|Russia By Rail
| A new high-speed train makes the trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 4 1/2 hours.
Arriving in Moscow
Moscow has eight major train stations. All are served by the Moscow Metro and located near the center of the city. (See map of central Moscow.)
Most stations are connected by the metro's circle line. (See map
of the Moscow Metro.) Taxis are readily available outside most stations but beware they may be expensive.
If you're on an international train, you'll go through customs when you cross the border, not at the station. (See the front and back of a customs declaration form.)
Serves Kalliningrad, Lithuania, Belarus,
Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic and some trains to Latvia.
Address : 7 Tverskaya Zastava Ploshchad (See
Phone : 251-6093, 973-8191
Serves Central Asia, Ryzan, Ufa, Samara and Novorossiisk.
Address: 2 Komsomolskaya Ploshchad (See Map)
Serves Western Ukraine and Southeastern Europe.
Address: Ploshchad Kievskogo Vokzala
Serves Southern Russia, Caucasus nations, Eastern Ukraine, and Crimea.
Address: 29 Ul. Zemlyanoi Val (See Map)
Phone: 916-2003, 917-3152
Serves Estonia, Finland, St. Petersburg and northwestern Russia.
Address: 3 Komsomolskaya Ploshchad (See Map)
Serves Voronezh, Tambov, Volgograd and Astrakhan.
Address: 1 Paveletskaya Ploshchad (See Map)
Serves some trains to Latvia.
Address: 79/3 Rizhskaya Ploshchad
Serves Kostroma, Cherepovets and some trains to Vologda.
Address: Ploshchad Savyolovskogo Vokzala
Serves Siberia, the Russian Far East, Mongolia and China.
Address: 5 Komsomolskaya Ploshchad (See Map)
Phone: 921-5914/0817, 262-9271
Buying Train Tickets
Buying a train ticket in Russia does not have to be an agonizing experience. In addition to lining up to buy it yourself there are many
travel agencies that will arrange the ticket for you for a fee. Although you may end up paying considerably more doing things this way can free up time for more important things.
Buying tickets yourself without at least some command of Russian is difficult but you should be able to do it yourself. All of Moscow's nine major train stations have ticket booths (called a kacca), but in order to avoid long lines it's easier to buy tickets at a central ticket office booth designated for foreigners. Although in theory ticket prices should be the same for Russians as for foreigners, you may still find yourself being charged more. This is especially likely in cities other than Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The two most convenient central offices in Moscow are located near the Yaroslavsky Station. One is kassa 45 on the second floor of the administrative building between Yaroslavsky and Leningradsky stations. The other is the Central Railway Agency at 5 Komsomolskaya Ploshchad.
Russian trains generally fall into one of three groups: firmeny, skorry or elektrichki. Firmeny trains are long distance trains run by a private company. They usually have a name and on the whole they are faster, cleaner, more comfortable (as well as more expensive) than other trains. The Rossia (Russia) which connects Moscow and Vladivostok and the Krasnaya Strella (Red Arrow) which connects Moscow and Petersburg are two of the more famous firmeny trains.
All other long distance trains are the not-so-aptly named skorry poyezdy (fast trains). These are generally not as comfortable and make more stops. For shorter trips most sizable Russian cities are surrounded by a network of elektrichki, or suburban trains. An elektrichka has no cabins or bunks and will usually stop everywhere (there are some faster ones on Moscow's surburban network), including places where the cows won't get off the tracks.
Most long distance trains have two different classes: platzcart and coupe. Coupe, the preferred option for most foreigners, is a private cabin with four places on two bunk beds, with a small table in the middle. Some long distance firmeny trains include a deluxe coupe class where there are only two beds in a coupe cabin. Platzkart is transportation for the masses, an open train car that fits six beds into the space that the coupe uses for four. A platzkart car feels like it was made to transport troops and puts the sights, sounds, and smells of Russia right in your face.
Buying tickets for prigorodnye (suburban) trains involves a lot less waiting, but is difficult if you can't speak Russian. Suburban kaccas are located at each station and are separate from the kaccas long-distance trains. Ticket prices range from $1-$3 and can be purchased on the day of travel. In Moscow and St. Petersburg these trains leave very frequently.
Moscow - Saint Petersburg Trains
Cheap and slow, trains are the preferred means of transport for the vast majority of Russians. Trains are also popular with foreigners shuttling between Moscow and St. Petersburg or launching extended journeys across the country. Here is a table with all the trains between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The "Red Arrow" and "Aurora" are the most recommended.
- 'Red Arrow' (train #1/2)
#2, dep. Moscow 11:55 pm, arr. St. P. 8:25 am
#1, dep. St. P. 11:55 PM, arr. Moscow 8:25 am
- 'Express' (train #3/4)
#4, dep. Moscow 11:59 PM, arr. St. P. 8:29 am
#3, dep. St. P. 11:59 PM, arr. Moscow 8:29 am
- 'Smena' (train #25/26)
#26, dep. Moscow 11:00 PM, arr. St.P. 7:05 am
#25, dep. St. P. 11:10 PM, arr. Moscow 7:15 am
- 'Aurora' (train #159/160)
#159, dep. Moscow 5:20 PM, arr. St. P. 11:35 PM
#160, dep. St. P. 3:55 PM, arr. Moscow 10:10 PM
- 'Yunost' (train #23/24)
#24, dep. Moscow 12:16 PM, arr. St. P. 8:50 PM
#23, dep. St. P. (Tue, Thu, Sat) 1:05 PM, arr. Moscow 9:41 PM
For information on ALL trains and routes within Russia and the CIS check out www.poezda.net/train.htm (the official web site for the train system of Russia and the CIS). When doing a city search in English city names must be transliterated properly. For example, instead of Moscow type Moskva, instead of Saint Petersburg type Sankt Peterburg.
For more readily accessible and detailed information on travel within the CIS and on the Trans-Siberian railroad check out the web site of G& R International: Bureau For International Traveling at www.hostels.ru/rail.
The official website of Moscow Rail is www.mzd.ru. It contains travel information for trains leaving from Moscow (local, national, international). Only in Russian.