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Travelling by train in Russia

Long-distance rail tours, and first of all, Trans-Siberian Rail tour are something many travelers crave to do. This famous route attracts multiple tourists being the longest railway that shows you numerous changing landscapes and gives you the chance to experience a unique way of travelling. You will gradually see the beauty and diversity of Russia as long as you go from Moscow to Ekatenburg, Irkutsk and Vladivostok – each of these cities has a very distinct face and can tell you a lot about the Russian history, different lifestyles and cultures in the country. Before you start considering this route as your next travel destination, we suggest you having a look on the specific of this trip.

Trains in Russia

Russian trains are quite special due to specifics of the routes. First, majority of the trains that operate in Russia are low-speed, with average 60 km/h speed. There are some routes where high-speed trains circulate like Sapsan train Moscow-Saint Petersburg or Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod. Second, the distances in the country are huge so many trains have only sleeping compartments which may be open (less expensive type of wagon called in Russian Platzkart) and closed (Coupe). Coupe has a door that locks from the inside to keep the privacy between the four people in the compartment.

Trains in RussiaSource – rby-foto.livejournal.com

Useful tip: it is convenient to have some comfortable clothes and slippers for the train. Every car is accompanied with the car attendant (in Russian provodnik) who usually speaks only Russian. Provodniks check your ticket, distribute bed-linen and sell tea, coffee and snacks. Some people say that the way to win provodnik’s sympathy is to purchase anything listed above.There are newer and older trains which differ in terms of comfort. The distribution of the two types is almost even, and in the Asian part of Russia older trains are still very common.

Trains in RussiaSource – www.vividscapes.com

Eating on the train

There are two options to eat while in the train. First, you can use the dining car (in Russian wagon-restaurant) where you can purchase hot meals, salads and desserts, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. You can find such dining car in most of the trains, usually it is located in the middle of the train, near the car 9. The prices start from around 200-300 roubles per meal. Some trains have bank cards payment options but they might have limited service when the mobile connection is bad. Thus, it is recommended to have some cash if you plan visiting the dining car. The second option is taking meals with you which is a usual way the Russians do when they travel by train. You can take some cooked meal for the first mealtime, as there is no fridge on the train. The very traditional thing is a home-made fried chicken, boiled eggs and vegetables. There is a joke that once you board the train, you can start eating your chicken! Also you can take noodles, muesli, instant pure or soups, teabags, water, and anything you can cook with hot water, as it is always available on the train. You can purchase snacks in kiosks on the railway platforms during the longer stops (10 minutes and more).

Hygiene in the train

The trains are equipped with the toilets that can be either portable toilet that keep their sewage in a tank or the ones that discharge their sewage onto the tracks. The latter are found in the older trains and still the chances to have them in train on the Trans-Siberian trip are quite high. The special thing about this kind of toilets is that they are closed 30 minutes before and after the stop and during the stop because of obvious reasons. Such toilet has a sign «Sanzona» on the door. Portable toilets are found in the newer trains and they are not closed during the stops. There is a shower available in one of the cars, you should ask the car attendant about it, it costs around 150 roubles.

What to do in the train?

Sometimes there is Wi-Fi on the train but rather on the newer cars so be ready to use your mobile phone Internet or even have a temporary digital detox while going with the train. On the routes the mobile connection can be also poor. The good news is that in the cities you can easily find free Wi-Fi in many public places like cafes, restaurants, and in hotels. There is much room for a peaceful leisure on the train, such as reading books, playing board games, listening to music, and of course sleeping. You can ask car attendant some board games like domino, chess or checkers, they are usually available free of charge. Train is a unique communication spot, since the distance is long, and sometimes people spend a few days on the way to another stop, so in case you speak Russian, it is a good way to practice the language talking to the Russians on the train.

Travelling by trainSource – rbth.com

Highlights of train trips that we described can be a bit too much of a wild travelling, so if you want a little more comfort and an organized program where you do not need to plan yourself, there is an option here. Transsiberian Dream offers you a unique experience that is thoroughly organized and planned for you. You will take a train with the comfortable Coupe department where you will have a chance to chat with other travellers but there will be more privacy for you to enjoy. You might want some during more than 17 days of travel, don’t you?! You will also explore each city with the excursions of professional guides that will help you dive into the history and culture of Russia. You will get to see the oldest line of Moscow metro, the place where East and West meet in Ekaterinburg, discover Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, and learn how Vladivostok became a vibrant capital of the Far Eastern Russia.

Transsiberian train

Source – www.flightnetwork.com

Thus, going with the train in Russia is the whole new world of travelling. If the tips we gave you do not make you reconsider your interest to Trans-Siberian Railway, you should definitely go for it! All in all, the train adventure is something you can hardly get anywhere else, because of the diversity of routes, interesting things around the train and a chance to see Russia the way it is.

REVIEWS

31 July 2019
Rosa Makhaeva

Many thanks to the specialists of Progulki company for their speed, professional competence and well-organized tour in Saint Petersburg for the Chinese students.
I've been the customer of this company for 3 years already and still have never regretted my choice. The managing is always high level, the buses are comfortable, the guides are qualified, the hotels are good.None of our of our requests or issues was left without solving.

I’m sure we will use the services of Progulki many times and recommend them to our friends – people working there know their job well.

Thank you so much!

 

May 21 2019
Tamara P

My trip to St Petersburg was short but amazing not only due to the city itself but as well due to this Agency, Natalia and my brilliant guide Victoria.

I had only a weekend in November 2018 to explore this amazing city and very specific interests in art history and architecture. I did not have time to plan it myself properly, so I just shortly explained to Natalia what I would like to see. In very short period of time Natalia offered me a great two days itinerary that blended my wishes ideally - and for a very good price as well. Besides this, having my first experience of St Petersburg with my guide Victoria, it was an exceptional one. Victoria spoke fluent English and had impressive knowledge of St Petersburg, Russian art and culture. In addition, she was very passionate about both the city and her job. I learned a lot from her. The whole trip was organized perfectly and I enjoyed every minute of it. I am learning Russian now - I think this says a lot what kind of experience I had.

I am sure I will come back to St Petersburg and as well to this Agency that I would recommend to everybody who would like to have a special and genuine experience of St Petersburg.
When they say that they care about their customers' experience and that they have knowledge of the city, Russian art, culture and any other area of interest connected with their service, they are among the rare that are telling the truth! They really do. Besides they are true locals! They have an office in the St Petersburg and people who work in this Agency live there. It is not that their Customer Service is placed in the other part of the world while arranging for you a local experience on the other part of the world.

 

4 May 2018
@mashukv

On April 27, 2018, we ordered a boat trip for a group of 12 French tourists. The trip was a perfect ending to our stay in Saint Petersburg. Tha navigations season had just begun and we were lucky with fine weather. It was a pleasure to see the canals, admire the beautiful streets and historical buildings again. Elena, the guide, made a wonderful excursion, all the tourists were satisfied.

By the way, we were late for the trip for 30 minutes, and I’d like to thank Elena and the boat crew for waiting. We’ll be glad to purchase trips in your company again.

 

13 August 2016
Alex G

Trip to Petergoff. It was very good organized trip. It was started at time. the guide worked good. Good balance between cost and benefit.
 
 
9 June 2016
Ichy B
 
I highly recommend this walk, especially for first timers in Saint Petersburg!

Very good, the streets are clean and I promise that you won't stop taking pictures.

 

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