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Steam engine excursions
November 10, 2010 18:50

Railway excursions belong to tour services, demonstrating Russian specific character in very impressive way. The most famous Russian railway tour is certainly a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. But it is not the only one. There are steam engine excursions, beginning at the Moscow railway terminals, which can sink you into atmosphere of the past for a few hours and at reasonable rates, if you don't have neither 8 days nor so much money to go Moscow - Vlagivostok. The choice of retro-train routes is rather wide. Excursions on the trains with retro-cars and steam locomotive traction can take place within Moscow, but they also can be long-distance.

-One Day

"Steam ride" One Day excursion on a retro train within Moscow Region are a possibility to take a real dive in the times of old, to take part in the life of railway of early 20th century, time of Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Silver Age poets and artists. You will feel smell of coal and heat of steam and hear the engine scream. The guide tells some fascinating facts about the railways and technical progress in Russia in the age of steam. The excursion is carried out on the train with second-class interregional cars and a real engine of early 20th century, a little refurbished.

You will visit open air engine museum with over 60 exhibits, from 19th century till nowadays. Moreover, after a half-hour journey the train will make a stop in an engine house of Podmoskovnaya, built in 1901 and functioning till now. Here you will see filling of engine tender tank with water, look at engine switching, functioning of retro shed. You will see also turntable and railway buildings of the beginning of 20th century, roundhouse and water tower.

All the excursion takes 2, 5 - 3 hours. It begins at 13.35 and finishes at 15.00 the Rizhsky Railway Terminal.

Excursion on Smaller Ring of Moscow Railway is also not a long trip. It takes about 3 hours. Smaller Ring of Moscow Railway was constructed in 1908 to make possible passage of cargo through Moscow by passing the city centre. They say that this 54-kilometers rail line is a unique engineering construction, having no analogs in the world. This trip is also carried out on the train with old-time loco and vintage cars. The sight opening from the windows are also unusual and exciting: early railway stations of 1900-s, impressive and refined ensemble of Novodevichiy Convent, newly-built business centre of Moscow City, Ostankino TV tower, All-Russia Exhibition Centre (former VDNh), Botanical Gardens and disneyland Kremlin in Izmailovo.

The train departs from Kievsky Railway Terminal at 09.41 and arrives to Rizhsky at 13.00.

Other cities

There are also One Day excursions outside Moscow, for example, to Tula. The excursion consists of a retro train trip and guided tour in Tula, where you visit Kremlin (16th century), weapons museum (Tula was famous with its gunmakers), samovar museum, where you will see tea urns from 17th century till modern ones (by the way, you can buy a samovar using our Souvenirs service). You will learn much about role of this tea machine in the Russian culture and take place in the Russian tea ceremony, drinking tea from samovar with famous Tula gingerbreads.

This trip begins and finishes at the Kurskiy Railway Terminal, celebrated in the poem in prose Moscow-Petushki" of Venedict Erofeyev. The train leaves at 07:26 and arrives back to Moscow at 22:30

If you are interested in in Russian literature, there is a one-day trip Moscow - Tula - Yasnaya Polyana - Moscow, with guided excursion to estate museum of Yasnaya Polyana, where Leo Tolstoy, maybe one of the most famous Russian writers lived. You will visit the house where he lived and worked with all the atmosphere, furniture and personals saved. There is something special, to come to Yasnaya Polyana by train Tolstoy's characters used to go by and not only to go, like Anna Karenina from the same-name novel.

In the city of Tula you will be offered loop tour around Tula with visits to the factory store with Tula gingerbreads and Weapons Museum. Its unique collection contains Russian cold and fire weapons from the Middle Ages till nowadays. The collection was first created by order of Russian Emperor Peter the Great in 1794. Production of Tula gunmakers is widely represented in the museum and that reminds of characters of another writer: the gunmaker Lefty of Nikolay Leskov, Russian writer and ethnographer, Tolstoy's contemporary.

The lunch will be provided in the Neskuchny Sad cafe. The train leaves at 07.26 from Kursky Railway Terminal. The train doesn't have a number, to the group gathers at 7.00 at the 1st (not ground) floor of the terminal. At 7.10 the group entrains. The train arrives to the station of Yasnaya Polyana at 11.11 and the excursion program begins. The train leaves Tula at 17. 45 and arrives back to Moscow (Kursky Railway Terminal at 21.47). The guests are kindly requested not to be late, because the train runs in accordance with train movements schedule and cannot wait for anybody. However, the train doesn't have a number, but name: Turistichesky.

-long distance trips

The most interesting long-distance tours are Golden Ring trips. They combine usual service of guided excursion with unusual way of transportation: some transfers are part of the program, because they are carried out by retro train with a retro engine. However, the steam engines do not follow in the train all the time as a loco: they can wear off too soon running the long distances, and that is not very good for environment.

Golden Ring by Retro train

This service is a unique opportunity to make a classical Golden Ring trip during one weekend. The tour continues two days and one night spent in the train. During one weekend the tourists are offered the brightest tourist gems of Golden Ring: Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma and Yaroslavl. Comfort and fairy atmosphere is maintained by retro train with steam engine.

Excursion begins on Saturday at Kursky Railway Terminal. The group gathers at 07. 15 and at 07.45 the train leaves. After the train arrives to railway station of Vladimir, the tourists are transported to Suzdal and sightseeing tour begins. It includies Suzdal Kremlin architecture, with its museums and ancient building of Rozhdestvensky catherdral. The tourists are also offered ensemble of Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius, monastery, fortress and prison for political dissidents. You will see Russian wall paintings in Transfiguration cathedral painted by famous artists of Late Middle ages Gury Nikitin and Sila Savin. In this place the tourists are offered to listen ringing bells concert and to see beautiful panorama of legendary Pokrovsky nunnery, wherethe Russian noble women of old times were exiled for life.

After a lunch the tourists visit Vladimir with its sights and masterpieces of 12th century architecture, famous with perfect forms and white stone reliefs covering their walls.

Then the tourists have lunch and go to the railway station to spend the night in the train and awake in Kostroma. The breakfast in in the sleeping compartments begins at 7.00 and at 8.00 the train arrives to Kostroma railway station, where the guides local are waiting. They carry out a loop tour around Kostroma and bus excursion to Ipatievsky monastery.

After a lunch the bus takes the tourists and transfers to Yaroslavl, the last point of program before returning home. There is enought sights in Yaroslavl and around it to sped a few days obseving them and taking photos. However, the biggest gems of Yaroslavl, Elijah the Prophets church and Spassky monastery are included into program, as well as two icon museums full of masterpieces of old Russian painting.

At 18.00 everybody will get on the train, which departs in half an hour and makes its way to the return trip, which finishes in Moscow, at Yaroslavsky Rialway Terminal at 23.20.

Night in the train can be a good experience, especially if it is a specially equipped retro train. But it is more an experience, that accommodation. Try hotel reservation in almost any Russian city with Russia-IC.


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