The BAM is Russia's other great train journey. It splits off from the Trans Siberian not long after Krasnoyarsk then runs parallel and 700 km to the north until it hits the Pacific coast. Completed in 1991 just as the Soviet Union collapsed, it fell almost into disuse shortly afterwards. Many of the boom towns that grew up to house railway workers have been abandoned. Outside the crumbling, grey concrete of the towns, however, the scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Taiga forest, towering snow-capped mountains, the breathtaking, unspoilt northern section of Lake Baikal and even desert are just some examples of what the BAM has to offer. Taking local buses away from railway towns will also get you out to quaint hunting and fishing villages of log cabins, picket fences and traditional carved window frames. There is little tourist infrastructure, few actual sites or attractions and not many travellers visit this Russian Wild East. However, its friendly locals, great scenery and rough around the edges Soviet towns make for a fascinating trip.