Novy Urgal is a typical town near the eastern end of eastern Russia‘s BAM railway– a crumbling concrete sprawl of 6,000 people in the middle of the wilderness, with nothing for hundreds of kilometres in either direction. The inhabitants, many of them Ukrainians and Estonians, are mostly employed on the almost defunct railway.
The only real reason to come here is to feel transported back in time to the Soviet Union. Little has changed in this isolated place since those days and nostalgia for the USSR is strong.
There are cheap beds available in the resting rooms at the station. The town also has a couple of shops and a cafe.
From Novy Urgal there is a linking railway south to Izvestovskaya on the Trans-Siberian. There is another linking railway to Khabarovsk on the Trans-Siberian from Komsomolsk-Na-Amure (14 hours east of Novy Urgal on the BAM). You can also get to Khabarovsk from Izvestovskaya. From Khabarovsk there are cheap direct flights or multi-day direct trains to Moscow but flying is sometimes cheaper than the train.
West of Novy Urgal trains run as far as Tynda 30 hours away, where you must transfer to another train for Severobaikalsk, Goudzhekit, Baikalskoe and all points west on the line to Moscow. The nearest place with flights to Moscow in this direction is Krasnoyarsk, some fifty-four hours west of Tynda! Some smaller towns have airports with regional flights, however. Nizhneangarsk near Severobaikalsk, for example, has flights to Irkutsk and Ulan Ude from where there are flights on to Moscow.
Click here for my blog about Novy Urgal and the train ride here from Severobaikalsk via Tynda and Taximo. It’s 3127 words and 5 photos.
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