A super-luxury tourist train running from Moscow through Siberia to Vladivostok, near the Russian-Chinese border, began its inaugural run.
The Golden Eagle, a $25 million joint Russian-British project, includes a shower cabin, heated floors and furniture, liquid crystal display TVs, Internet access, a hairdressing salon and a medical room, as well as a bar and two restaurant cars, the state-owned Russian Railways said.
Food includes Russian and Siberian items ranging from pelmeni (Russian dumplings), to black caviar and vodka, the railroad said.
British Prince Michael of Kent on Thursday at a Moscow station unveiled the Golden Eagle which offers passengers ensuite bathrooms, underfloor heating and plasma screen TVs in every cabin along the 9300 kilometre Moscow to Vladivostok route, one of the longest train trips in the world.
“Russia and trains are two great passions of mine and I’m looking forward to traveling on the Golden Eagle,” said Prince Michael, a Russian speaker and related through his grandmother to Tsar Nicholas II, in a speech.
The 14-day rail trip – costing $16,000 to $19,000, depending on class of service – includes several stops and excursions.
Tickets are sold out until November, mostly to Europeans, rail spokesman Sergei Slutskov said.
‘From winter, we will start actively promoting this trip to Russian tourists as well,’ he said.
The train also will be used for tours along the Silk Road, an ancient trade route through Kazakhstan, with stopovers at the Baikonur space center, the Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and across the large and cold Gobi desert in China, with Beijing as the final stop.