The symbolic train journey from Beijing to Paris

As part of the “Train to Paris” campaign, a symbolic journey has been organised from Beijing to Paris to illustrate the cooperation fostered at international level through its actions to tackle climate change.
The “Train to Paris” campaign is a truly international event as on 18 November, a train departed from Beijing with representatives onboard from China and Russia.
After a brief stop in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, two more guests joined the train, which then headed towards Irkutsk!
Welcomed by RZD, Member of UIC and special partner in the campaign, the passengers attended a meeting about sustainability projects within the company.
The train then began the journey to Lake Baikal, to discover Baikal Railways and Siberian Railways, as well as the ecological wonders of the area.

Speaking about this journey, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, said: “This special train, on a mythical route from Beijing to Paris; crossing China, Mongolia, Russia and Europe, is a symbol of the development achieved by the railways since the 19th century.
But, beyond history and memories, this train is also an omen for the role that railways across the world can play in the frame of sustainable mobility.
This train is a message; a pledge to the world leaders, that rail is an important factor, as the backbone of a new transportation mix; of the collective efforts towards the 2 degree scenario.”

The Trans-Siberian journey now continues to Moscow, involving a six-day crossing through the taiga landscape; experiencing daily life on a train with other passengers and staff.

See you on the 28th!

Lake Baikal

636 kilometres long and 1,642 metres deep, Lake Baikal contains roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. Baikal’s water remains exceptionally pure, due to the hot springs that rise from its depths and to the presence of some microscopic shells named epischura that filter the water with efficiency. In addition to this purity, Baikal Lake is an ecological wonder: almost two thirds of the vegetal and animal species that live there are totally endemic. The most famous are the nerpa or Baikal seal (pusa sibirica) and the omul (coregonus migratorius), a fish close to the trout or the salmon.

Travelling through the taiga

The taiga or boreal forest is the world’s largest terrestrial biome. It covers most of inland Canada and Alaska, most of Finland, Sweden and Norway, some areas in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Japan, and of course most of Russia, making Russia rank number one for forest surface with more than 800 million hectares – 12 times the area of France! Brazil ranks second with only 520 million hectares; then come Canada, USA and China. Still, let’s not forget that half the world’s forests disappeared during the 20th century; and that almost 250,000 m2 of forest keep disappearing every minute. That’s 34 football fields!

Life on board – from Irkutsk to Moscow

The atmosphere aboard the Trans-Siberian is quiet and peaceful, perhaps because its average speed is only around 60 km/h as it travels the 5 000 kilometres from Irkutsk to Moscow. Whether travelling from one city to another or for thousands of kilometres, people try to act like they’re at home once they’re onboard. They take off their boots and winter clothes to change into sweat suits and sandals, lie down and try to pass the time by eating, making tea with warm water from the samovar, sleeping or watching a film on their phone. And for those who have come unprepared, salesmen are waiting for the passengers at the main stations to sale them pirozhki, smoked fish or winter gloves and chapkas.

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