with its own long history.
Finally, Chapter Six offers a comprehensive view of the least known of the Trans-Siberian’s routes, the BAM – or the “Baikal-Amur Magistral,” a northern line ending well above Vladivostok. This journey extends to Russia’s remote Sakhalin Island and from there travelers may continue south to Hokkaido, Japan. Again, the coverage is complete; every kilometer of interest from the BAM’s beginning to Sapporo is mentioned.
Learn more on the official book’s website