From Beijing to Russia, the Slow Pleasure of Traveling on the Siberian Railway
    2011-08-29 16:00:12      Web Editor: Duan Xuelian
The international train still enjoys a steady flow of passengers who ride the rails for the varied and magnificent view of the places they will pass.

Passengers say goodbye to family and friends on the platform of international train K19.

After a 15-day train journey, a group of travelers taking one of the first trains on the newly opened international railway line connecting Kazan station in Moscow, Russia, and the Chinese capital arrive Monday at Beijing Railway Station.

The international railway route is operated by a Russian railway travel company with major stops in Ekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, Ulan Bator in Mongolia and Erlianhaote in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region before finally reaching Beijing.

The rail trip is part of a tour company promotion to revive the golden days of train travel, especially along the Siberian Railway that crosses Asia and Europe.

At the other end of the new rail route, Beijing has two trains transporting passengers to Russia along the Siberian Railway. The K19 and K3 were the two trains in service as early as in the 1950s. The round-trip journey covers up to 15,652 kilometers and takes about 300 hours.

Train K19 departs every Saturday night from Beijing Railway Station. The stops along the way appear in Chinese and Russian on the red-iron body of the train. Although it would be quicker and easier for people to travel by plane, the international train still enjoys a steady flow of passengers who ride the rails for the varied and magnificent view of the places they will pass.

Among the numerous landscapes the train traverses, Lake Baikal and Russian cities such as Ulan-Ude are the most anticipated by passengers. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world. Because of its far-flung location as well as extremely cold weather, its water is so pristine that you can see dozens of meters deep into the lake. The train stops at the lake for four hours. Vendors there sell smoked omul fish from the lake, which are said to be quite delicious. Ulan-Ude is a city that combines Russian and Mongolian culture. Tourists can see the mixture in the city's architecture.

But the international train journey does have its drawbacks. One of them, according to Xing Haitao, a director from China Railway Travel Service, is that passengers must pass through dual custom procedures whenever they cross a border checkpoint.

Besides travelers, a large number of passengers on the international trains are businessmen who travel between Russia, Mongolia and China.

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