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Handbook Rambler's Top100 Service In handbook:
Sections on this page - 4
Subordinate pages - 7
Maps and schemes - 10
Links - 9

Last update March 5, 2006

Russian version

Reference information

On this page:
General information
Kilometrage of the railway
Historical facts
The unique railway
On other pages:
Weather and climate
Tunnel list
Bridge list
Halts and stations
How to reach-up
Transsib handbook
Map and schemes:
Small scheme
Synoptic map
Kultuk - Sharyzhalgay
Sharyzhlgay - Maritui
Maritui - Ulanovo
Ulanovo - Baikal
Variants of the railway
Irkutsk - Baikal (1)
Irkutsk - Baikal (2)
Berezovaya bridge
Berezovaya creek
C-B railway in WWW
Circum-Baikal railway
Questions and answers
Construction of "Baikal"
Unperformed project
Circumbaikal Railway (Eng)
From Listvyanka to C-B railway
Tourist agency "Planeta"
Circum-Baikal Express
Museum icebreaking "Angara"
Sections anf pages of Transsib Handbook:
Main information
Railway lines
Maps and schemes
Trains, tariffs, costs
Transsib electrification
Transsib records
Transsib weather
Detailed schemes of Transsib
The main way
South Uralian way
Gorky way
Zone time
Transsib cost
Circum-Baikal handbook
Rambler's Top 100 Service
Circum-Baikal railway: trips, info, historyGeneral information

Modern itinerary of Circum-Baikal railway was formed at the end of 50-th years, after the building of Irkutsk hydro-power station in 1956 and flooding of an area, which is located along Angara river from Irkutsk to Baikal. Some time earlier in 1947-49 a shorter passing road Irkutsk - Bolyshoy Lug - Slyudyanka was built and after it's building the main way of Transsib was moved there. 89th km branch-line Slyudyanka-2 - Kultuk - Maritui - Baikal became a dead-end road, and this very road is Circum-Baikal railway now. Also the 171-km part from Mysovaya to Slyudyanka-2 was built as a part of Circum-Baikal railway now is the main way of Transsib.
Nowadays there are 4 stations (Kultuk, Maritui, Ulanovo and Baikal) and 1 passing-track (137th km). It is a 1-track road, the 2nd track (more close to rocks) has been dismantled.
Local time - Irkutsk, +5 hours from Moscow, +8 hours from Greenwich.
The number of populated areas along the railway is 12 (Kultuk, 154th km, Angasol'skaya, Sharyzhalgay, 134th km, Baklan', Maritui, Polovinnaya, Ponomaryovka, Ivanovka, Shumikha, Baikal); also there are 5 tourist hostels (134th km "Tayozhnaya", 102nd km "Shumikha", 98th km - "Khvoynaya", 80th km "Retro" and "Serebryanny Klyuch".
Most significant water obstacles - Kultuchnaya, Angasolka, Bolshaya Krutaya Guba, Shabartui, Maritui, Bolshaya Polovinnaya, Bolshaya Ponomaryovka, Ivanovka, Bolshaya Shumikha and Bolshoy Baranchik.
The biggest river - Bol'shaya Polovinnaya.
The biggest populated area (not on the way of Transsib) - Baikal. The biggest populated area in the middle of the railway - Maritui.
There are 38 tunnels (total length is 9063 m), 5 stone galleries (total length is 295 m) and 3 ferro-concrete galleries with holes along the active track of Circum-Baikal railway.
The longest tunnel is through Polovinny Cape (777.5 m).

Circum-Baikal railway kilometrage

The counting of kilometers on the historical segment of Circum-Baikal railway is conducted from Irkutsk-Sortirovochny (old name - station Innokent'evskaya), which till 1934 was the administrative boundary Tomsk (earlier - Middle-Siberian, Siberian, Tomsk, Siberian district of P.S.) and Transbaikalian lines. The station Baikal thus is located on 72 km from this point of the counting out.
Many are introduced into fallacy by the fact, that the branch Irkutsk - Baikal have begun to build from modern station Irkutsk-Passazhirsky, and therefore, they calculate the kilometrage from it. Incorrect information presented in many books, that ostensibly the kilometrage of Circum-Baikal railway went from Irkutsk-Passazhirsky are based on design data, instead of actual data. The true data on a profile and distancescan be seen, for example, in source 5.
After flooding of Irkutsk - Baikal segment it was kept historical kilometrage. Thus, the historical section is located from 72 kms (st. Baikal) up to 161 kms (st. Slyudanka-2).

