Ordered from the United Kingdom in 1898 to run as a goods / passenger vessel on the worlds largest and deepest freshwater lake, lake Baikal, she was designed to run along side the already being built Train and car ferry named Baikal.
Both ships were to run a scheduled service across the lake from Baikal to Mysovaya twice per day as part of the trans Siberian railway, and in winter the Angara would be used to cut a path for the larger ferry Baikal.
Both ships would be shipped in kit form from the United Kingdom to what is now Tallinn Latvia then overland via the trans Siberian railway to Listvenichnoye where they took up to three years to complete.
Designed by Armstrong Whitworth at Newcastle upon Tyne both ships would have short careers connecting the two parts of the trans Siberian railway, by the time Angara was operational she would see service only for a few short years due to the completion of the circum-Baikal railway, both ships then lay in reserve and made occasional trips.
During the Russian civil war both ships were taken over by the red army and armed with cannons, during this time the train and car ferry Baikal was shelled and later burnt out at the pier, she was refloated in 1920 but remained un touched until 1926 when she was dismantled.
The Angara would not endure such a fate as her running mate, she would have a long life finally retiring from service after an impressive 62 years of active service, she was decommissioned in 1961 and laid up Port Baikal until a series of fortunate and unfortunate events brought her to where she is today.
Angara holds a strange record, the Angara could possibly be the most sunk ship in the world sinking not once but at least four times in her long career, the first time was in the 1920’s when she ran into rocks near the Ushanky Islands, the second third and fourth times all took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s while she was laid up at the pier, but since 1991 she has thankfully remained a float.
During her last sinking episode, she remained submerged for a long period (Around 7 years), she was raised in the late 1980’s eventually restored in much the same appearance as she has always been, she remains one of the oldest icebreakers and steam ships anywhere in the world, Angara finally opened to the public in 1991, she is located at Mikrorayon Solnechny on the shore of Lake Baikal.
Write up courtesy of Blair Shaw
To organize a more rewarding and in depth tour on any naval museum ship or naval museum in Russia please speak to Captain 1st Rank Igor Kurdin and his associates at the Submarine Veterans club by contacting him via email at Subclub@mail.ru
Alternative website: http://www.irkutsk.org/fed/icebraker.html