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A.P. Chekhov, 1890

Travelling on the Trans-Siberian in style: wi-fi, gyms, libraries, restaurant carriages, children's playrooms - even arrange for your own carriage to be attached to the train

15 August 2012

Siberia is associated with one thing above all: the Trans-Siberian Train Journey, with every capital letter in its name fully justified.

It can only be the Russians, who are so used to the distances they have to cross getting from one part of the country to another, that they take it as an ordinary journey. 

To the rest of the world, as The Daily Telegraph writer Adrian Bridge said, is it an extraordinary experience: ‘We had met scores of intriguing, inspiring people. We had drunk to the end of the Cold War with Russians and dined with Japanese. We had enjoyed sunsets over Siberia… We had crossed time zones and great geopolitical divides. We had seen silver birch trees, silver birch trees and more silver birch trees. We had enriched our lives’. 

how to get to Siberia by train how to get to Siberia by train

Departure from Moscow train station, and arrival to Vladivostok six days later. Pictures: Russian Railways


It will take you a minimum of 146 hours and 13 minutes, or six days to get from Moscow to Vladivostok, if to follow the ‘Classic’ Trans-Siberian route, which means that you are not stopping halfway and turning right, to Mongolia and China. Exactly nine thousand, two hundred and twenty six (9,226) kilometers of new impressions, with two hundred kilometers of the route going along magnificent Lake Baikal. 

Travellers can go all the way to Pacific, non-stop, or combine some travel on this great train journey with stopovers in Siberia's exotic cities and then make plane, or even river, hops to the destinations that really interest them, whether the remoter reaches Baikal or Yakutia, Altai or the Yenisei. 

Now exploring Siberia is easier than ever, both in terms of ever-better connections and a radical and ongoing improvement in hotel accommodation and tourist infrastructure. See more about hotels development in the cities along the Trans-Siberian railway in CityFocus/where-to-stay  (flick through the cities via ‘choose your city’ option, at the top of the page, a service we, too, will be improving and updating). 

The Siberian Times will explore other train routes to, from and about Siberia, but to start with here we offer a closer look at the types of trains which cross the Trans Siberian, and the services you can expect there, like wi-fi and phone connection, business meeting rooms, computer games rooms, gyms, kids playrooms, showers and basic clothes maintenance rooms with ironing boards. 

There is even an option to order an extra comfort carriage comprising only four compartments, personal showers with heated floors, wifi and phone connection and extra large beds — a great idea for a party! The service is available to companies, and should be pre-booked via the Federal Passengers Direction, see Russian Railways website for more details. 

Russian Railways say they are working hard on making sure that all their trains offer maximum comfort, installing conditioning systems and aiming that the summer time temperature inside the carriage are set for between 22-26C, and winter at 18-22C. 

There is a type of trains called ‘firmenniy’. These are worth knowing about before you book tickets, as they are more comfortable to travel with. Each of such train has its own name, linked to the history of the destination it services, its own unique colour, livery, interior design and a team of highly experienced attendants. 

The restaurant carriages have seats reserved for passengers with children, and passengers with limited physical abilities, with an option to order anything from the menu with delivery to the compartment. 


TICKETS 

There are also three classes of tickets — in russian they sound like platzcart, coupe and SV, which stands for economy, second and first class. No matter the class you are traveling, every ‘firmenniy’ train would have its own restaurant carriage, open from early morning till midnight. 

Russian train ticket, translated into English

Scheme to help you make sense of your Russian train ticket. Picture: The Russian Railways, rzd.ru


SV, or the first class compartment is one of the most comfortable, and about twice as expensive as coupe (second class). Each compartment has two berths, a table where you can work and eat, good luggage space underneath and above the berths, and quite often a television. Single first class ticket on Moscow-Vladivostok ‘firmenniy’ train sells at 35,932 roubles (€918, $1,190). Please note that the prices vary depending on season and availability. 

Coupe, or second class compartment are the same size, as first class, but with four berths, with luggage space and table shared between larger number of passengers. Single coupe ticket on Moscow-Vladivostok ‘firmenniy’ train is 19,631 roubles (€501, $650). 

Third class compartments are the most economical way of traveling. Quite often Russian people would refer to it as to ‘platzcart’ — the word has been copied from German a while ago and is widely used to refer to this type of train carriage. What do you get? Your own bed, a table, a place to put your luggage — plus a good company, as there are no walls between you and all the other people in the carriage. Single platzcart ticket on Moscow-Vladivostok ‘firmenniy’ train is 9,356 roubles (€239, $309).

