The Irkutsk-Newcastle upon Tyne connection

Not far from our hostel in Irkutsk, is the steamship Angara.

20130629-000642.jpgThe Angara. As viewed in the rain

Together with it’s sister ship the Baikal, they were commissioned as the Lake Baikal section of the Trans-Siberian Railway before the lines that run south of the lake were constructed. While passengers boarded the smaller Angara, the train boarded the much larger Baikal – yep, you read that correctly – the top deck of the Baikal was kitted out with 3 sections of track to take the full train in one crossing.

Sadly, the Baikal is now in the Baikal as it sank some time ago, but the Angara, which had partially sank too, is now restored and moored in the Angara river and is a hidden gem of a museum, especially for us because both ships were designed and their hulls manufactured in my home town of Newcastle upon Tyne, England!

20130629-001540.jpgWey-aye man, bilt on the toon! We wa geet prood!

The museum’s exhibition is a treasure-trove one-room affair, chocked full of maps, diagrams and news-story clippings charting the sister ships’ inception, transportation to and assembly in Listvyanka, their use as transport ships and ice-breakers, to their sinking and the subsequent resurrection of the Angara.

20130629-003221.jpgThe single-room exhibition on the steam-ship Angara

20130629-003352.jpgThe route of the hulls from Newcastle to Listvyanka, accompanied by 5 ship-workers from Newcastle, where the ships were assembled. Everything arrived, but there were delays.

After we’d absorbed as much of the exhibition as we had rain in walking there, we excitedly tried to explain to the curator that we were from Newcastle too, but his nonchalant response gave us the impression that every other visitor he sees is a Geordie.

Mr “Toon-Army” curator then locked up the exhibition and led us to the back of the ship, took us down some stairs inside, and pointed to a maintenance ladder that led further down.. leaving us to explore the engine room on our own! sweet!

20130629-005035.jpgThe “small” forward engine, used to drive a bow-screw that displaced the water underneath the ice, making it easier to break

20130629-010028.jpgJulie climbing through the various maintenance levels between the two huge main boilers

20130629-110717.jpgDials, knobs and levers aplenty

20130629-110740.jpgMe posing next to one of the two huge boilers

An awful day weather-wise, brightened by a previously unbeknownst tie to where our two year trip started :o)

2 thoughts on “The Irkutsk-Newcastle upon Tyne connection

  1. Chris

    Hi Andrew + Julie hope you’re both having a good time! It looks like you’re having a blast. It’s great to see you’re keeping the blog up to date. It’s good to see your progress! The food looks great. I thought the vodka looked especially nice ;) oh and the mechanical bird clock was amazing! how are the iPads? Are they holding up?

    I’ve been here in New Zealand for two months now. It’s definitely past the holiday stage now! Ive been cycling and running around the auckland area taking in the sights, I must say travelling is the best use of anybodies time, work sucks :p

    Hope you’re both well.


    1. Andrew Post author

      Hi Chris, it’s great to hear from you :o)
      We’ve been on the road for a little over 3 months, and yep, we’re seeing some amazing sights, meeting some generous and friendly people and learning a lot about world history from the native points of view – we’re loving it.
      We miss home a little bit, and I miss the usefulness and contribution of work, so we’re going to try and do some volunteering here and there.
      I’m so pleased you made it to New Zealand, another of our good friends Jo lived out there for a year and liked it so much she stayed for 2! – it’s on my list :o)

      As for iPads, best travel gadget for sorting through photos, researching where to go and what to do, and for staying in touch. They’ve been great, and the envy of other travellers that have lugged laptops around! The only thing I miss occasionally is a keyboard for the longer posts (and comments like this one!)

      Keep in touch mate ;o)


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