Railway Adventure Belarus

Before we published the itinerary all negotiations went over a railway official in charge in the ministry of railways. Recently the railways dismissed her, giving no reason. We needed to start at point zero with another division of the railways to arrange the trip. Mid April they came out with a new tour proposal – far from the original plans – and with a new, much, much higher price. Negotiations to bring them down to earth haven’t been successful. So we have no choice but to delete the tour, sorry.

We're working on an alternative program to the Ukraine which will be published soon. It’s based on diesel in the Carpathians.

For most railway enthusiasts Belarus is a white spot on their railway maps. For many years it has been almost impossible to get a permission for railway photography. So we’re happy to be able to offer you a tour in a country which has been difficult for railway photographers in every respects. Don’t trust the bad press about White Russia to much, get there and get your own pictures from a railway which is working properly and in an amazingly good shape.

Locomotive experts will get what they are keen on: the old shaped TE3, the well known TEP60 with it’s classic styling of the 1960s, the M62 without silencer, and last but least the unforgettable “rolling earthquake”, the bass sounded 2TE10U.

We’ll visit all locomotive depots of Belarus. In addition we’ll make numerous line pictures of our charter train and pictures of scheduled trains which will cross our special train. Another highlight of our tour is the German “Kriegslok” class TE (German class 52) in front of a mixed train.

We would really like to show you photographs of all of the interesting locomotives, passenger equipment, engine sheds, railway architecture and historic areas you will be seeing on this trip, but photography was been forbidden for so long in Belarus, that pictures simply are not available. This situation makes the trip all the more interesting, exciting and rewarding.






We’ll meet at the Berlin’s Lichtenberg railway station at 13 hrs. Overnight train no.14 to Baranavitschy-Centralnaja, departure 13.34 hrs


06.58 hrs arrival Baranavitschy-Centr. Continue by our hotel train of the state railway. Morning visit to the depot at Baranavitschy, (M62, VL80S, DR1A and DR1P) and the local railway museum.
At 11.30 we’ll continue with our special train, hauled by a TE3 from Baranavitschy-Centr. to Vaukavysk-Centr. (122 km). Along the way we’ll make several photo stops and runpasts – we’ll do this on the following days as well.
In the evening we’ll make a brief visit to the depot at Vaukavysk (M62, 2M62, 2M62U). Overnight we’ll continue to Hrodna (94 km) at the border triangle with Poland and Lithuania.


The border station to Poland, Hrodna, has both, broad and standard gauge. Visit to the depot Hrodna (standard gauge CME3). The TE3 will continue with our hotel train to Mosty (58 km), from here we’ll have a 2M62-“Double Taiga Drum” for the next 74 kilometres to Lida. On the whole journey we’ll use crossing stops of our train for making pictures of regular trains which are crossing or overtaking our train. Visit to the depot in Lida (M62, 2M62, DR1A, DR1P). Around 3pm continue with a M62 without silencer to Bohdanov (70 km), after darkness we’ll continue without stop via Maladzetschna (58 km) to the capital Minsk-Severnij (75 km).


Charter bus to visit the “Elektritschka“-Depot Minsk-Severnij (ER9M, ER9T, ER9TM, ER9E). Afterwards visit to the famous “Belarus“-Tractor Works and its extensive works railway. After lunch we’ll enjoy a charter on the children’s railway with TU7 (if possible with the “Small Taiga Drum” TU2) (750 mm; 4 km). 15.30 hrs visit to the large depot of Minsk-Sort (TEP60, M62, CME3/3E/3T, CS4T).


Mixed charter train „Gruzo-Passashirskij“ along the 34 km long branch line Verejcy - Hrodzianka and back with a CME3.
In the afternoon we’ll continue with our hotel train, pass by Minsk and on to the “Magistrala” Warsaw – Minsk – Moscow to Barysau (142 km). Visit to the depot Barysau. With a evening stop in Orsha we’ll continue overnight on the branch line to Lepel’.


From 6 to 11.30 hrs we’ll make photos and videos along the 132 km from Lepel’ to Orsha. Our train is hauled by a CME3K. Visit to the depot of Orsha (TEP70 K, TEP70, M62, 2M62, CME3, CME3K, DR1P). Continue with our special train, hauled by-TEP70K to Vicebsk (83 km, partly double tracked, stops only in case we need to cross another train on the single tracked part). Visit to the depot Vicebsk (TEP60 and 2TE10M, both without silencer, and CME3, DDB1).


Before sunrise we’ll travel to Bytschyha at the Russian border, from there we’ll take the whole morning for taking pictures of our „Rolling Earthquake“ (2TE10M) on the line Bycyha – Chepino – Hrisany – Polack (155 km). Visit to the depot Polack (2M62, CME3 and DRB1-railcars)
Around 15.45 hrs we’ll continue with an old fashioned TEP60-passenger train locomotive via Novapolack (20 km) to Shjabki (57 km). From there we’ll roll through the night (hauled by TEP60) via Varapajeva (reversal in the night) to Druja.


