89-km–long route from Slyudyanka-2 to port Baikal is a great opportunity to enjoy the changing views of the lake as the train rides along the shoreline from south to north and back. You will pass through 39 tunnels making several 20 min stops to take a stroll outside.. Before World War II Trans-Siberia trains from Irkutsk was following Angara river reaching Port Baikal and then going at lake coast to Sludyanka. In late 40s. Line from Irkutsk to Port Baikal was dismantled and traffic was moved to mountain road through Bolshoy Lug, making Circum Baikal dead-end railway.
It is possible to travel independently using local transport at any time of the year, as train #6201 Matanya assures the connection between Slyudyanka 1 (Слюдянка 1) and Port Baikal (Байкал) through the Circumbaikal Railway. The train leaves Slyudyanka at around 13:30 local time four times a week, Mon, Thu, Fri and Sun. Updated timetables are available online from the Russian Railways website. As with any local train, it's not possible to buy tickets online, but they can be bought aboard for around 300 roubles (one-way, 2016), another 60 RUB you pay for a bigger backpack.
Matanya is now a comfortable, red train, but as other local trains, it has no food for sale aboard and no hot-water dispenser. Water from "drinking water dispenser" was muddy and didn't look drinkable at all. The stops are not long enough to alight and, outside of season, there are no food sellers on the plataforms, so pack your lunch and don't rely on instant noodles.
Summing up the connection timetables, it is usually necessary to overnight either in Port Baikal or Listvianka to complete the round journey from/to Irkutsk. In summer, the last minibus departed Listvyanka at 21:00, so it was possible to get to Irkutsk late in the evening.
Please note train #6202 (Port Baikal/Slyudyanka) travels overnight and is therefore not interesting for sightseeing.
Download free app 2Gis for a comprehensive coverage on maps, transport routes and business directory. The Irkutsk map includes all the Circum-Baikal region. It works offline. While Google maps don't provide sufficient map coverage of this area, app Maps With Me does (area available for download / offline usage).
These are major stops as follow:
It's important that food stores are scarce on the railway, so take something with you or use the bar.