Transport and Routes

At the time of Marsden's journey, the railway line extended only as far as central Russia, ending in Zlaoust - only a few hundred miles from Moscow.

The comfort and warmth of the train carriages were no longer available and it was here that she had to transfer to a horse drawn sledge.and get serious about dressing for warmth.

She was to ride this sledge more than 3600 kilometers all the way to Krasnoyarsk.

It was here in Zlaoust that she had to dress for travelling out doors - dressing for the russian elements. This was serious stuff. She wore so many layers and pairs of boots that she could barely more and could not bend her knees. This became embarrassing as she left her accommodation and went to mount the sled for the first time, in her new outdoor gear to begin her journey.

A celebratory party had gathered in order to see her off.
She describes:

The difficulties in mounting the sledge in my loaded and hampered condition, I had not contemplated; but not, on seeing the conveyance at the door, my heart sank, and I longed for some good fairy to waft me gently from the station into the corner of the sledge. But it was of no use to give way to heart-sinking, or to long for impossibilities.

The sledge – one of the elevated kind, stood a long way from the ground and had to be mounted.....How I even managed to walk, or totter, down the steps of the station without an accident is a marvel. Having got over that portion of the feat, I stood at the side of the sledge trying to solve the knotty problem of how to get in, There was no step to help me; and there was the crowd of men, women and children gazing at me. What was I to do?..........”

I could just imagine that predicament. Contemplating an impossible feat under the watchful eye of a crowed who are assessing every more. She describes that

three muscular policemen attempted to lift her gently into the sledge; but their combined strength was futile under the load.”

So they had to set her on the ground again. She then attempted to mount without assistance, but could not do so, due to the fact that her knees could not bend. Her pride, she says, had to succumb (I personally think it would have already succumbed with the failure of three muscular policemen's attempt to lift her in) and two policemen took her by the arms and threw her in where she was packed and stowed away amongst her possessions.
From Krasnoyarsk, Marsden ditched the sledge for what was locally known as a tartantass. There were actually three principal forms of transport that Marsden could have chosen to take at this point. The first was a telega, which is a springless, one-horse cart fitted with a leather hood and curtain for bad weather, the kibitka, which was similar to the telega but could be converted into a horse drawn sleigh.

tartantass is a hooded (except for the drivers seat) seatless and basket, about seven feet long and supported on a couple of long flexible poles mounted on the four axle tress which acted as springs. It was drawn by a team of shaggy Siberian horses, called a troike. The tartantass was driven by a yamshick (driver).

She purchased the tartantass in a village market nearby. Kate describes being presented with three different ones, with a starting price of 70 Roubles. She managed to negotiate the price down, eventually paying a sum of 30 Roubles for her vehicle. To make a comparison I bought a small bottle of water in Moscow at the airport for 180 Roubles. This was the price for everyone as it was market before hand. In Siberia I bought a packet of pot noodles for 40 Roubles. A coffee on average costs 100 Roubles (although in Moscow this could easily be double).

From here to Irkutsk she followed the Trakt most of the way to Irkutsk. The Trakt is what was known as the Great Siberian Post Road. At the time this was the only road across Siberia, ending at Nerchinsk.

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