The whole morning we’ll travel along the Latvian Border from Druja via Varapajeva to Kruleuschtschyna (138 km, TEP60). Visit to the small strategic reserve of locomotives (one steam loco class L, several M62/2M62) and the minor depot. After another 107 kms we’ll reach Maladzetschna in the evening.


During the morning we’ll continue to enjoy the low sound of a 2TE10U between Maladzetschna and Aschmjany and return. Visit to the Maladzetschna depot (M62). In the afternoon we continue behind a “Rolling Earthquake” 2TE10M to Lida (128 km), arrival around 8pm. Overnight via Baranavitschy to Kleck.


A M62 without silencer will haul our train from Kleck via Sluck (visit to the depot) – Salihorsk (mining city with typical industrial backdrop) – Sluck – Darahanava (visit to the strategic locomotive reserve, locally called „Zapasa“, if permitted).


Visit to the Asipovitschy depot (M62, CME3). After two scheduled Passashirskij-trains pass by we’ll continue 133 kilometres to Mahilëu (Russian name Mogiljov) hauled by a CME3. Visit to the depot (CME3 and re-designed DRB1M-railcars). Special trains with a DRB1M-railcar in the best evening light to Daschkauka (21 km).


Overnight journey to Horki (Pogodino). On the 76 km long part from Horki to Kritschau we’ll be hauled by a 4000-HP locomotive class TEP70. Visit to the Kritschau, depot. Continue (101 km) to Mahilëu. Here we’ll get for another time an impressive 2TE10U-Earthquake up to Shlobin (124 km).


Morning visit to the Shlobin depot (M62, 2M62, CME3). Continue 86 km over the “Magistrala“ to Homel’ by a noisy 2TE10U. At noon visit to the depot at Homel’ (2TE10U, M62, 2M62U, CME3, DR1A and probably the brand new DR1B-railcars). After a brief sight seeing tour through the city which has been affected by the nuclear disaster of Tshernobyl, we’ll continue with a 2M62U westwards to Kalinkavitschy (125 km).


In the early morning by TEP60 from Kalinkavitschy to Harotschitschy (17 km) and return. Visit to the Kalinkovitschy depot (M62, CME3). Continue by TEP60 to Luninec (199 km). Visit to the depot at Luninec. In the evening we’ll enjoy a BBQ framed by a performance of  a Belarus dance ensemble.


Overnight we’ll cover 228 km to Brest (228 km). We’ll leave our hotel train and change into a authentic mixed train with a rake of freight wagons and about two passenger coaches. We’ll go from Brest to Vlodava/Bug and return. Our train is hauled by a German “Kriegslok” class TE (German class 52). Several thousand of this class of steam locomotive were produced during World War II and hundreds remained in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and many other countries. After return visit to the depot at Brést-Pass and the large depot Brest (M62, 2M62, CME3, DR1P, DR1A). In the evening we’ll make a compulsory visit to the memorial of the soldiers who died during the war.
Return to Berlin by train no. 13, departure Brést-Centr. 23.55 hrs


Arrival in Berlin-Lichtenberg at 10.23 hrs.


Trip Details

The guided tour starts at Baranavitschy-Centr. September 9th at 7 in the morning and terminates in Brést-Centralnyj September 25th, 2007at 9.30 in the evening. During the trip the group will be accommodated in the hotel train of the Belarus’ Railways (which is not identical to the Dzherelo train). Accommodation is possible in two berth compartments. You can book a compartment for your own for a supplement. The train offers showers convenient berths and sufficient space for luggage.

For decades, trains from Eastern Germany to the eastern countries used to start in the Berlin station of “Lichtenberg” We recommend that you join our group in Berlin Lichtenberg. We have booked a contingent of bed tickets for trains 14 and 13 for a group price. Trains 13 and 14 are comprised mostly of Russian long distance coaches with the smaller UIC profile. In the Belarus station of Brést-Centralnyj the boogies will be changed and we’ll continue on 1520 mm broad gauge.


Line description

Belarus has mainly a flat countryside, which doesn’t mean it is featureless. The irresistible charm of Belarus is the (presumably) idyllic villages. Wooden houses, often featuring decorative carvings, embedded in dense forests and impassable swamps, horse carts and “Panjewagon” are the “sights” of the rural countryside. Belarus - which can be translated into “White Russia”- has almost no natural recourses and can’t offer its inhabitants much luxury. However, many Ukrainians would be happy to get their wages and pensions paid on time as it is usual in Belarus. Belarus still reminds one of the former USSR, and this is not meant in a negative sense. Although big supermarket chains “invaded” Belarus, the typical inhabitant still buys essentials at the local market, called “Rynok”. These crowded places offer everything you need for life for a reasonable price. Agricultural products are still unpolluted by chemical pesticides and artificial fertiliser, sun flower seeds, sweets, Vodka, clothes, shoes, stuff for house and garden and much more is available directly from the manufacturer.

