After a couple of nights in Moscow it was time for us to move on to St Petersburg.
When researching our trip back in London, I determined that the best way for us to travel between the 2 cities was by train…and looking at the economics, it made sense for us to catch an overnight train – that way we could combine the cost of our transport and accommodation.
We didn’t want to ‘rough it’ though, so we booked a 1st class sleeper cabin on the ‘Red Arrow’, which is renowned for it’s “comfort”, compared to the other overnight trains.
The train left Moscow at 11:55pm, arriving in St Petersburg 8 hours later….not the fastest option, but any quicker and we wouldn’t have gotten enough sleep!
We had a 2-berth cabin, which had 2 single beds that double as seats. Bedding and a snack box were provided. The beds were surprisingly comfortable and we actually slept quite well. The toilets were pretty gross though, and there were no shower facilities.
We found that the cost of 80USD each for a night’s accommodation and transport was affordable for us, though there are cheaper options available. I am glad that we spent the money to have a private cabin – would not have liked to share with others….
All in all, it was a fine way to travel, and it was great to arrive in central St Petersburg, with no airport transfers to contend with.
On my first trip to Moscow in July 2005 I arrived in the city by day train from St. Petersburg.
There are several trains serving this route daily. Most of them are night trains.
The price and journey time depend on the type of train.
I took the "Avrora Express" train which left from St. Petersburg Moskovski train station at 16:00 h and arrived at Moscow Leningradski train station at 21:30 h.
The ticket was 1600 Rubles (45 Euro, 2005) and included a seat reservation as well as a small lunch box.
Moscow has about 8 main train stations which are all located near a metro stop of the brown circle line.
When you travel somewhere by train always make sure you know which station you are leaving from.
From most stations there are long-distance trains as well as suburban trains. This railway station you use e.g. to go on a suburban train to Kolomna.
Closest metro station is Komsomolskaya.
We travelled around Russia by train, first from Germany to Minsk, then Gomel to Moscow, Moscow to St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg to Gomel, then home.
Generally the trains, although not up to the standard of European trains, where very comfortable. There are a few things you have to know about Russian trains before you travel, like that the toilet is locked 30 minutes before arriving at a station. The following website contains indespensible information on rail travel around Russia.
Called a Voksal in Russian, this is the train station for points East. if you are going to Sergei Pasod, this is where you will depart. Buy tickets in the back of the building. This is located at one block from the Komsomol Metro Station.
One thing about Moscow train stations, is that they are named for the places at the other end of the rail, so you have a Belarossiya Voksal, a Leningradskiya Voksal (now St. Pete) and several others.
Be careful taking these trains. No one speaks English, no one cares, and everything is in cyrillic script. If you can't read or speak Russian you''ll need to be careful, and I can't say I recommend you tackle this on your own.
Called a Voksal in Russian, this is the train station for points North. If you are going to St. Petersburg, this is where you will catch your train. This is located directly across the street from the Komsomol Metro Station.
Moscow train stations are named for the cities at the other end of the rail, so you have a Belarossiya Voksal, a Yaroslavskaya Voksal and several others.
Be careful taking these trains. There is no such thing as second languages that I could see, and if you fall asleep, you could wake up very far away. Its quite possible to miss your stop because I've yet ot ride a russian train with a functioning loudspeaker, especially if you can't read cyrillic script.
Booking a train out of Moscow was a bewildering experience. Basically if you do not speak Russian, then you can't get a ticket.
Aswell as this there is a very disorganised/highly complicated queuing system where you can wait up to 30 mins in a queue, at which point they pull the shutters down for a 2 hour break without warning.
I managed to book tickets eventually without much hassle through Hotel Moscow!
