Transsiberian, Transmongolian ... the train(s)

To finish my reporting on the recent Transsiberian / Transmongolian trip, here are some pictures from the train trip as such.

I have no pictures from the first night between Saint Petersburg and Moscow, but officially the Transsiberian train leaves from Moscow.

I travelled with our blogger friend Alain, who you will recognize on a few photos.

We travelled thus with different trains, as we spent a few days, not only in Moscow, but also in Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk and the Baikal Lake, at and around Ulan Bator, around Sainhand…

The trains were generally quite full, but the number of tourists was quite limited; it was the end of the tourist season. Each wagon is followed by two people, one sleeping and one working, who take care of the coal heating, to keep water hot in the samovar, to pass a vacuum cleaner, to clean up the toilets… Everything is clean and well kept.

The train never goes very fast and stops quite often at stations for maybe 15, sometimes 30 minutes, which means that you can buy stuff to eat and drink on the quay or in the station buildings… and get some fresh air. Of course there was also always a restaurant wagon.

There are also stops at the borders; the longest was five hours when leaving Russia.

Totally we made six nights onboard the train(s). The longest part was the Siberian one between Ekaterinburg and Irkutsk - three nights in a row, passing Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk...

The landscape doesn’t change too much between Moscow and the Mongolian border; trees, lakes, rivers… and rather flat except some hills when you pass over the Ural and reach Asia and Siberia.

The Mongolian landscape is of course different. Between Ulan Bator and Sainshand (Gobi Desert), we travelled by a local train.

What also is striking is when you leave Mongolia, desert like, hardly any roads… and arrive in China and the Inner Mongolia; suddenly there are huge buildings, large streets, lights… and the Mongolian lifestyle has disappeared. On the way through China, you can observe a number of rapidly growing big cities, for a while you can observe the Great Wall and the last hours before arriving in Beijing, the views are quite spectacular with dams, rivers, lakes, high mountains … and a lot of tunnels and bridges.


Simony said...

Quite different from Paris, that's for sure!
Did they have a place for showers in the trains?
Such a long trip! I bet you were missing home already?
Have a great week Peter!

Shionge said...

Not able to see the shots right now..(at work heheh)...will do it when I get back home :D

What an epic journey Peter :D

Owen said...

Looking at many of these photos, I rather suspect that personally, I would become rather quickly frustrated by being contained on a train for such a long time, because seeing your photos taken out the window, I have no doubt that I would see a thousand things a day that I'd want to go look at more closely, and take pictures of from close up, with time to look around... yes, it would be hard for me to see but not be able to go look at taking as much time as I wished... Guess I'll just have to go that way in a car, or on a bicycle. Walking might be a little long, there seem to be a lot of wide open spaces, great, incredible distances, no doubt hard to comprehend without having seen them. Thanks for this amazing picture show Peter... so, did they feed you a lot of borscht on the train ?

Thirtytwo degrees said...

I just saw these fantastic photos on my Android so I will see them again on computer. Vivid colors which I enjoyed a lot. The interior of the train is quite luxurious seeming. Hope it was comfortable.

Maria O. Russell said...

I assume the photos at 5:15 and 6:45 are of Lake Baikal?

Such landscapes, such photos!

I see the Russians are stil fond of pastel colors(ice cream colors as they say in the United States)for their buildings "fachada"

A rather enduring taste,dating from the building of that marvel of Italianate architecture:Saint Petersburg.

What a trip, Peter!

Thank you so much.

Maria O. Russell said...

The word samovar takes me back to Tolstoy´s novels.

It also reminds me of a photo I once saw in a book of Tsar Alexander III´s own massive silver samovar with his initials.

One of many reminders of that most glittering court that is no more...

Monsieur Cergie said...

