Remarkable historic railway tunnels on Lake Baikal

Oksana Vasilieva | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Lake Baikal is not only one of the most beautiful natural parks in the entire world, but it also allows you to enjoy various kinds of experiences while traveling there. It does not matter what the weather is during the time of your trip to Lake Baikal. Every tourist will find attractions to their liking. Nature trails, indigenous animals, Baikal hides many gems. If you like the idea of train romance, Lake Baikal can give you that as well! How about traveling by a special train that goes around the lake and enters many tunnels. Perhaps it sounds intriguing; even more so when I tell you that there are more than 30 excellent and different tunnels. The easiest way to see the remarkable historic railway tunnels on Lake Baikal is to take the Circum Baikal train.

Circum-Baikal railway, a perfect way to see all the tunnels

What you have to do to see the tunnels is to take a special train that leaves from Port Baikal (in Listvyanka) and travels for the whole day around the lake.


To give you the perfect idea of this kind of a journey, imagine the European Train Express.

Circum-Baikal railway is also a historical monument that shows how the TRANS-Siberian railway was constructed. The train makes some stops in the most picturesque places on the shores of Baikal. You will enjoy nature and tunnels that are unique for this region.

Distinctive features of Baikal tunnels

There are 41 tunnels of the whole railway that is covered by the Circum-Baikal train. It is a lot for such a short route. There is the longest tunnel, it is called Polovinniy (its number is 11 on the railway). Its length is 778.75 meters. The peculiarities of this part of the route were such that it was very difficult to build it. The work started in 1900. As a result, the geologists of Siberia consider this tunnel as the safest part of the route (some even claim that it is safer than any Alpine railways).


The most expensive tunnel is Shumikhinskiy (number 12). If one compares the cost of the construction of this tunnel with the Swiss Simplon Tunnel, Siberian one was more expensive! Why is that? Simply because this tunnel is built into a gently sloping headland. At first, the engineers thought it would be impossible to build any tunnel here, but later proved to be wrong!

The most beautiful tunnel is called 9-bis, its length is 469 meters. It has two exits, the central one and the side one that was built in 1912. If you take the side exit you will see the wonderful Birch Bay that is hidden there. The tunnel itself is beautifully decorated by facing stones with protruding columns. The arch of the tunnel is decorated too. This tunnel also has the railroad blazon as well as wonderfully cut pylon’s relief.

These were just three most spectacular tunnels you will see if you take the Circum Baikal train. However, there are 41 remarkable and historic tunnels on Lake Baikal that you will discover while exploring the area on this train! To go on the journey of Circum Baikal train you will have to start your trip at Lisvyanka’s Port Baikal.

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