Baikal-Amur Mainline

This article is an itinerary.

Baikal-Amur Mainline (Russian: Байка́ло-Аму́рская Магистра́ль bigh-KAHL-uh uh-MOOR-skuh-yuh mah-gee-STRAL) or BAM (БАМ) is a railway line that crosses Russia, running parallel to the Trans-Siberian Railway.


Baikal-Amur is shown in green, Trans-Siberian shown in red

The BAM splits from Trans-Siberian Railway at Tayshet, some 700 km. west of Baikal lake, and passes the Baikal from the north at Severobaikalsk. It then goes parallel to the Trans-Siberian Railway all the way to the Pacific Ocean. You can expect great landscapes, admirable views of Baikal lake and a lot of high bridges and tunnels.

The railway was built primarily for military reasons as a backup to the Trans-Siberian, which runs quite close to the Chinese border. The first stage, from 1930 to 1953, was built largely by Gulag prisoners, including German and Japanese prisoners of war, and an estimated 150,000 people died in the process. Work halted due to Stalin's death, but started again in 1974 as a Komsomol project, this time "with clean hands only" (in Brezhnev's words). The line was officially completed in 1984, although actual work continued until 1991.

Get in

Tynda station

While Tayshet is the official starting point of the BAM, most travelers coming from Western Russia start their journey at Irkutsk, the nearest large city. Irkutsk is on the Trans-Siberian and has trains and, in the summer high season, ferries across Lake Baikal to Severobaikalsk.

The BAM terminates at Sovetskaya Gavan on the Pacific Ocean, but most visitors opt to stop at Komsomolsk and head from there to Khabarovsk in order to rejoin the Trans-Siberian to Vladivostok, another option is ending the BAM trip on Vanino and cross the Tatar strait to Sakhalin where you can continue your journey to Japan.


A bridge on the BAM railway

For most of its length the BAM is single track. It is also not fully electrified. BAM was a huge Soviet project, and workers from all parts of the Soviet Union were brought to construct it. While traveling on the train pay attention to station buildings. Often they symbolize (in their architecture) the region from where the building crew came. Many of these workers married and stayed there, so you can find settlers from distant parts of the former Soviet Union along the line.

A number of years ago, there were rumors about construction of a second track and another wave of workers came seeking work and remained. Construction didn't start.

Sometimes trains stop at turnouts in remote locations to let trains from the other direction pass. There are a few passenger trains going from Moscow all the way to the Pacific; however, there are many local trains, with the main "traffic" being wood transports from the Siberian forests.

Stations and notable landmarks

Train Talk

  • I would like to buy a ticket - Ya hachu kupit bilyet - Я хочу купить билет
From - iz - из
To - vf - в
  • One, two, three persons - adeen, dva, tree chelavyeka - один, два, три человека
  • Today - sevodnya - сегодня
  • Tomorrow - zaftra - завтра
  • Monday - panedyelnik - понедельник
  • Tuesday - ftornik - вторник
  • Wednesday - sreda - среда
  • Thursday - chetvyerk - четверг
  • Friday - pyatnitsa - пятница
  • Saturday - subota - суббота
  • Sunday - vaskresyene - воскресенье
  • Leaving at - vy-ezd - выезд
Morning - ootram - утром
Noon - dnyom - днем
Evening - vyecherom - вечером
  • Carriage class - vagon - вагон
Platzkart (3rd) - platskart - плацкарт
Kupe (2nd) - kupe - купе
SV (1st) - es ve - СВ
  • Could I have... - mne pozhaluista... - мне, пожалуйста...
upper berth - vyerhnyuyu polku - верхнюю полку
lower berth - nizhnyuyu polku - нижнюю полку
  • Passport number - nomer pasporta - номер паспорта

Taishet to Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal to Tynda

Severobaikalsk Station build by Leningrad builders

Tynda to Komsomolsk

Komsomolsk to Sovetskaya Gavan

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, October 30, 2013. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.