Hopefully by reading my Journal about my rail journey in October 2005 through Russia, Mongolia and China you will feel inspired to travel on the Trans Siberian Railway.
As we decided on Beijing as our final destination, we had to leave the TransSib at Irkutz and catch the Trans Mongolian railroad for our journey through the Gobi Desert and ultimately on to Beijing.
I did it as part of a small group - when you have limited time available it is a good option to get someone else to handle all the bookings, visas etc. I met one couple who were retired and had done all their bookings on the internet with no hassles. The cost including returned airfares from Sydney for a 3.5 week trip was around $AU5,000 which is very reasonable.
If you decide do it - the definitive guide is "The Trans Siberian Handbook" by Bryn Thomas. It is available new and used through Amazon Books.
I have written this journal on my return to Sydney and it has been fun putting it all together.
As they say it is one of the world's great journeys ... SO GO FOR IT!