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The Trans-Siberian Test Match Special

30 October 2012
Why travelling on the Trans-Siberian Express is a bit like watching Test cricket

A journey on the Trans-Siberian Express is often referred to as the world's greatest rail journey. It is certainly the longest single journey, for both distance travelled and time taken. The journey offers plenty to get excited about - there are countless highlights and points of interest along the 7,500-mile route. But these highlights are spread out across the journey, delivered to your window periodically throughout your 13 days on board. Occasionally, several highlights follow in quick succession. At other times, a number of hours will pass without there being very much to get overly excited about.

In this way, I can compare travelling on the Trans-Siberian Express to the experience of watching Test Match cricket (I thoroughly enjoy watching cricket - this analogy can be ignored by those who dislike cricket!).

Certainly, it is the purest, most respected and revered form of the rail travel 'game'. It is enjoyed best by those who appreciate rail travel in its finest form, and it requires a patient, laid-back approach. You don't always need to concentrate on what is going on - you'll find plenty of time to read a book, chat with those around you or allow yourself to drift off for forty winks. You have a sense for when the highlights of the day are being revealed - often by the excited murmurings of those around you.

Bad light and poor weather do not stop 'play', and the journey does not pause for meal breaks - the train will continue its journey regardless. And the highlights generally do not pass in an instant; you'll have plenty of time to get to grips with the fantastic places we visit along the way.

If you travel on the Trans-Siberian Express with Great Rail Journeys, you'll be making the journey on the Golden Eagle train, which is the equivalent of a seat in the members pavilion at Lords. You'll have access to the best views available, it is the most comfortable way imaginable for you to enjoy the 'action', the food service is impeccable and drinks from the bar are free flowing.

Finally, mile posts can be compared to dot balls - you'll watch the first few with intrigue, but most of them will pass without any real excitement or comment whatsoever.