Baikal-Amur Mainline, Russia.
The most beautiful part of the BAM is, perhaps, bypassing the Severomuisk tunnel. To climb the Angarakanskiy pass, you must overcome a steep slope. To do this, the railway line literally knots along the mountain slopes, rising to the top with serpentine. The usual road takes 22 kilometers, but the train overcomes as many as 57, rising and descending again down to half a kilometer. On the tour you can consider several curious engineering creations. The most famous of them is the “Devil’s Bridge”. This high-rise trestle on two-tier supports is located above the Itykita river bed. The bridge is curved and is located in the ascent. It is said that when heavy trains pass through it, the Devil’s Bridge is even swinging. Today, this traversal is attended by only small working trains, usually twice a day – from New Uoyan to Taksimo and back. The rest goes through the famous Severomuisk tunnel, which is 15 kilometers long. This is the longest tunnel in Russia.
Shanghai-Lhasa and Beijing-Lhasa, China.
This road was built quite recently and it runs through the beautiful and picturesque provinces of the country. The railway is the highest mountain in the world. Many put this engineering structure on a par with the Great Wall of China. The most interesting part of the route begins already in the Tibetan Plateau, where the train overcomes the pass at an altitude of 5072 meters. Never before with the railways this was not. When driving through high-altitude areas, oxygen is even delivered to the cars. However, the creation of Chinese engineers in their time actively resisted the Tibetans, so advocates for the freedom of this area is better to refuse to travel on this way.
Marias Pass, USA.
In the famous Microsoft Train Simulator game, this track is one of the most popular routes. This railway to the surprise of many gamers is real, located in the state of Montana. Passage through the pass was opened in 1889 by engineer John Stevens along with a Blackfoot Indian named Koons. The way through the pass is very difficult, especially for long freight trains. Through this place there is also a passenger train “Builder of the Empire”, the next one from Chicago to Portland.
Spiral Raurim, New Zealand.
New Zealand engineers also have something to boast about in the field of railways. Once in the 18th century they built the main road of the North Island from Wellington to Oakland. And then a serious problem arose – it was necessary to somehow overcome the steepest slopes that separated the valley of the Wanganui River and the volcanic plateau. It was decided to use the project of engineer Robert Holmes – in the national park Raurim was twisted crazy railway spiral, consisting of two tunnels, three 180-degree turns and even one full circle. And all these bends fit on a stretch of road 7 km long!
Not long ago, it was this railroad that belonged to the altitude record – 4787 meters on the Condor Pass. The journey begins near the huge Uyuni solonchak, here, besides, on the abandoned roads there is a whole cemetery of old trains with real locomotives. On the road there are not even trains, but only individual wagons. Its path lies to the most high-altitude city in the world – Potosi, located at an altitude of 4200 meters above sea level. The railway, which is rare even for South America, lies in the middle of busy streets of small towns and towns.
Nose of the Devil, Ecuador.
The main attraction of the road network of this country is Nariz del Diablo. This single-track railway, 100 kilometers long, begins in the highlands of Riobamba and descends to the jungles of Sibambe. The path winds along the slope of Chimborazo, the famous South American volcano with a height of 6267 meters. Tourists prefer to look around the neighborhood not from the windows, but directly from the roofs of the cars, which provides the best view.Even the uneasy climatic inconveniences do not scare people away. Part of the road was destroyed in 1997-1998, but the national landmark was quickly restored. The pleasure of a ride on the old train, coming down from the heights, costs only 15 dollars.
Often the construction of a railway is conducted without regard to the surrounding reality. This is just the case. Near Llantas, iron ore is mined, which is sent via freight trains to a processing plant in Portillos. Only here it is located high in the mountains at a mark of 3300 meters. The road passes through the dried up area of the mountains, where rains are an extreme rarity. Downpour can be a serious problem for railway workers, since it will simply wash away the road section, located on the steep mountainside.
Is it any wonder that the most unusual railroads have gathered in South America. This road is also unique with its serpentines, return dead ends and unusual zigzags. It happens that the train rests on a dead end, then backs down to the next dead end and continues to move in the normal direction. When engineers encountered the steep slopes of the Andes during construction, they had to resort to such tricks.
Patagonian Express, Argentina.
In 1906, the President of Argentina sharply raised the issue of the development of national territories, which served as the basis for the construction of the Patagonian road. However, the work was completed only two decades later, when the operating line connected the cities of Bahia Blanca and Carmen de Patagones. When historical passions boiled in these places, today there is a national reserve attracting tourists. Although the main route runs along a wide-gauge track, in Patagonia there are many sections with narrow gauge and old cars and cartoon-type locomotives. Often at the railway here and sleepers are not visible, the rails are buried in grass and sand. Before the eyes of tourists there are beautiful views, and at night you can enjoy the view of the falling stars.
Ferrocaril Austral Fueguino, Argentina.
This road is also called a train to the edge of the earth. It leads to the local National Park “Tierra del Fuego” and is the southernmost and most narrow-gauge railway of the country. The width of the track is only 50 cm. There is even the station Fin del Mundo or “End of the World”, where there are always full of tourists who want to get to the park by train, rather than on a cheaper and faster bus. Interestingly, at the very beginning of the 20th century, prisoners were transported along this road to correctional labor. The road began to build in 1902, and the width of the track was then 60 cm. One of the first steam locomotives was nicknamed the coquette, as it jumped on the run. By 1952, the road had fallen into disrepair, and launched it in the early 90’s exclusively for tourist needs. All locomotives and wagons are therefore made according to old models of the early 20th century.