This section introduces you to Russian trains. We will teach you about types of tickets: electronic, paper, and electronic with boarding pass (that last one is the tricky one, but don't worry, we got you covered). We will also teach you the names of important Russian trains (the Sapsan, for instance) and a bit about the history of Russian rail travel (such as that of the Red Arrow route). Finally, we will show you how not to miss your train at some of the most complicated rail stations in the world.
Virtually all of Russian trains are operated by the RZD (Russian Railways) state monopoly. This is the largest company in Russia and one of the largest in the world. It is undergoing a transition from a state-run enterprise into a modern corporation. As such, in some ways it is extremely modern (the use of e-ticketing and high-speed trains, for instance), while in other ways it has not changed since Soviet times (antiquated stations and extensive use of overnight train routes, as examples).
The good news is that today almost all domestic tickets in Russia are electronic. Trains on international route with Finland also support e-tickets. The bad news is that most of the other international routes, such as those to Belarus, Ukraine, and Mongolia, will require paper tickets. You needn’t worry, though. When you book your tickets through our website, you will be provided with all available ticket options and with thorough instructions on how to use your tickets.
The pride of Russian Railways is its Siemens-built fleet of Sapsan trains. These trains already run between Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Nizhny Novgorod, offering speed and comfort hitherto unseen east of the former Berlin Wall. Sapsans will soon run to Kazan and Sochi too. There are great overnight luxury trains that run on all major routes and thousands of cheaper, standard overnight trains that run across Russia's vast network of rail tracks.
The Achilles’ heel of Russian Railways is its train stations. Quite a few were built during Imperial times and hardly improved since, and many more were constructed by the Soviets, the latter of whom did not place passenger comfort at the top of its priorities. Despite this, there are great stations, of course, but what is important to remember is that Moscow and Saint Petersburg have more than one station and you should make sure you know which station you are departing from or arriving to. For this, you can always rely on our help.
The first image that comes to mind when most people think of Russia and rails is the Trans-Siberian railway. The longest regularly operating rail route in the world, connecting Europe with the Orient, is really something - it takes seven days to reach Vladivostok or Beijing from Moscow by train. But, there are other interesting routes out there. For example, the new routes from Moscow to Nice and Paris takes you across all of Central Europe. The old route from Moscow to Yalta, Simferopol and Sevostopol that brought the tsars to their summer estates is still in use by Crimea-bound travelers today.
If you are planning to travel by train in Russia, book Russian train tickets online.