Movie Review- “Transsiberian” a rail fan’s view


Casting around for something to watch on TV on Sunday night Hubby suggested we watch the 2008 film “Transsiberian”. I thought that as it was on the World Movie channel which we rarely watch it might not be in English but as it turned out it was. The film starred Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley and the plot revolved around an American couple travelling from Beijing to Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Express. The main attraction for us was that we travelled on this train in `1990 ourselves although thankfully we had a better experience than the couple in the film.
We had great fun  picking out what we remembered as being correct and what was either artistic licence or just plain wrong. Hubby was quick to point out that in one scene Harrelson’s character says that the Russian railway gauge is 5’6”. Doesn’t everyone know it’s exactly five foot? I think this may have been an actual mistake as the film was a joint Spanish, English, German, Lithuanian effort and one of the gauges in use in Spain is the Iberian Gauge which is roughly 5’6”. I am not as much of a train nerd as Hubby; I looked that up this morning. We did recognise the sleeping compartments as being like the ones we travelled in and even the tea cups being used looked like the ones we had used. Hubby accepted my reasoning that the locomotives would have changed in the 18 years since we were there and when the film was made but pointed out that the real Trans-Siberian railway had dual gauge tracks not single. It turned out that the film was made largely in Lithuania which accounts for that. We both agreed that the staff had changed as we travelled through China, Mongolia (which was not mentioned at all) and Russia so you would not see a Russian train steward whilst in China. I do remember that you could not turn off the radio but in 1990 the music was Chinese not 70s disco hits.
I have to admit that I bailed out about halfway through the movie. It had turned scary and I knew that there was about to be violence which I didn’t want to see. Hubby stayed on till the end so I couldn’t avoid hearing it as I was only in the next room. I won’t tell you how it came out in the end though.
On the whole I thought it was not a bad film, just not for me. Ben Kingsley was excellent as he usually is and the other actors made me care about their characters fate which is actually why I bailed. I didn’t want to see them get hurt. I did enjoy the railway scenes and it did look a lot like Siberia as I remember it.

image Russian Electric loco
This was one of many electric locomotives we saw.

Home Sweet Home

image author
Me outside our carriage.

If you would like to read more about the movie here are some links but beware. There are spoilers. (spoiler) Trailer for the movie





I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.