I’ll be going on 8 train journeys in total from Edinburgh to Hong Kong, including the first part of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Trans-Mongolian route from Siberia to China.
The route I’m taking includes 8 train journeys:
- Edinburgh – London
- London – Amsterdam (Eurostar)
- Amsterdam – Berlin
- Berlin – Moscow (part of the “Paris to Moscow Express”)
- Moscow – Yekaterinburg (part of the “Trans Siberian”)
- Yekaterinburg – Irkutsk (part of the “Trans Siberian”)
- Irkutsk – Beijing (“Trans Mongolian” railway)
- Beijing – Hong Kong
Countries I’m travelling through: UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia, and China.
Edinburgh to Moscow
Train 1: Edinburgh to London
Distance: 332 miles (534 km)
Time: 4 hours 20 mins
Countries travelled through: UK
The first journey is on the LNER train from Edinburgh Waverley to London St Pancras.
Train 2: London to Amsterdam
Distance: 222 miles (357 km)
Time: 3 hours 55 mins
Countries travelled through: UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands
The second train journey I’m taking is London to Amsterdam. Since April 2018 Eurostar runs direct trains from London to Amsterdam, taking 3 hours 55 minutes.
Train 3: Amsterdam to Berlin
Distance: 357 miles (575 km)
Time: 6 hours 22 mins
Countries travelled through: The Netherlands, Germany
There are a number of different ways to get from London to Berlin by train. London-Brussels-Cologne-Berlin is a slightly faster route, but I decided to travel via Amsterdam because it involves fewer changes of trains, which is easier with luggage. The timing of the train connections gives a convenient 55 minutes in Amsterdam for lunch!
Train 4: Berlin to Moscow by train
Distance: 2,164 miles (3,483 km)
Time: 14 hours 19 mins
Countries travelled through: Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia
I’m joining the Paris to Moscow Express part-way along its route, departing Berlin Hauptbahnhof at 7.26am and arriving in Moscow at 11.45am the next morning.
On the way we’ll go through Belarus. As Russian railways have wider rails than in Western Europe, there’s a change of gauge at the border, where the train wheels are changed from European standard track gauge to Russian gauge.
Moscow to Beijing
Train 5: Moscow to Yekaterinburg
Distance: 880 miles (1,416 km)
Time: 25 hours 18 mins
Countries travelled through: Russia
From Moscow I follow the Trans-Siberian route, to Yekaterinburg, the fourth biggest city in Russia. The city has the largest concentration of constructivist architecture in the world.
Train 6: Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk
Distance: 1,749 miles (2,815 km)
Time: 53 hours 21 mins
Countries travelled through: Russia
Continuing on the Trans-Siberian route to Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Described as the ‘capital of Eastern Siberia’, Irkutsk is 2,000 miles west of the Pacific, and 2,600 miles east of Moscow.
Train 7: Irkutsk to Beijing
Distance: 1,026 miles (1,653 km)
Time: 54 hours 27 mins
Countries travelled through: Russia, Mongolia, China
I’m going directly from Irkutsk to Beijing on the Trans-Mongolian route, I’m not stopping off in Mongolia because unfortunately the train times didn’t work out — maybe next time…
Beijing to Hong Kong
Train 8: Beijing to Hong Kong
Distance: 1,516 miles (2,439 km)
Time: 8 hours 56 mins
Countries travelled through: China
The high-speed rail link from Beijing to Hong Kong opened on 23 September 2018, which means that although this train journey is much further than Irkutsk to Beijing, it’s much quicker, taking less than 9 hours to travel over 1,500 miles.
The aim is to arrive in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve!
Total distance: 8,246 miles (13,270 km)
See the full route I’m taking from Edinburgh to Hong Kong by train (interactive Google map).