Retro-trains tempt tourists off the beaten track

Russian Railways is expanding its retro operation to cater to tourists who want to avoid the obvious and see more remote parts of the world's biggest country.

The first retro-tour has already been launched in Siberia, enabling tourists to experience the beauty of Lake Baikal from the luxury of a vintage train carriage. 
 
Soon they'll have a choice of destinations, including a trip to Tver Region, which lies between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
 
On the Tver tour, a unique railway engine made in 1949 will take visitors from the small town of Bologoe to Ostashkov on Lake Seliger.  The area is noted for its spectacular beauty and natural wildlife.
 
Russia has one of the world's largest rail networks, making it an ideal market for retro train tourism.  
 
The tours are not just targeted at foreign travellers. Russian Tourism spokesperson Irina Turina says there's a huge demand at home for the train trips.
 
“I can hardly imagine foreign tourists going to Russia just to take a trip by retro-train, though it may be interesting for them to have it as part of a larger tour,” Turina said.
 
Tourist industry chiefs are hoping that Russia's retro-train trips could one day be as popular as Europe's legendary Orient Express.