The Trans-Siberian railway is well known as the world’s longest railway line spreading over 5,772 miles (9,289 km). It connects Russia’s Far East, Moscow and the Sea of Japan, while its branches extend to North Korea, China and Mongolia.
As far as single continuous railway services around the world are concerned, it occupies the third position after the Moscow-Pyongyang and the Kiev-Vladivostok Railways. The Trans-Siberian railway is spread across seven time zones and it takes as many as eight days to traverse the stretch. The railway is frequently associated with Russia’s main transcontinental line which connects hundreds of small and big cities of the European and Asian parts of Russia.
The Far East portion of the Trans-Siberian railway was built in 1860 as per the directions of Tsar Nicholas II so as to enable him and his staff to travel in comfort across the Siberian wilderness. Though the train starts from Moscow, the Trans-Siberian section begins from Yaroslavsky Vokzal and passes through a number of places before reaching Vladivostok.
Furthermore, the Chinese Eastern Railway, which forms the Trans-Siberian railway’s Russo-Chinese section, was built by a Russian administration that was based in Harbin. This section, which connects Russia with China, offers travelers shorter and faster route to Vladivostok.
It is believed that the major reason as to why Russia lost the war with Japan in 1904-1905 is the Trans-Siberian railway. The reason was that back than it was just a single-track train and, therefore, could travel only in one direction. This contributed to delays in reaching across essential supplies, ammunition and troops required for fighting and winning the war. However, the Trans-Siberian railway played a key role during World War II when it served as a key link between Germany and Japan.
Some of the other positive contributions of the railway include the boost it provided to improving Siberian agriculture and movement of goods within central Russia and exports to Europe. It also became the main travel means for migrant peasants from western Russia and Ukraine. It is estimated that as many as four million peasants came to Siberia during the period 1906 to 1914.
Currently, the Trans-Siberian railway plays a key role for providing transportation in Russia. Approximately, the it accounts for 30 percent of Russia’s exports and mostly is used by domestic passengers. Additionally, it is also a major tourist attraction. A ride across Siberia in the Trans-Siberian railway is an unforgettable experience for any travelers with adventurous soul. Passengers enjoy gorgeous scenery and the unique beauty of Russia, Mongolia and China.