Commentaires recueillis et restitués plus ou moins en vrac et non exhaustivement par Cergie :

Il est long ce train, la tête est là et lui il est là
En bleu les couchettes ?
Le restaurant classe assez occidental
Le cyrillique pas facile à comprendre
Le bar assez kitch
En rose, oui les couchettes
Un G10
Ah les couleurs !
La chaufferette
Le charbon pour les chaufferettes
Un marais
La terre est très noire
Les toits en tôle sans doute calorifugés
C’est plus traction électrique
Que fait là ce camion américain ?
Ecartement des voies plus large que chez nous
Double traction car deux locomotives
Un chauffe eau sur le toit typiquement chinois

And so on...

nathalie said...

Aha merci Monsieur Cergie pour ces commentaires où l'on retrouve bien l'acuité, la finesse d'observation et la perspicacité de notre miss Cergie !

la marseillaise said...

Quoi Peter, tu allais régulièrement déjeuner dans un cabanon aux Goudes ? Tu as bien de la chance ! Je vois que tu as eu une vie professionnelle bien stressante !

nathalie, avignon said...

Comme Owen, à voir tes photos je pense que j'aurais été un peu frustrée de ne pas pouvoir m'arrêter quand les paysages m'attiraient. J'ai adoré les petites maisons colorées, la séance de gym des petits écoliers, les vendeurs sur le quai, les jolies hôtesses aussi :-)

et puis tout ce qu'on voit rarement de ce train : les vues pratiques du couloir, des sièges, des compartiments...
J'aurais aimé encore plus de vues de la vie à bord : le samovar, le wagon restaurant, les serveurs, peut-être la convivialité... fait-on des rencontres dans ce genre de train ?

Ruth said...

I love to see the cities, stations and fields from the train's point of view. There is something intimate about it, like coming in the back door of a friend's house. This is such a "civilized" way to travel, and I am delighted in your photo shows. Again, I want to catch up on all of them, and I will, slowly.

Trotter said...

Hi Peter! Sorry for the absence, but these last two months have been rather nasty! My mother (90) was in hospital for more than three weeks and the post-surgery was hard! My father (94) seemed to be an orphan while my mother was out and felt into some kind of depression... The economy is a disaster and the media only bring bad news... The € Euro is rescued every day, only to be known that it needs to be rescued again and again next morning... What else? Well, maybe «Midnight in Paris»... The problem is that the Gil there is a different one... ;)

One of my dream trips!! One day!!

Blogtrotter Two wanders currently around pre-historical Corsica, where it seems all this will be leading to... ;) Enjoy and have a wonderful week ahead!

Paris Paul said...

As a big fan of train travel, I especially appreciated this post! Thanks,Peter,forgiving us such a complete look at what it's like to travel by train in that part of the world. Heroic effort!

Anonymous said...

Train travel is the best. The sounds the wheels make puts me to sleep right away. Nice photos, Peter.

Unknown said...

Peter, I have been paying much attention to your Transsiberian posts and I can only say that I envy you! :-) What a journey!

Starman said...

In some of those shots before Beijing, everything looks so desolate and foreboding.

Parisbreakfasts said...

what did you eat on the quay?
Did you take any pictures of your food? or only landscapes...

Thirtytwo degrees said...

Second time round I noticed that Beijing looks a lot like Tempe, AZ with some of its buildings...interesting to see the changes that are happening around the world...thanks for sharing your trains with us...I wondered about the dogs that were hanging around the tracks...pourquoi?

Virginia said...

I'm with Owen. Being confined and not being able to stop the train and get off for photos would have made me crazy! The autumn color of the countryside was spectacular! Great show Peter.

Oh and nice to see Alain, who I think comments on my blog from time to time.

Thérèse said...

Le nombre et la hauteur des immeubles font un peu froid dans le dos.
Le mot "Transsiberien" restera a demystifier personellement parlant.
Je presume que l'on fait des rencontres dans ce train qui ajoutent des souvenirs au voyage.
Amusant comme chaque pays a ses couleurs propres: je pense plus particulierement aux couleurs des maisons et aux couleurs dans les trains.
Merci de nous avoir fait partager un si beau voyage.