Last Passenger Steam Locomotive on the Trans-Siberian Railway
Between my experiences behind a Soviet supersonic fighter jet and a Formula 1 racing car nothing compared to the power I felt behind the controls of the P-36! - Prince Michael of Kent
Alive and well from the dynamic and incredible history of the USSR and today's Russia, we bring you the only currently operating steam-engine locomotive on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Step onto the Golden Eagle luxury train tour through Siberia, deep into Mongolia, China and the far east of Vladivostok where you have at your service the utmost of luxury paired with the sentimentality and the fortitude of classic engineering in train travel. Begin by relaxing in a bunk that resembles a hotel sweet, catering to the utmost in your privacy needs, shift yourself into new-found and unforgettable friendships in the on-board luxury restaurant car while cutting through Siberia dining on traditional Russian delicacies and prepare yourself for a step back in time on a stretch across the countryside aboard the P-36 steam powered locomotive as it carries you further into your journey in vintage luxury fashion.
We like to make your trip extra special. The history and unique nature of the P-36 does just that. Back in the 1960s the P-36 was first put into transit on the Saint Petersburg – Moscow – Ryzan route and just 19 years later it was shut down. They moved it to serve as a stationary boiler at a lumber plant in Chita. It was seemingly efficient for such use, yet a disservice to a fine piece of classic engineering originally meant for rail travel. Thanks to Tim Littler and Marina Linke the locomotive was discovered later in the 20th century and the idea to revitalize it and put it back on the tracks was born. It was purchased and meant to be re-stationed back in Saint Petersburg for repairs and rebooting for it's second life. Unfortunately, this proved more challenging than was initially anticipated.
Perhaps it was the nature of Russia at the time. Some called it the Wild East. Well, the P36 disappeared, fell into the hands of some crafty tradesmen and was heisted away to the Ukraine. Long story short, it came up on the radar once again in 1999 by the Ukrainian tax police as they confiscated it as property without owner. With it back on the market, it was purchased it for the second time and, shortly thereafter, successfully moved to Saint Petersburg.
Fitters and engineers were put on task and shortly thereafter the P-36 was alive for the first time in decades. Thus started a new era and ode to the past on Russian railways. On April 17th, 2001 the P-36 lit up and came alive for the first time in decades setting out faultlessly gliding passengers across the first 100 km of the Trans-Siberian Express route in classic style. In 2009, the final touch came in the form of a newly-engineered Lempor exhaust system from South African engineer Phil Girdlestone, increasing it's power and reliability. All it needed was the sleeping cars to be attached in Moscow and the P-36 became a much anticipated gem of the Golden Eagle tour across Russia.
What sits now on the tracks of the Trans-Siberian railway is a finely rebuilt spectacle of classic and revolutionary engineering. A modern functioning ode to history. A step back in time for each traveller on the Golden Eagle tour and a unique addition to an already historically and culturally rich tour across the rural, urban and wildlife inhabited areas of Siberia.
British Prince Michael of Kent once manned the P-36 on a test track and shortly after exclaimed that between his experiences behind a Soviet supersonic fighter jet and a Formula 1 racing car nothing compared to the power he felt behind the controls of the P-36. Straight from the "Wild East" of the USSR and after a graceful relocation to Saint Petersburg, and some good hard manpower in it's restoration the P-36 is a gem of luxury and unmatched classic style on Russia's tracks.
Interested in traveling onboard the Golden Eagle train operated by the legendary P-36 steam locomotive along the world-famous Trans-Siberian Railway? Contact one of our dedicated travel specialists and book your Russian train tickets for luxury train journeys to Russia.