The Circum Baikal Railway received the name of “Golden Buckle of Russia’s steel belt”. Buckle – because it joined together the Trans-Siberian Railroad disconnected by Lake Baikal, and Golden – because the western section of the Circum Baikal Railway had no parallel in familiar systems in Russia as regards the complexity of engineering and technical work. The railroad track along the Baikal’s shore was completed in 2 years and 3 months. Passenger traffi c began on 15 September 1905. In the past it was the most scenic section of Trans-Siberian Railroad. At port Baikal, the Sacred Sea would unexpectedly display all its beauty!
After the construction of Irkutsk Hydro Power Station and the formation of the Irkutsk reservoir, the part of the railroad running along the left bank of the Angara River between Irkutsk and port Baikal came to be under water, so that the main rail track from Irkutsk eastwards was laid across mountain relief away from the Angara. Furthermore, the railroad section from Kultuk to port Baikal 84 km long became a cal-de-sac, and now it is called Circum Baikal Loop.
At present the Circum Baikal Railway constitutes an integrated historical, architectural and engineering-landscape monument of federal signifi cance within Pribaikalsky National Park. Thanks to brilliant feat of labor and engineering accomplished by the builders of Circum Baikal Railroad, its engineering structures have fi t in quite well with Baikal’s harsh and vulnerable landscape.
Today the Circum Baikal Railway is one of the most delightful attractions of the Baikal area. Train Matanya is the soul of the Circum Baikal Railway.