A century-old monument to the Tsars’ imperial will and the Soviet Union’s industrial might, the Trans-Siberian Railroad – like the immense region it serves – hurtles into a future rendered profoundly uncertain after Russia’s rapid social and economic changes. The world’s longest railway begins in Moscow and runs eastward through the Ural Mountains and across all of Asia to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan.
Just as Tsar Alexander III had envisioned when construction began in 1891, the Trans-Siberian Railroad is the heart of the Asian railway system, binding the enormous landmass together. The railway opened up Siberia’s trove of natural resources-including timber, gold, and coal-and hastened the colonization of the great swath of territory between the Ural Mountains and the Pacific.
Trains in Russia carry half of all passenger traffic and over 70 percent of all freight in Russia, and many lead to destinations that are otherwise unreachable by other forms of transport due to bad roads and weather conditions.