We’ve planned several stops along the way to give you the opportunity to visit the cities like Bohdanov, Verejcy or Shjabky along the line. These names you’ll not find in the mainstream guide books, they are well off the beaten track. Enjoy the authentic Belarus!

As Belarus was still a part of the former Soviet Union, the railway network in Belarus was the under control of the Bjelorusskaja Sheleznaja Doroga of the transport ministry of the USSR, the MPS. The state railway is now named as Belaruska Tschyhunka (BC). Lines, signal system and rolling stock still reminds you in most ways to the MPS standards. As Belarus is not able to invest big amounts in new infrastructure, wagons or locomotives it is essential for them to keep the railways in good shape. Almost all locomotives are in ex-works condition, the track on the main lines is in good condition, the signalling system works properly. BC’s reputation in the mind of railway officials from neighbour countries like Poland, Lithuania and Latvia is excellent.

BC also cares about its own history. BC owns two railway museums, one in Brést and one in Baranavitschy. Both offer a variety of different steam locomotives and are part of our itinerary. All depots have their own traditiona and an exhibition; some of them developed into small museums already. World War II is the main part of these exhibitions as the war hit the country hard.

Of special interest are the station buildings that in typical Russian style. Especially the small station buildings on, minor locations are sometimes real gems. In the western part of Belarus you’ll find Polish architecture, as this part of the country belonged to Poland from 1922 to 1939. Some of the buildings have been rebuilt in their original style after be damaged or destrozed in World War II.

Most of the railway traffic in and through Belarus is concentrated on the main lines (Warsaw –) Brést – Minsk – Orsha (– Smolensk – Moscow) and (Kaliningrad – Vilnius –) Maladzetschna – Minsk – Homel’ (–  Kyjiv/Charkiv). The first one is double tracked and electrified, the other one is electrified only between Maladzetschna and Asipovitschy. Also very important is the line (Daugavpils –) Polack – Vicebsk – Orscha – Homel’/Kalinkavitschy, which is partly double tracked. On the non-electriefied sections of this line you can experience heavy freight traffic, mainly hauled by impressive bulky 2TE10M/2TE10U- double unit diesel locomotives. With their ten cylinder opposed-piston engines, and without any silencer, their deep bass leaves the ballast under them vibrating with their passing. This is the reason why they have been nick-named the “Rolling Earthquake”. We’ll focus on these magnificent diesel monsters. The express passenger trains are interesting as well. Beside the powerful TEP70 locomotives there is still a number of 40 year old TEP60 locomotives in service. The TEP60 is also silencer-free and generates an impressive sound. The express trains often have more than 20 of the wide broad gauge coaches.

The tour will be is a highlight for friends of the famous class M62 diesels. Beside the regular delivered versions, the M62, DM62, 2M62, and the modern version 2M62U, you can find versions which have been converted for hauling push-pull trains. These are in use for re-designed railcar trains classes DDB1, DRB1 and DRB1M.



This tour is designed for both dedicated photographers and video filmmakers. As railway photography is almost totally unknown in Belarus, we need to be careful when negotiating with local authorities who will most certainly be nervous when a group with an official permission letter appears in their area. It’s likely that they have never seen before an official permit for railway photography, as such papers haven’t been issued for decades. Installations of strategic interest and big bridges are still off limits and often are still staffed with armed guards. Our philosophy is to provide opportunities to get that perfect sunrise shot rather than a time consuming 5-star breakfast buffet. On occasions lunch will be served as a packed meal. In the evening we’ll have time for meals which are usually sumptuous. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price but are generally available should you wish them.

Some of the visits are of special interest for number crunchers and enthusiasts interested in statistics while others are more for linesiding and taking pictures in the countryside as well as at the and picturesque and interesting stations. The trip includes visits to all 17 depots. For those who have different interests, it’s possible to visit the cities and villages en route as well. Last, but least, the tour is perfect for people who enjoy travelling by train and watching the bypassing scenery.

Please keep in mind that accommodations and transportation in Belarus fall short of EU or US safety standards. Always use common sense when crossing roads and railway tracks. FarRail Tours cannot be held responsible, and will not accept any liability whatsoever in the case of any accident or damage. We suggest you take out a comprehensive overseas accident and health insurance policy. For this tour you need an yellow or orange warm coat which is usually used by railway staff like track gangs and signal workers. This is for visibility and safety reasons and is required by the railway authority.

Belarus requires overseas health insurance coverage with a specific insurance company. This insurance needs to be shown when acquiring the visa. As changes in this regulation might apply, the insurance company which is accepted by the Belarus’ authorities will be announced in Summer 2007 in advance of the tour.



The state railway BC has not offered us a fixed price so far for the tour. We calculate that the costs will be somewhere in the range of £1,500 to 1,900 from Baranavitschy-Centr. to Brést Centr. We recommend that you book a bed on our overnight train from Berlin-Lichtenberg to Belarus and back from our block booking.

The price includes:

Not included are:


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