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Introducing Komsomolsk-na-Amure

By far the eastern BAM's best place to stop, Komsomolsk-na-Amure (the 'City of Youth'; a whopping 1500km east of Tynda) sports a carefully planned tree-lined, bricked pavement centre with long prospekts, European-style buildings and rattling trams. Built in a hey-ho fervour in 1932, Komsomolsk was a Soviet-dream transformation of a swamp into a planned city for the Young Communist League (komsomol) to help populate the east - and strengthen area defences, with steelworks, an aircraft factory and shipbuilding yards on the Amur River. Activity has slowed since the glory days.

It's a convenient hub between Tynda, Khabarovsk (290km to the south), Van- ino's ferry service to Sakhalin Island, and Nikolaevsk-na-Amure up the river.