Round the World in 20 days.

Having established that east is best (see previous post), how long would it really take to get round the world mostly by train?

Let's assume for the sake of argument that I'm going to set off eastwards tomorrow - at midday on Monday, 10th September 2012.

I'll catch the 12:01 from Oxford to London Paddington, then cross London to St Pancras to catch the Eurostar at 15:04, I'll be in Brussels just after 18:00, and in Cologne in time for dinner before catching the 22:28 heading eastward towards Moscow.

After a couple of nights and the intervening day, I'll get into Moscow's Byelorruski station at 09:37 on Wednesday morning.  The best direct train to Vladivostok, the Rossiya, runs every other day, so I've given myself the luxury of a static bed and time to have a look around Moscow before heading to Yaroslavski station on Thursday evening for the 23:45 departure and the long haul to Vladivostok, via Perm, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan Ude and finally, after 9258 km, into Vladivostok in time for breakfast on Thursday 20th September. 

I'm going to forego the delights of Vladivostok, and head to the airport to catch the Korean Air flight to Seoul, where I’m going to reward myself with a static night before the overnight "time travel special" from Seoul to Vancouver (AC064) where by the quirks of the International Date Line I'll both depart and arrive on Friday 21st September.  Vancouver is one of my favourite North America cities so I’m going to make the longest stop of the trip and have a two night stop-over, before heading to Pacific Central station in Vancouver in time for the Sunday (23rd) departure of 'The Canadian' at 20:30.

I'm expecting to haul into Toronto station at about 09:30 on the 27th, before catching Train 60 to Montreal, then changing again for Train 14 to Halifax in Nova Scotia. That's another overnight train ride, which gets me into Halifax just after 17:10 on the 28th.  This time there’s not really enough time for sightseeing before I head to airport for the Air Canada (AC860) flight to London which gets me back into London at 09:35 on the 29th September, and I would expect to be back in Oxford by mid-day, about 456 hours after I left.

I played with a few variants of this trip, and found that the real trick to doing the trip quickly is getting the long train journeys to connect.  The Rossiya runs every other day, and the Canadian appears to run twice a week at this time of year.  A variant of this trip starting from Oxford on Sunday 9th got me back into London on Monday 24th – only 16 days.

If you're trying to track me down over the next few days email is probably the best bet, I’ll probably be in the office, but you never know. It'll all just depends how I feel tomorrow morning. 

The information in this post came from lots of websites – including TrainlineMan in Seat 61, Real RussiaExpedia, AirCanada and ViaRail.

My ‘final’ itinerary was

Monday 10 Sept
12:01 from Oxford, arrive Cologne 20:15, 
train to Moscow dep 23:45
Tuesday 11 Sept
En route
Wednesday 12 Sept
Arrive Moscow 09:37
Thursday 13 Sept
Depart Moscow 23:45
Friday 14 Sept
Perm (at 20:08),
Saturday 15 Sept
Omsk (14:03),
Sunday 16 Sept
Krasnoyarsk (09:36),
Monday 17 Sept
Ulan Ude (09:50)
Tuesday 18 Sept
Still on the train
Wednesday 19 Sept
And still on the train
Thursday 20 Sept
Arrive Vladivostok 06:17, to Seoul (KE982)
Friday 21 Sept
Dep Seoul & Arrive Vancouver (AC064)
Saturday 22 Sept
Static in Vancouver
Sunday 23 Sept
Depart Vancouver 20:30
Monday 24 Sept
Jasper (16:00), Edmonton (23:00)
Tuesday 25 Sept
Saskatoon (09:10), Winnipeg (20:30)
Wednesday 26 Sept
On the rails
Thursday 27 Sept
Arrive Toronto 09:30, dep 11:35
Arrive Montreal 17:07 dep 18:30
Friday 28 Sept
Arrive Halifax 17:10, Depart 23:45 (AC860)
Saturday 29 Sept
Arrive LHR 09:35, back to Oxford by 12:00

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