For all lovers of trains a ride on the Transsib has to be considered an absolute must. Robust technology for any weather conditions, broad gauge, middle-buffer coupling, and much more is typical for this extraordinary train. Details on the material of the locomotives and cars can be found in a more comprehensive way on other relevant web sites. Here, we just want to give you a short teaser: the E-locomotives of the Transsib can be as fast as 100 km/h, and as the case may be they are either old or very old. The abbreviation BL in front of the locomotive's number is the Cyrillic abbreviation for Vladimir Lenin.
The endless freight trains are most impressive when they're running up the slopes from Sludyanka to Irkutsk while passing steep turns and tunnels.

The material for the passenger cars of these long-distance trains came completely from the DWA Factory, Ammendorf. Cars produced in 1995 run on the route Moscow - Beijing via Ulan Bator, for example.
A passenger train such as the Vostok has about 18 cars, some of them for the personnel, a mail car, and the sleeping cars for 36 people. Normally, they run at 80 - 100 km/h in the open distance. In Mongolia, it has to be much less due to the topography and the diesel engine. However, the ride through Mongolia is most interesting since you're allowed to remain in the hall when the rail change is taking place or you might even be lifted in the air with the whole car if you missed the chance to get off. Furthermore, the sound of the green Taiga Drums, which sometimes go uphill in 3-way traction or double locomotives, is most impressive.

During longer stops, the locomotives are usually switched, water will be re-filled in the cars, and coals will be bunkered in winter. The operation systems at the stations and the maintenance of the trains might remind you of old days of the German Reichsbahn (State Railway) but in contrast to today's Germany, you can feel an immense pride in "their" enterprise among employees of the Russian railway, the RSD, and you can also see it in their shiny uniforms. This railway is taking its appeal from the contrasting landscapes, the difficulties for man and technology, and its knowledge about its being Russia's supply vein for raw materials and goods.


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30 Jan 2006

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