Irkutsk to Perm by train

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The Baikal train

This time we are travelling on the Baikal train from Irkutsk to Perm. It is regarded as another Firmenny train, much like the Rossiya is. Firmenny trains seem to be classier trains that move faster than others and have a "higher rating" than some other trains have.

The Baikal train will take us from Irkutsk to Perm.


Baikal train at the platform Baikal train at the platform
Ian in our compartment on the Baikal Ian in our compartment on the Baikal










Looking out to the corridor Looking out to the corridor

The interior of the Baikal train

The interior of the compartment is quite different to the Rossiya train but it is still quite smart. There weren't too many people on board when we left Irkutsk, particularly in our first class carriage.

It's got a totally different bedding set up to the Rossiya but one disappointing fact is the beds are even harder than those on the Rossiya.

We brought cold meat, cheese and salads with us for dinner so that would be welcome once the formalities were out of the way.

After not having much salad in recent times we both enjoyed our dinners. Our bedding is already set-up but I'm not convinced we'll sleep well on these mattresses.


Samovar (hot water urn) on the Baikal train Samovar on the Baikal train
Leadlight window in the carriage door Lead light window in the carriage door

Next morning:

We both had a dreadful night's sleep. The beds are actually even narrower than those on the Rossiya. We were hot in the night and at daybreak we discovered the darn heater was on. Presumably it is controlled by a supreme train-power somewhere. I don't think we have slept on such hard beds ever. It's not very good for first-class tickets.



It seems our carriage on the Rossiya train was much newer than this one on the Baikal train and it seems this is the reason the beds are harder on the Baikal. Much newer carriages have slightly softer beds!

The landscape has changed in that we have rolling hills as well as forests. We still see masses of derelict buildings but most seem to be industrial "abandonments" we reckon. It seems odd that they have been just left as is. What happened to make the factories stop manufacturing we wonder? Where did all the workers go?



Beautiful ornate fences along the platforms Beautiful ornate fences along the platforms
Water pipe going up and over the road Water pipe going up and over the road









Trackside village Track side village
Typical rolling hills covered by trees Typical rolling hills covered by trees










Lunch from a platform kiosk

The train stopped for half an hour at Krasnoyarsk so we hopped off to find it was a very warm day. We found a kiosk on the platform selling pizzas. It ended up being a sad and sorry pizza as the kiosk lady micro-waved it to warm it up for us. To my mind it really needed a further 10 minutes in a hot convection oven. We now seem to be the only folk in our whole carriage. At least the toilets should stay nice and clean for a few hours.

The wording says Baikal in Russian The wording says Baikal in Russian
The Baikal stopped at Krasnoyarsk station The Baikal stopped at Krasnoyarsk station










Next day

A few extra folk came on board during the night but they left again in the morning when we got to Omsk. We both slept a lot better last night and we have a Restavit tablet to thank for that.

The trolley lady came around later in the morning with hot Pirozhkis. These ones had meat in them as opposed to the others we'd had with mashed potato in them.

No-one is allowed to smoke inside the carriages so smokers go out to the ends of the carriages and puff away out there. The trouble is the smoke still comes back inside the carriages. Ian has a much more sensitive nose than mine and he got quite affected by the smoke.


The Art Deco dining carriage The Art Deco dining carriage

The long awaited shower

A while later our Provodnitza arrived announcing we could go to the next carriage and have the shower she had promised us yesterday. It was a tiny shower cubicle with very little water pressure but to us it was sheer heaven. We actually washed our hair and felt clean again. It cost us 100 roubles each which is about $3.80 AUD ea. We felt very privileged.

Lunch On The Baikal

We wanted to try out the dining car on the Baikal train so we toddled off down to the dining carriage for a late lunch. We both chose Borsch, Ian had Peasants Meal which was rissoles, chips and tomato with mayonnaise which he said was nice. I had shrimp salad which was quite laughable. It came in a small cereal bowl and had three shrimps on the top of it. Those three shrimps in total may have just covered my thumbnail and no more. I've never seen anything so small. It was hugely expensive. The menu indicated Visa payment was fine but the lady in the dining car said "Niet" when our card was produced. This whole meal, as small as it was, came to the grand sum of 1020 roubles which is about $38 AUD. It compares very poorly with the beautiful meals we have had elsewhere.

Ian in the almost empty dining car Ian in the almost empty dining car
One-third of my three-shrimp salad One-third of my three-shrimp salad









I nearly forgot to say that we had a little TV in our compartment - not that we ever turned it on. It was connected to the only source of power in the compartment. We used the power pretty much constantly for re-charging batteries in cameras, for Ian's shaver and for re-charging my lap top computer.

We loved our lives on both this train and the Rossiya. We were quite happy relaxing and doing the odd bit of reading and word processing (for this site, of course). We have now had two quite long stints on Russian trains and found them very pleasurable.

The scenery isn't boring at all and we are always excited about hopping off at stations whenever we can, searching for food from the Babushkas and buying the odd ice cream here and there.

We've never had any English speaking companions in either of the trains we've been in, right across from Vladivostok. Our neighbouring passengers have pretty much all been Russian.

Early to bed tonight because we have to be up and about very early tomorrow morning. We arrive in Perm at 5 a.m.


Next page - Arriving in Perm


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.

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