National Geographic, Vol. 193, No. 6
"Russia's Iron Road" : Fen Montaigne
Photos by Gerd Ludwig
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.
Forests darken the horizon east of Lake Baikal.
"The strength of the taiga," wrote Anton Chekhov,
"does not lie in its giant trees and its silence, but in that only migrating birds know where it ends"
Vladimir Ustimovich and Tatyana Petukhova travel first class to Yekaterinburg.
"Today business success rivals political advancement as a route to a lush life."
Soldiers and civilians await a twilight departure from Krasnoyarsk.
The station also serves two "secret cities," unmarked on Soviet-era maps,
that produce plutonium and military electronics.
Trains don't even pause in Svishchevo, so locals like Vladimir Maltsev rely on
horse-drawn sleighs to get around.
Far from the ocean's climate-moderating effects, this tiny central
Siberian village receives snowfalls so deep that even
Vladimir's horse Vanya gets mired in the drifts.