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Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys: Trans-Caucasus Railway
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Chris Tarrant starts his Transcaucasus journey in the opulent surroundings of oil-rich Baku, Azerbaijan. But as soon as he boards his early morning train towards the Black Sea port of Batumi, it’s as if he’s stuck in a Soviet time warp. “It’s not exactly five star,” he grimaces, “more AA one spanner”. As the airline lost his luggage, Tarrant wears the same clothes for days, so actually it’s just as well he’s not on the Orient-Express.
It’s a fascinating journey taking in Stalin’s personal railway carriage, a dunk in an oil bath and a side trip to Azerbaijan’s second largest city, Ganja (although there’s not a whiff of marijuana).
Chris travels along the route of the Soviet-era Trans-Caucasus Railway, beginning in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku. He then heads into Georgia, exploring Tbilisi's vintage metro system and funicular railway, before travelling to the holiday resort of Borjomi, where world-class engineering is on display in a mountain rail bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel.
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