Trans-Siberian Railway or the "Great Siberian Way" (historical name) is a railway across the Eurasia continent, connecting the European part of Russia, its largest industrial areas and the country's capital with its median (Siberia) and eastern (Far East) regions. The railway's length is 9,288.2 km (about 5,773 miles), which makes it the longest railway in the world. It connects the central part (Moscow), cities of the Urals, Siberia and Pacific coast (Vladivostok), and if you put it more broadly - the western and the eastern ports.
The largest cities along the Trans-Siberian: Moscow (capital of Russia) — Perm — Ekaterinburg — Tyumen — Omsk — Novosibirsk (Capital of Siberia) — Krasnoyarsk — Tayshet — Irkutsk — Ulan-Ude — Chita — Khabarovsk — Vladivostok
The Trans-Siberian railway is really huge in size, so its tracks run through many different and exciting areas. Among the parts most difficult for construction there are truly incredible ones. The most special part is the Angasolskaya Loop, that is located on a steep downhill running towards Baikal Lake, coming from the western side of it. This loop, 7 km long, is the steepest slope of the Trans-Siberian. There is another loop, curve-shaped and 2 km long, that is called Arteushinskaya. Both loops gradually lengthen into the tunnels. The railway's top point above sea level is the Yablonovy Pass, in Transbaikal. Its height is 1040 meters. Slightly lower is Kizha station, 900 meters, and Andrianovsky Pass on the west of Baikal Lake, with 800 meters above the sea. The lowest point is between Amursky Zaliv and Ugolnaya stations - only 4 meters above sea level.
The longest plateau along the railroad, with no mountains or hills whatsoever, is reported to be between the Ob and Irtysh rivers. The railway is almost straight here through the plateau’s entire length of almost 600 km, except some smooth bends of several degrees.
The Trans-Siberian is a unique object in itself, due to its length and to the beautiful and scenic areas where it is built. The history of this railway construction is probably the most incredible; millions of people have traveled this route and hundreds of thousands of people have been and still are working to make the traveling comfortable and easy for the passengers.
A special place among the landmarks of the Trans-Siberian Railway is rightfully occupied by the engineering structures. Along their way, trains go over hundreds of bridges and through dozens of tunnels! The history of their construction is full of drama and heroic deeds of a man for the good of the state. The brightest minds of the beginning and middle of the XX century took part in designing these objects.
The Trans-Siberian crosses 16 large rivers along its way: Volga, Vyatka, Kama, Tobol, Irtysh, Ob, Tom, Chulym, Yenisey, Oka, Selenga, Zeya, Bureya, Amur, Khor, Ussuri. Of those 16, the widest is Amur, since the railway crosses it in its middle reaches. Such large rivers as Ob and Yenisey are crossed by the railway closer to their upper reaches, so their width at the intersection with Transsib is about 1 km. The most dangerous river along the route is Khor in the south of Khabarovsk Region. During the high water season, it may raise up to 9 meters.
The years from 1913 to 1916 are the time of construction of the longest bridge of the Trans-Siberian. It was built over the Amur river, and its length is 2 568 meters. In 1999 it was decided to dismantle the bridge, and a road-and-rail bridge was built instead, 2 612 meters long.
The Trans-Siberian cuts through the several giant mountains, so it is hard to imagine this railway without tunnels. It includes the longest tunnel, under the Amur River and parallel to the Amur Bridge, that is 7 km long. It was built in 1937-1942 for strategic reasons. However, the main track of the railway is not going through this tunnel, so the title of the longest is given to the Tarmanchukansky tunnel, 2 km long and over 100 years old. Totally the Trans-Siberian railway includes 15 active tunnels.
One of the most interesting parts of the route is the Circum-Baikal (Krugobaikalskaya) Railway. This stretch of the Trans-Siberian was designed and constructed in late XIX – early XX centuries and currently is an architectural and landscape reserve. It accumulates a huge number of picturesque and one-of-a-kind engineering constructions in the short range along the Baikal shore. The eighty-four kilometers railway comprises of 38 tunnels, 16 galleries, as well as bridges and viaducts, amazing in their beauty and engineering implementation. This railway can rightfully be called a major man-made masterpiece on the shores of the beautiful Lake Baikal. It attracts the researchers, travelers, historians, and general holidaymakers with its man-made beauty, which is inscribed into the pristine landscape so thoughtfully and artfully. Slyudyanka train station, made entirely of local marble, is kind of an original monument to the Circum-Baikal Railway. The train station building is a home to the Circum-Baikal Railway Museum, where some fascinating details on this unique object can be found.
This huge railway goes through more than 90 cities, towns and halts. The railway stations in these settlements became a part of the Trans-Siberian and one of its attractions. A trip along the entire way takes more than 6 days.
The largest railway station of the Trans-Siberian can be found in Novosibirsk, it stands on the 3336th-kilometer mark of the route. The Novosibirsk-Glavniy station is Stalinist Empire style building, erected in 1940, just before the World War II. It is designed as a gigantic locomotive with higher central pediment, so its façade facing the railway is considerably higher than the opposite, which faces the station square. At the time of the building completion, it was the largest railway station in the pre-war USSR. Now it is one of the largest stations.
Another magnificent object and a unique monument is the train station in Slyudyanka, close to Baikal lake on the Circum-Baikal (Krugobaikalskaya) Railway. It was built during the reign of Nicholas II, in the early years of the XX century. Apart from its magnificent architecture, Slyudyanka station is unique in that it is entirely built of Baikal marble.