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How to travel by Russian passenger trains?
russian railway guidebook    In this section you'll find out about the different types of Russian passenger train, types of cars, seat numbering, and other useful information about travelling on Russian trains.
Train types • Classes of accommodation • Life on board • Security
Train types: Most long distance trains classify by service level and speed movement:
  • fast train ('skorry poezd') - Train number from 1 to 160. Very comfortable and quickly trains with minimum stops (only large stations). More convenient arrival/departure hours (departure at night, arrival at the morning). Average speed - 70-90 km/h.
  • fast train with special name ('firmeny poezd') - All the same, only additional service level (cleaner cars, politer attendants). Because of Firm title you'll be pay additonal fee - about 10 %. Trains example: The 'Rossia' , connecting Moscow and Vladivostok, and the 'Krasnaya Strella' or 'Red Arrow', connecting Moscow and Petersburg. Average speed - 60 km/h
  • passenger train ('passazhirskiy poezd') - Train number from 170 to 870. Looks like an intercity train with great number of additional stops. Average speed - 40-50 km/h.
  • speed train ('skorostnoj poezd') - Train number from 161 to 169. Very comfortable trains with average speed 100 km/h. All cars equipped by video, bar, comfortable seats.
Tip here  Tip: If you want to travel on a fast, comfortable train, look for a fast 'firm' train (train numbers between 1 and 160).

Classes of accommodation: There are 3 main classes of accommodation:
2-berth compartments 4-berth compartment Open-plan dormitory cars
2-berth compartments
1st class, Lux
4-berth compartment
2nd class
Open-plan dormitory cars
3rd class
Spal'ny Vagon (1st class, Lux) 2-berth compartments, 9 compartments per coach. Both beds are at the lower level. Washrooms and toilets are at the end of the corridor. Equipped by conditioner, small wash-stand integrated into table.
Kupe (2nd class)
4-berth compartments, 9 compartments per coach. Washrooms and toilets are at the end of the corridor. Equipped by conditioner, additional berth for luggage.
Platskartny (3rd class)
Open-plan dormitory cars. There are 54 bunks per coach, arranged in bays of 4 on one side of the aisle and bays of 2 along the coach wall on the other side of the aisle.

Sleeping car seats numeration
See also: Russian Railway Trains Seats numeration scheme - [site link]

Tip here  Tip: Bottom berths have odd numbers (1,3,5 etc.), upper berths have even numbers (2,4,6,8 etc.).

   Each train consists of 7-18 sleeping-cars of different types (so-called 'sostav' or 'poezd') with additional cars (luggage van, restaurant car) and one train superintendent's car ('nachalnik poezda'). If you have any problem with tickets or service level, you should find superintendent to solve the problem. You can walk between cars through special gangways.

Tip  Tip: you can locate the superintendent's car by looking for the large loop aerial on the roof of the train. This car is usually found in the middle of the train.

Life on board: What's inside train ?

Car   Whichever class of travel you choose, each coach is looked after by a pair of attendants called a 'provodnik' (male) or 'provodnitsa' (female). The provodnik will check your ticket at the door to the sleeper when you board. Shortly after departure, the provodnik will come round to take your ticket and the small bedding fee (about 1 EUR).

  You may be asked if you would like a glass of black Russian tea ('chai') - this costs about 0.2 EUR. Bedding (two sheets, pillowcase and towel) is then handed out in sealed packs - blankets and mattresses will already be stacked in your compartment. After a few journeys, you will become quite proficient at making up your bed!

  A boiler with unlimited free hot water is available at the end of the corridor - pack some tea or coffee, sugar, cuppa soups or water-based drinking chocolate and bring your own mug.
  Most long distance trains have a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks, and inexpensive full meals - reckon on less than 5 EUR for two courses and a couple of bottles of beer. Also you can use first aid kit in case of emergency free of charge.

Tip  Tip: Remember that most Russian trains aren't fitted with retention-toilets (as on planes) and the toilets discharge onto the track. For that reason, the toilets will be locked by the coach attendants about 30 min. before arriving at stations until about 30 min. after departure.
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Security: Security infromation about Russnian trains

  There is no particular need to worry about security on Russian trains, as long as you use common sense, lock your door at night and don't leave valuables unattended in your compartment. In addition to the normal lock on the compartment door, 'Spalny Wagon' and 'kupe' compartments have a security latch which stops the door opening more than an inch or two, and which cannot be released from outside.
  There's also a safe place for your bags at night - if you have a bottom bunk, there is a metal box underneath the bunk which you can only get to by lifting up the bunk - in other words, for anyone to get to your bags, they will have to shift you off your bunk first! Your provodniks will probably also lock the access doors at each end of the corridor at night to prevent unwanted guests.

tip  Tip: we recommend you keep your luggage safe in the box underneath the bottom bunk.

Special thanks to Mark Smith (1st,3d class trains photos, text fragments, help with translation)- site www.seat61.com
newspaper Magistral (2nd class, outdoor trains photos).

Site was created: March 23.03.99, Author: Serhiy Kibitkin, WAP: http://www.railway.te.ua/wap/


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