Slow train across Siberia offers glimpse of Russia’s rail ambitions

Enlarge / Holidaymakers delight in a walk on Lake Baikal in March 2021. (credit: Natalia Fedosenko/TASS/Getty Photos)

On the shore of Lake Baikal, deep in eastern Siberia, a single of the most bold feats of present day Russian rail engineering is nearing completion.

The Baikalsky tunnel, carved via 7km of mountain rock, has taken seven years to establish, with building groups labouring in temperatures as small as minus 60C.

Made to endure the weekly earthquakes that strike this remote corner of Russia, it is the flagship job of the redevelopment of just one of the country’s most iconic rail lines that aims to propel the Soviet-era practice network into the 21st century.

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