Please note that in Russia on all train tickets departure and arrival times are given in Moscow time, no matter where you buy the ticket, or which part of the the Trans-Siberian line you are on. Whatever the time zone, though, trains are usually punctual.

Prices vary depending on high (end of spring-summer) or low seasons; advanced booking should give the best value. 

Should you wish to buy a paper ticket, a full list of Russian Railways ticket offices in English is here.

Tour companies are widening their choices of packages to Siberia, but in fact it is also easier than ever, thanks to the Internet bookings and the myriad new connections to the outside world for the free-spirited to find their own way here and explore this part of Russia. 

For those of you who do so, please do contact us and tell us your impressions on news@siberiantimes.comBon voyage! 


                               

Rossiya, Russia's Number One train

ROSSIYA 
Aka 'The Main Train of Russia' 

The route:
Moscow to Vladivostok
The distance: 9,226 km
Time on way: 146 hours, 13 minutes 

Departs from Moscow: even days
Departs from Vladivostok: odd days

First class ticket: 35,932 roubles, €918, $1,190

Second class ticket: 19,631 roubles, €501, $650

One of the longest train routes in the world, in earlier times trains took it sixteen days to get from Moscow to Vladivostok. Two hundred kilometres of the route go along awesome lake Baikal, just one of the unforgettable sights. Expect the best Russian hospitality from the highly experienced teams of attendants. 


Services on board:
restaurant carriage, showers, library, children playroom, basic clothes maintenance room with ironing board. Passengers can cook and store food at carraige's attendant compartments, which are equipped with fridges, microwaves and stoves.



Sibiryak, goes along Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Novosibirisk

SIBIRYAK
The name translates as 'The Siberian' from Russian

The route:
Moscow to Novosibirsk

The distance: 3,303 kilometres

Time on way: 47 hours 27 minutes 


Departs from Moscow: odd days

Departs from Novosibirsk: even days 


First class ticket:
roubles, €, $

Second class ticket: 9,534 roubles, €244, $316 

Third class ticket: 5,409 roubles, €138, $179

Services on board: compartments for people with limited physical liabilities, restaurant carriage with traditional Siberian dishes and European cuisine; library, children playroom, children library, internet room, shower, ironing board, fridge, microwave and stove. 


               

Yenisei train, Moscow to Krasnoyarsk, Western Siberia

YENISEI
The trains is named after one of the mightiest Siberian rivers 


The route:
Moscow to Krasnoyarsk

The distance: 4,044 km

Time on way: 60 hours 30 minutes 

Departs from Moscow: odd days

Departs from Krasnoyarsk: even days 

First class ticket: 26,313 roubles, €673, $873

Second class ticket: 13,292 roubles, €340, $441 

Third class ticket: 5,984 roubles, €153, $198

Services on board: restaurant carriage, newspapers and magazines, food delivery to compartment, showers, ironing board, fridge, microwave, stove. 


                            

Children playroom on board of Altai train

ALTAI
The train is named after magnificent Altai Mountains, one of the jewels of Western Siberia 


The route:
Moscow to Barnaul 

The distance: 3,420 km

Time on way: 56 hours, 40 minutes 

Departs from Moscow: odd days

Departs from Barnaul: even days 

First class ticket: 9,629 roubles, €246, $320

Second class ticket: 8,595 roubles, €220, $285 

Third class ticket: 3,977 roubles, €102, $132

Services on board: restaurant carriage, food delivery to compartment, internet room, shower, ironing board, fridge, microwave, stove; souvenir shops, taxi order at the arrival via the train attendants.


getting to Siberia by train

BAIKAL
The train is named after Baikal, the world's oldest and deepest lake


The route:
St Petersburg to Irkutsk 

The distance: 4,416 km

Time on way: 86 hours, 35 minutes 

Departs from St Petesrburg: odd days

Departs from Irkutsk: even days 

First class ticket: roubles, €, $

Second class ticket: 11,084 roubles, € 284, $367 

Third class ticket: 6,769 roubles, € 173, $225

Services on board:
restaurant carriage, food delivery to compartment, internet room, shower, ironing board, fridge, microwave, stove; souvenir shops, taxi order at the arrival via the train attendants.


