I‘m riding the rails today. The Trans-Siberian rails. I’m en route to Tomsk, my next stop in Russia (still in Siberia), one time zone & approximately 1,700 kilometres west of Irkutsk on this, my second Trans-Siberian odyssey. I’ve been, and will continue to be, on a continuous crusade to adequately photograph my on-going trip west. It has been a somewhat frustrating experience thus far & sometimes I wish I didn’t have a camera with me at all (but only for a brief second or two). The usual annoyances (closed or dirty windows) has meant no (good) photography has been possible from the train as it passed through my the wintry Siberian landscape. I’ll keep trying but for now I’ve been limited to capturing pictures from train station platforms or from within the confines of the train carriage itself, a surprisingly photogenic environment.
Inside a Russian third class, or platzkart, carriage en route from Irkutsk to Tomsk. All of the overnight train trips I’ve taken since leaving Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, some 12 days ago now have been the equivalent of 2nd class, kupe class in Russian, a carriage of closed compartments with only 4 private berths per compartment. Platzkart is a little less comfortable, a little less private. It’s an open-plan dormitory car with 54 bunks per coach arranged in bays of 4 on one side (left of the picture) and bays of 2 along the coach wall on the other side of the aisle (right). Perfect for the budget-conscious traveller – the third class fare for the 28-hour trip west to Tomsk was 1,400 rubles (€25). On the train from Irkutsk to Tomsk, Russia. November 10th 2012
It is almost axiomatic that the worst trains take you through magical places.
– Paul Theroux
A picture taken on the platform of Krasnoyarsk train station where we stopped for 30 minutes some 18 hours in to the 28-hour trip west to Tomsk. Stops in the trip & the opportunity they give to get off the train are good for breaking the tedium of the long journeys. You have just got to make sure you’re on the train when it pulls off – the Russians won’t wait for anyone. Krasnoyarsk (), Siberian Russia. November 10th 2012.