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Friday, 18 March 2011 10:16

By train

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Russia has an extensive rail network linking nearly every city and town. For intercity travel, the train is generally the most convenient option for trips that can be covered overnight. Although accommodations may not be the best, Russian trains have efficient and courteous staff as well as timely departures and arrivals. The train is an option for longer trips (many Russians continue to use it for trips of 2 days or more), but mainly if you appreciate the nuances and experience of train travel in Russia. For the complete Russian rail experience the one-week Trans-Siberian Railway has no equal

Russian trains are divided into types: Long-distance trains generally cover trips more than about 4 hours or 200 kilometers (120 miles). Note that all long-distance trains in Russia run on Moscow time (which may be up to 9 hours off local time in the Far East). Shorter distances are covered by the commuter trains. Most train stations have separate areas for selling tickets for these types.

Most long-distance trains are set up for overnight travel. In these trains, three main kinds of cars are available

First class

The first class is called SV, and consists of compartments for two persons. Note that several Russian trains, including many international routes, have only 1st and 2nd class available. NB - To guarantee single occupancy of a cabin, for single travellers, you need to pay double the twin share cost; otherwise, there is a strong possibility that you will have to share your twin cabin with a stranger

Shared bathroom facilities are located at the end of the train car. There are special hatches that one may use to secure the door of the compartment from the inside during the night

Conductors always provide free water in samovars in every car and will usually sell you tea and lend you a mug and spoon. Most long-distance trains also have dining cars. The dining car of the express train is nicely appointed with real table linens, and an impressive menu and wine list, but is 3 to 4 times more expensive than eating in the city before and after you travel.

Note that there are more types of train between the two capitals than between any other two cities in Russia. Apart from ordinary trains, there are rapid trains (Sapsan) that run by day only and cover the 650 km between Moscow and Saint Petersburg in 4 hours. Some of the overnight trains are quite luxurious - these include the traditional The Red Arrow service and the newer, fake-Czarist-era Nikolaevsky Express, complete with attendants in 19-century uniforms. Sheets, towels and prepacked breakfasts are included in all the better trains

No one at Russian train stations speaks any English, so if you are not familiar enough with Russian to purchase your train ticket in person, it is suggested that you purchase online or through your travel agent before you depart. Also, note that all signage inside the train station is in Russian only, so finding your correct platform can be challenging 

Tickets can be bought at the train station, at travel agencies and online. You can purchase Russian train tickets at any Russian train station before your departure. However, demand on certain routes is extremely high so it makes a lot of sense to book your Russia train tickets ahead. We welcome you to use our advance reservation service and our electronic ticketing service that makes purchasing Russia train tickets convenient and simple

Read 1885 times Last modified on Friday, 25 March 2011 15:12
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