I have travelled twice on Russian trains, from Moscow to Saint Petersburgh and back to Moscow. It was a night train. They are not new ones, but they are clean and cosy. And really cheap...about 10 euros one way (on third class coach). And I enjoyed the trip very much. The best memories are: drinking a beer before going to sleep and in the morning getting a hot tea on the train in those cool mugs.....nice souvenir from Russia!! ahahah! :P
This station is so wide that it hardly fits on a picture. Train depart here for Belorus and further afield like Poland and Berlin. Also if you fancy going to Smolensk for instance, this is the station you want. Like all major stations in Moscow this one has a section for long distance trains and one for local eletrishkas.
Metro station Belorusskaya
The Red Arrow night train (Krasny Strela) is a 75-year old train that plies the Moscow-St Petersburg route. On my recent trip, I took the Red Arrow night train from St Petersburg to Moscow. The overnight journey departed at 2355 and arrived in Moscow at 0800 hours. I had a 2-person cabin all by myself. The space in the cabin is really very limited. If you are travelling in a pair and have suitcases, they will take up almost the entire floor space in the cabin leaving you little room to manoeuver around. It is best to travel light and to carry a cabin-sized trolley suitcase. There is a small storage bin under the sofa bed for you to store your hand luggage.
The door of your cabin can only be locked from inside. Basically, you bolt the door and lift up a lever at the top of the door to prevent people from coming in. For extra security, there is a bolt fastener which you can use to prevent people outside from turning the bolt of the door.
You will be provided with a snack box containing among other things, bread rolls, butter, cheese, salami, caviar, tea bag, coffee. There is also a toileteries kit similar to those given out by airlines. The blanket is under the red bedspread.
One hour before arrival into Moscow, the cabin attendant (provdinitza) will knock on your door to wake you up. The toilet will be locked half an hour before arrival and there is usually a queue for the toilet so I would advise you to visit the toilet well ahead of arrival.
I was impressed with our train journey from St Petersburg to Moscow on the high speed luxury train. It is similar to the high speed trains we used in Germany and France and loses nothing in comparision.
Our journey during a late September afternoon took approximately 4 hours and gave us the opportunity to see the countryside. There was a restaurant offering food and drink.
When in Europe we prefer train travel as it provides a more comfortable, cheaper and often a quicker transfer.
We arrived in Moscow by train, the mithical trans siberian railway: 7 days by train from Beijing through Mongolia, Siberia, the Ural Mountains and the endless russian plains.
Well, in fact it was the "Trans Mongolian" branch, the real Trans Siberian goes only through Russia, from Moscow to Vladivostok.
You can find maps, webcams and more info at the link below:
Tverskoi zastavy square, phone: 973-89-08, 973-84-64
Komsomolskaya square,2 phone: 266-25-42, 266-28-43
Kievskogo vokzala square, phone: 240-76-22, 262-62-30
Zemlyanoi Val street, 29 phone: 266-56-52, 266-48-20
Komsomolskaya square,3 phone: 262-42-81, 262-45-29
Leninskaya square, 1 phone: 235-46-73, 233-00-40 (add.21-35)
Rijskogo vokzala district, phone: 266-11-76
Komsomolxskaya square,5 phone: 266-05-95, 266-02-18
phone: 285-90-00 (add.56-34) 285-90-00(add.57-07)
A new train/electrichka has recently openend up that goes from Domodyedovo airport to Paveletskaya metro. It costs about $1 (30R) each way and is much cheaper, easier and faster than hiring a car. It is more comfortable than the typical Elektrichkas also, with padded individual seats and televisions screens playing music videos and cartoons. On the way back into Moscow though it was playing a tv show staring the Olson twins (if you don't know who these annoying tv teensw are, you are so very lucky!)...OK, so it isn't perfect, but if you bring earplugs and a book to read the twins shouldn't be to much of an annoyance!!!
During a work visit to Moscow, my colleagues told me that i should get aeroexpress back to the airport. It seems that the roads are very prone to grid lock.
The journey was non stop, and took 47 minutes. The tickets were reasonably priced. It also permitted me to see Moscow in day time and along the tracks to the airport.