Historical facts

The Circum-Baikal railway never existed administratively. It was sheer a part of the Transbaikal line. Officially there was only Administration of the Circum-Baikal railway construction.
For the first time a train to a coast of lake Baikal came on October 21 (November 2), 1898 after laying of railway from Irkutsk up to station Baikal (the length was 61 versts) on a coast of Angara; this railway has become western part of Circum-Baikal railway.
The itinerary of the Circum-Baikal railway began on station Baikal and ran along shores of lake through Kultuk - Slyudyanka - Tankhoy being finished on station Mysovaya - which from on east a Transbaikal railway constructed little bit earlier ran. The final solution about an itinerary of Circum-Baikal railway was accepted on June 9 (22), 1901 by committee on construction of the Siberian railway - as in the projects there were 2 main versions of its laying.
The length of Circum-Baikal railway in its final condition from Baikal up to Mysovaya made 244 versts (260 km).
Terms of construction: the construction of east part of a Circum-Baikal railway from Mysovaya up to Tankhoy was begun at the end of 1899; then a way from Tankhoy up to Slyudyanka on a more sloping and flat southern coast of Baikal was built; in the spring of 1902 construction of the most difficult part of the railway - from Slyudyanka up to station Baikal began. Building operations on construcion of tunnels began on December 1 (14), 1902. The working traffic of trains on the whole itinerary of Circum-Baikal railway was opened on September 18 (October 1) 1904, and October 16 (29), 1905 it was accepted to regular operation and became a part of Transbaikalian railway in the administrative relation.
The ferry railway crossing-place through Baikal worked since April, 1900 before delivery of Circum-Baikal railway to a regular operation, and the irregular trips were made down to 1917 inclusively. On the crossing-place the icebreaking train ferry "Baikal" (was lauched on water in Listvyanka June 17 (29), 1899) and the a little smaller size icebreaking train ferry "Angara" (was lowered on water in July 25 (August 7) 1900) were used. On winter period a temporary track was layed on ice of Baikal - since 1901 to 1904 inclusively.
Over the length of the railway during the building of the first track there were built 39 tunnels (total length 3751,5 sazhens (8004 m)), and also about 500 shoots, bridges and viaducts.
To construction of the railway it was involved involved from 2700 (1900) to 15000 workers (1903).
Second track on Circum-Baikal railway began to be constructed in 1911 and were builded by April, 1914, for 3 months prior to the beginning the First World War.

The unique railway

There are no analogous to the Circum-Baikal railway in the world. This is an unique complex historical museum. The railway and the area adjoining it includes not only monuments of engineering-techincal art (tunnels and galleries, bridges and viaducts, breast walls), monuments of architecture, but also various monuments of nature - of geology, mineralogy, zoology, biology.
The number of engineering structures is the following:
tunnels - 41 (40 kept: 39 are on historical section of Circum-Baikal railway (now only 38 are being used) and one more is to the east of Slyudyanka), stone galleries - 16 (15 kept, now only 5 are being used), bridges and viaducts - 248, breast walls - 268, monuments of architecture - 172.
By the resolution of Irkutsk regional Soviet of the People's Deputies from December 21, 1982 the section of Circum-Baikal railway from station Baikal up to station Kultuk is announced an architectural - landscape reserve and is taken under state protection.
Some more infromation about it: Sights, Tunnel list, Bridge list.

Main data sources for this Handbook were:
1) The book "East-Siberian main line. The path of 100 years length", Irkutsk, 1998. (Rus)
2) The article by N. A. Alexandrov "The Circum-Baikal railway", journal "Rail transport", 5, 1991, anniversary issue by the Transsib centenary. (Rus)
3) The book "Circum-Baikal main line", Irkutsk. (Rus)
4) The fundamental book about Transsib - Harmon Tupper "To the Great Ocean", Boston, 1965. (Eng)
5) The album of the executive drawings on construction of the Transbaikal line, Baikal branch, the branch to the Chinese boundary and quayes of the ice-breaking train ferry on lake Baikal, 1895-1901 (Rus)
6) "Brief informations about development of domestic railways" (1838 - 1990), Moscow, 1996, CNTB MPS RF, comp. G. M. Afonina (Rus)
7) The book by A. Khobta "The road of one century length", Irkutsk, 2004
8) Personal observations and itinerary from Circum-Baikal railway of the project members.
* All dates are given in Old and New (in parentheseses) Style.

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