Come with us to the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway as we explore the political and social history of Russia’s greatest railway construction project of the 20th century. There is a lot to learn from the veterans who labored on the BAM and many fascinating stories about the life and times of people who live along the railway today.
We travel to:
BAM – Construction of the century
The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) was a project that captured the imagination of a Nation in the 1930’s. Do you remember those times and wonder what ever happened to the BAM?
The original purpose may seem less important today than it did back then however the BAM is much more than just a railway to the descendents of the young volunteers who built it.
Young Communists Volunteers from all over the Soviet Union set themselves against the Baikal-Amur wilderness with determination and heroic courage. It became the ‘Hero Project of the Century where towns were named after origin of the workers and wedding ceremonies took place right on the railway tracks. Steaming locomotives against the background of high mountains and picturesque bridge spans. But more often you think: What is it? Where? and Why?
Why would anybody try to conquer taiga and those lofty mountains, pick countless tunnels and lay sleepers through swamps and mountain passes. Why building new towns and settlements, gathering volunteers from all over the Soviet Union? What ideals drove those people? How did they live and what remains of those times?
Join us on this intriguing adventure to unlock the history of the BAM..
Our choice of traveling in March is not accidental. The road alongside BAM is tough in summer due to the absence of bridges across the rivers. In March the unique beauty of Siberian winter is moving towards spring. The hard frosts and bitter winds have passed but the ground and rivers are still frozen.
At night we will stay in hotels, if there are no hotels - which is a common thing for BAM – in tourist centers, schools and administrations. Everywhere we come we will be expected in advance, treated with kind smiles and shown around. It will be a fascinating to meet the people of the BAM face-to-face. These folk have a different world view than city people. Their lives are fashioned by the Taiga wilderness and by the lifeline of the BAM.. Today Russia would be different without the BAM and in the past the BAM could not have been achieved without Russia
Kemerovo is a city in Russia located in the south of Western Siberia, in the northern part of Kuznetsk coal basin.
Krasnoyarsk is a city in Russia, the largest cultural, economic, industrial, and educational center of Central and Eastern Siberia, the capital of Krasnoyarsk krai (the second largest region in Russia). It is the largest of the ancient cities of Siberia. Krasnoyarsk was founded by the Cossacks in 1628 as a military settlement in the place of the confluence of the Kacha and Yenisei rivers.
Tayshet is an important railway junction, as it's the starting point for the Baikal-Amur Mainline on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
If the weather and traffic allows, travelers visit an open-air museum “Angara village”
Drive to Ust-Kut through Bratsk’s enormous hydroelectric dam. Travelers see knolls and Siberian larch-tree taiga all around. Overnight at a hotel. Distance: 350-400 km.
Driving towards Baikal early in the morning. After the pass the mountains become significantly higher and the sites are more breathtaking. After lunch travelers come to Severobaikalsk Town and visit The Museum of Construction of BAM. Driving along snowy Baikal Lake and picturesque shorter tunnels parallel to the lake to Nizhneangarsk. Overnight at a hotel. Distance: 560 km.
In the morning travelers come through Cold Evenki settlement, where they visit a museum of local history, meet and get a chance to talk to the Evenkis – the natives of the Eastern Siberia and then move to the hot therapeutic springs of Khakusy, where the water temperature fluctuates between 40 and 52 degrees above zero.
BAM stretches along the impressive Verkhneangarsky Range with altitudes up to 2500 meters. In the evening travelers come to the New Uoyan Township. Today we will pass the15km-long North Muya tunnel – the longest tunnel in Russia – and to the Devil’s Bridge – a unique engineer construction and the “business card” of BAM. Next, through the mountain pass travelers drive to Taksimo Township, where they stop for the night at the hotel.
In the morning travelers go to the Museum and then drive to Kuanda Township to see a memorial, placed outside the railway station to commemorate rail-laying of BAM. Staying in Kuanda.
Going through the legendary Balbuhta junction and storming the vivid Kodar pass. Descending in the Chara cavity, contemplating of one the most photogenic, but continuous and forbidding chain of mountains of Siberia to the North – Kadar. Driving to Chara Township, spending the night at the Centre of Tourism. Distance: 160 km
Sallying out in the direction of the unique natural phenomenon – Chara sands. It is the real desert with dunes semi-covered by snow – only in Siberia and only on BAM can you see this amazing miracle. Driving to the camping site with hot springs in the evening. Resting, bathing, staying for the night. Russian sauna.
Radial trip to the Chineyskoye field of vanadium-containing titanium magnetite ores – one of the biggest in the world. Driving along the highest railway in Russia (around 1650 m). Its rail-track is piled by rocks and tied up in knots by recent earthquake. It is a real abandoned railway with fancy bridges and galleries in mountains and tunnels. Travelers are surrounded by picturesque high lands. Returning to Chara Township in the evening, staying for the night at the Centre of Tourism. Distance: 70 km
Storming the most high-altitude mountain pass of BAM – Udokan (1310 m). This is the highest point of the whole Russian Railways. Never-ending Siberian taiga and towering snow-clad peaks all around. Passing snowy Leprindo lakes to Hani Township Driving forward along BAM through Siberian taiga and mountains to the east. Stop at the bridge over the river Olyokma, where one of the rocks is covered by ancient drawings – petroglyphs. Stop for the night in Yuktali Distance: 307 km
Driving to the final destination of our expedition, unofficial capital of BAM – Tynda the next day. Staying overnight in the hotel. Distance: 349 km
Visiting Museum of BAM history. Train to Blagoveshchensk. It has eight large rooms each for its own story: aboriginal people, gulag, railway history, flora and fauna, minerals etc. Overnight in train.
Blagoveshchensk is a city in Russia, the capital of the Amur region, the fifth largest city in the Far East, located 7,985 kilometers east of Moscow. The city stands on the left bank of the Amur River, on the border with China. The population of Blagoveshchensk is about 224,000. In 1644, the first Russian settlers moved to the area and founded their settlement. Russian military outpost was founded later in 1856. The town received its name “Blagoveshchensk” after the parish church of Annunciation (Blagoveshcheniye in Russian). By the end of the 19th century, the town was a large river port and industrial center. Also, it was growing fast because of gold rush. Blagoveshchensk had favorable position, situated on the Chinese-Russian border (about hundreds of meters opposite the city of Heihe).
It is possible to stay longer in Blagoveshchensk or continue your trip to Vladivostok.
Tour starts in Bratsk, Irkutsk region. There is a daily flight Moskow to Bratsk S7 121
Tour finishes in Blagoveshchensk.
Blagoveshchensk to Moscow flight with one stop is on the 9-th of March.
Price includes :
- ESG service
- Accommodation according to the program
- 4 WD vehicles (Land Cruisers)
- All sightseeing entry fees
- Special winter equipment
- Special winter cloths
- Full board
- train ticket
- meeting at the airport
Price dosen't include:
- air tickets