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16 October 2018

BAM - Baikal Amur Mainline

BAM - Baikal Amur Mainline 
One of the world's most amazing winter roads 
Drive with Altairtour and Overland Journeys 
18 February - 8 March 2019
3 March - 22 March 2019

Come with us to the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway as we explore the political and social history of Russia’s greatest railway construction project of the 20th century.  There is a lot to learn from the veterans who labored on the BAM and many fascinating stories about the life and times of people who live along the railway today.

We travel to:

  • Learn about the BAM project first hand from veterans of the construction and hear their stories about the life and times of young Communist Volunteers in the construction camps.
  • Come prepared for the adventure of a lifetime This is a wild and beautiful region full of wonderful scenery and plenty of surprises.  There are snowy mountains, clear running rivers, fish to catch and unexpected sand dunes hidden in the depths of the Taiga.
  • Along the way we will take time to meet with the Evenkis people to learn about their culture and lifestyle in the remote Taiga.
  • Life along the BAM was hard and dangerous.  Many of the stories don’t have happy endings and many of the people who worked on the line and in the Uranium mines did not come to Siberia willingly. These stories were not told openly but they are as important to the social history of the BAM as the stories of the young pioneers.
  • Get a greater understanding and appreciation of Russia.

BAM – Construction of the century

The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) was a project that captured the imagination of a Nation in the 1930’s. Do you remember those times and wonder what ever happened to the BAM?

The original purpose may seem less important today than it did back then however the BAM is much more than just a railway to the descendents of the young volunteers who built it. 

Young Communists Volunteers from all over the Soviet Union set themselves against the Baikal-Amur wilderness with determination and heroic courage.   It became the ‘Hero Project of the Century where towns were named after origin of the workers and wedding ceremonies took place right on the railway tracks. Steaming locomotives against the background of high mountains and picturesque bridge spans. But more often you think: What is it? Where? and Why?

Why would anybody try to conquer taiga and those lofty mountains, pick countless tunnels and lay sleepers through swamps and mountain passes. Why building new towns and settlements, gathering volunteers from all over the Soviet Union? What ideals drove those people? How did they live and what remains of those times?

Join us on this intriguing adventure to unlock the history of the BAM.. 

Our choice of traveling in February and March is not accidental. The road alongside BAM is tough in summer due to the absence of bridges across the rivers. In March the unique beauty of Siberian winter is moving towards spring. The hard frosts and bitter winds have passed but the ground and rivers are still frozen.

At night we will stay in hotels, if there are no hotels - which is a common thing for BAM – in tourist centers, schools and administrations. Everywhere we come we will be expected in advance, treated with kind smiles and shown around. It will be a fascinating to meet the people of the BAM face-to-face.  These folk have a different world view than city people. Their lives are fashioned by the Taiga wilderness and by the lifeline of the BAM..  Today Russia would be different without the BAM and in the past the BAM could not have been achieved without Russia

Full program description

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