Quick Guide to Onboard Experiences
Types of seats on regular overnight trains
There are three classes of travel on board Regular trains: "SV", "KUPE", and "PLATZKART" - (1st, 2nd, and 3rd classes, respectively). A typical 1st class cabin offers two beds and a private washroom in one compartment. A typical 2nd class cabin will have two lower and two upper bunk beds in each compartment, with communal restrooms on either side of the carriage. A typical 3rd class arrangement (sometimes described as “hard class” as a result of the less comfortable beds provided) will have 6 beds in a non-enclosed area of equal space to that of a cabin.
Notes: We recommend that our clients book 1st class cabins (two passengers in each) when using Regular trains, as this provides a more secure and comfortable travel experience. Keep in mind that Regular overnight trains are much slower than Express trains, but they are cheaper. These can be used for shorter distances where no express travel options are available.
Travelling with Pets
Russian Railways allows travelling with pets on its trains. You will need to purchase special tickets for smaller pets at the train station. Pets such as cats and small dogs can be transported in 3rd and 2nd class coaches, preferably in cages. Dogs of large breeds can be transported only in private 2nd class cabins ("kupe"); if you are traveling with a large dog, you will need to book an entire 2nd class cabin (i.e., purchase 4 tickets). All animals have to have veterinary certificates (or “animal passports”) allowing them to travel on Russian trains. Such certificates can be obtained from veterinary clinics.
Wondering what is the permitted size of your carry-on luggage?
Although there are official rules regarding allowable luggage on Russian trains, there also seems to operate a basic principle: “If it fits, it ships.” Of course, this is within reasonable limitations - for instance, the maximum weight for a single (specially ticketed) piece of overweight luggage is 200 kg (or roughly 450 lbs). If you are traveling with a large item such as bike or kayak, the best thing to do is to purchase a special ticket at the train station's ticketing kiosk and place your item in the luggage car of the train.
Most trains have a restaurant car. You can also buy sandwiches out in town or at the train station prior to your departure (a very common practice in this area of the world). Please note: we are not able to provide you with details regarding specific menu options as they are different for each train. We can provide this information for Trans-Siberian package tours only.
Smoking policies on Russian trains
Smoking is not permitted in train cabins or in common areas. The high-speed express trains (Sapsan and Alstom) operate as completely smoking-free zones, much like on board an aircraft, but regular overnight trains do allow smoking in specially designated areas. Please consult your train attendant once aboard to find out where the closest such area is to your cabin.
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