A trip to the old Transsiberian Railway between Sljudjanka and Port Baikal to Polovinnaya is the best and most times the only choice for arrival.
Circumbaikal railway is the old part of the Transsiberian railroad. It starts in Kultuk village / Station Kultuk (157 km) and ends in Port Baikal (73 km). Kultuk village is situated 8 km before Sludyanka and 98 km away from Irkutsk by road. The main railway building however is in Sludyanka.
Within the section of 84 km from Kultuk to Port Baikal there are 424 engineering constructions and 39 tunnels, the total length of which is 8994 metres. The biggest tunnels are Katorzhny (538 m), Khabartuy (548 m), Poloviny (807 m). There are about 200 bridges and 14 km of walls that supports the railway. All these constructions were build more than 100 years ago!
The railroad was named "the Golden Buckle of the Great Siberian Trail". The "Buckle" - as it connected the Trans Siberian railway divided by Baikal lake; the "Golden" - because the total value of building operations exceeded the cost of all railroads in Russia at those time. At the end of 70's the railway was recognized as the historic and architectural monument and now it is under government protection.
Four days a week runs the local train Matanya, which also provides the settlements with the goods of daily demand. On weekends and Wednesday / Thursday in summer, a tourist train departs with photo stops at selected points.
Comfortable: tourist trains
Cheap and unique: train Matanya
Fresh air in the train: photo shooting from the open door while running
Matanya wagon train
Matanya train station stop
Matanya modern train