Tour Date: Postponed to July 2022Location: Russia

The highlight of this tour is an opportunity to travel on the most northerly railway in the world, following in the footsteps of Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railway Journey as seen on television.

The line is owned and operated by Gazprom to move supplies and people into the Bovanenkovo gas field located at 70º north. This is a journey into a vast wilderness with only a few nomadic Nenets tribesmen and their Reindeer. Few people will ever go there, as, even for Russians, this is a restricted area. To get to our starting point we will travel by RZD sleeper, passing through the spectacular Ural mountains which divide Europe from Asia to enter Siberia.

We will also visit Children’s Railways in St.Petersburg and complete a railway circuit of Lake Ladoga (Europe’s largest lake), part of which is freight-only, using a veteran M62 locomotive.

With so much rail travel in this vast country we will recharge our batteries with some sightseeing in Salekhard, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Finally, we take the Allegro train from St. Petersburg to Helsinki to complete an epic journey.

Travel from the UK to Moscow
We offer a full package including scheduled flights from the UK and transfer on arrival into Russia. We can offer connecting flights from many UK airports to connect with the Moscow flight from Heathrow. Alternative flights are also available from other UK airports.

PTG “From Your Home” Service
For those people booking the full tour, including flights, we offer a “from home” service for anyone living within 30 miles of your departure airport. A private taxi will pick you up from your house and whisk you direct to the airport terminal. On your return to the UK a private taxi will pick you up at the terminal and take you back to your house. If you live between 31 and 60 miles from the airport the taxi will take you to your nearest railway/bus station for train, or bus, to/from the airport. Our “From Your Home” service is not available from some locations and in those cases you receive a £75 discount on the holiday (with flights) price.

Availability

Tour Highlights


    • Tour Itinerary
    • Prices & Options
    • Booking
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    • Transport & Accommodation

    Pre-Tour Nights

    If you would like to arrive in Moscow a day or two ahead of the main group, to relax or make some personal explorations, then we can arrange this for you. The only extra cost will be for the hotel in Moscow.

    Day 1 Saturday [D]

    Fly from Heathrow to Moscow. Depending on arrival times we may be able to visit the Moscow railway museum or do some sightseeing.

    Day 2 Sunday [B,L,D]

    Today we visit the Kremlin, Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb and other Moscow sights before boarding the Polar Arrow which departs at 20:20 for Labytnangi. Night in a sleeping car on the train.

    Day 3 Monday [B,L,D]

    On the train. At Konosha we change to diesel power and leave the Archangelsk line to head north east through the seemingly endless conferous forest the Russians call Taiga. The train spends a long time in some stations affording opportunities to take photographs and stretch your legs. Second night in a sleeping car on the train.

    Day 4 Tuesday [B,L,D]

    Another day on the train, but with spectacular views as we pass through the Ural mountains in the afternoon to enter Siberia. Arrival at Labytnangi is at 18:40 and our waiting coach will take us to the ferry over the River Ob and a night in Salekhard.

    Day 5 Wednesday [B,L,D]

    Originally a Tsarist place of exile, under the Soviets Salekhard was notorious for its three labour camps where 6,500 people endured forced labour in the docks or mines. We shall visit the Mammoth monument, Wedding Palace, Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Obdorskiy Ostrog and the great arch of the Stela 66th Parallel. There may be some railway interest with the Salekhard to Nadym railway, closed now but planned to be rebuilt.

    Day 6 -9 Thursday to Sunday  [B,L,D]

    Today we cross the Ob again for the short drive to Obskaya where our charter train on the Gazprom railway will be waiting. This will be our home for the next three nights and four days as we travel north up the Yamal peninsula to Karskaya and the Bovanenkovo gas field, and back. The line is 572 km long and has some unique engineering to solve the problems caused by permafrost and ground movement. Some parts of the trackbed have pipes for heating or cooling the ground! There are over 100 bridges and after the Shchuchya river bridge trees disappear and we are into true Arctic tundra. The Yuribey river bridge is the longest at 3.9km and is maintained by two dozen workers who live nearby. We expect to see members of the nomadic Nenet tribe looking after their Reindeer and it may be possible to visit one of their camps. There will also be opportunities to photograph the freight trains moving gas condensate tanks and supplies along the railway. Gazprom have indicated a willingness to facilitate our journey, so it may be possible to visit some of their maintenance and locomotive operations. Once back at Obskaya we cross the Ob for the final time and have a final night in a hotel in Salekhard.

    Day 10 Monday [B,L]

    The plan is to fly to St. Petersburg. Subject to airline schedules there may be time for a walk around part of this beautiful city in the evening before finding a restaurant for your evening meal.

    Day 11 Tuesday [B,L]

    St. Petersburg has two childrens railways, one in the south and one in the north. The southern one is the Malaya Oktyabrskaya Railway and runs for 10.5km. We will also visit the northern children’s railway which is considerably shorter but still interesting. The Russian Railway Museum is situated next to Baltiysky railway station and includes the TEP-80 diesel locomotive that set the world speed record for a diesel – 271 km/h – in 1993. If there is time we may visit the Grand Maket Rossiya which is a model railway designed on a scale of 1:87 (HO scale) and covers an area of 800 m2. It should be a fascinating day with the evening again at your leisure.

    Day 12 Wednesday [B,L,D]

    No-one should visit St. Petersburg and not see the glories of this beautiful city. Our tour will include the majestic Winter Palace which includes the Hermitage with its colossal museum collection, while St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the fourth largest in the world, is renowned for its amazing interior. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood with its nine colourful cupolas is one of the most photographed and most visited places in St. Petersburg. We will walk along the Nevsky Prospekt, cross the Trinity Bridge to the Summer Gardens and visit the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.

    In the evening we board our special train for a two-day journey around Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe. Night in a sleeping car.

    Day 13 Thursday [B,L,D]

    Nights are short at this time of year, so early birds will be awake while we traverse the freight-only line between Olonets and Pitkyaranta and everyone should be awake when we get our first sight of Lake Ladoga itself.

    Soon we enter an area that was once part of Finland, and see the wooden station buildings typical of that country. As we approach Sortavala, Finland is only 10km away. Soon we turn south and head back towards St. Petersburg, passing through an area of beautiful lakes some of which we cross by scenic causeways, ideal for a run past if it is allowed! In the early evening, we arrive back in St. Petersburg and transfer to our hotel for a final night in Russia.

    Day 14 Friday [B]

    The morning is free for personal exploration of the city, and some may wish to investigate parts of the extensive tram system before we transfer to Finlyandsky station to join the afternoon Allegro train to the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

    Day 15 Saturday [B]

    Flights from Helsinki to the U.K.

    Prices (per person)

    • Full 15 day holiday “from home” with flights from UK: £
    • Joining in Moscow: £

    Options

    • Single room supplement: £

    Deposit

    • If booking before XX/XX/2020 we only need an expression of interest. Deposit payable April 2021.

    * flight price confirmed at time of booking

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