Pictures: The Russian Railways, rzd.ru and glavpoezdrus.ru 

Comments (18)

is the fare u showed include food & taxes ? Do they provide emergency medical support ?
Rashed chowdhury, Dhaka.
27/10/2017 22:46
1
0
Please help me to come next year in Siberia for 15 day. Tank ioy.
Giovanni Della-Rossa, Italy Venice
18/09/2017 15:47
1
0
If you have enough money, try "Imperial Russia Train". Route: Moscow – Vladivostok, Moscow – Beijing, Moscow – Ulan Bator and reverse direction http://rzdtour.com/en/?cat=41
ED, Russia
08/08/2016 16:04
15
4
Amazing to travel like that, I would love to go on such a trip, maybe some day...
Tanya Doyle, Canada
26/07/2016 10:43
5
1
It's nice to read that people over the World are interested in travel across Siberia. So, what's problem? Welcome to Siberia, ladies and gentlemen! Come and see Baikal, Sayan mountains, tayga, bears (don't forget to offer them some Vodka :)) and many other things.
Boris, Irkutsk/Russia
07/04/2016 16:37
11
0
The Siberians I met in Russia in 1989 were some of the most warm-hearted and endearing Russians I met in the USSR. And TALL too! And BIGGER than life. They HAVE to be! :)
Jon, Santa Barbara, CA
16/02/2016 14:05
10
0
You mentioned tea but you did not specify what sort because the are big differences.Microwave was mentioned but I heard microwaves were illegal in Russia???I have learned to avoid microwaves desperately.
peter noore, australia/brisbane
28/10/2015 11:10
3
9
Long ago in the 1960's I traveled on a train called "The California Zephyr" in a dome car. It was wonderful!
These sound like great trips and everyone should try rail travel at least once.
RFFM, Stockton, alifornia
01/10/2015 22:49
8
1
Sorry, its not a comment, but can you tell me what would cost a train trip Vladivostok-Berne (Switzerland), Second class? (Swiss Francs or US$) Thanks and best regards. Bernard
Bernard Humm, Bremgarten/Berne Switzerland
25/02/2015 22:40
5
7
La familia del padre de mis hijos era de Pinsk, nos encantaría poder visitar el país que es bellisimo. Lo mejor que tiene internet es que traduce todos los idiomas y así se pueden apreciar los comentarios. Este tren era el Expreso de Orinte ? gracias, a mis hijos les encantaría visitar el país de sus abuelos.
Vilma Spinelli, Mendoza - Argentina
25/02/2015 04:59
1
2
heard of this train ride all my life now iam 72 and so much closer to going. for those asking for free food with your ticket . get real. bring your lunch. myself I will have dinner in the dinning car. and leave a big tip. and say thank you for such a wonderful trip of a life time.
w. lee, douglas arizona usa
10/02/2015 09:57
9
1
Every effort should be made to take this trip at least once. It is eye opening. I am privileged to have travelled the route, though slightly shorter, of the trans-Mongolian in July 1992. My total route was mammoth:

1. ship Taiwan (Kaohsiung) - Macau (24 hours - route now sadly discontinued),

2. ship Macau - Hong Kong (a couple of hours)

3. train Guangzhou - Beijing (33 hours)

4. train Beijing - Ulaanbaatar (24+ hours)

5. train Ulaanbaatar - Moscow (5 days)

6. train Moscow - Warsaw (24 hours)

7. coach Warsaw - Barcelona (via stop in Tubingen, Germany - 24 hours)

8. coach Barcelona - Gothenburg, Sweden

9. ship Gothenburg - Amsterdam

10. ship Amsterdam - London



I will one day, God willing, travel the whole length - both ways.
Ian Godfrey, Hong Kong
20/12/2014 07:54
13
2
I dream about that trip, but I wish there would be stops long enough to explore the Siberian cities like Novosibirsk , Krasnoyarsk, Omsk etc. I've heard that they are beautiful.
NM, San Clemente, CA USA
14/11/2014 12:23
16
2
It is not clear from the description whether the food is included in the tickets or one has to pay additionally, while on the train, to order it. Can somebody clarify this? I am especially asking about YENISEI--which goes from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk. Thanks.
PM, India
30/08/2014 04:15
10
9
It is not clear from the description whether the food is included in the tickets or one has to pay additionally, while on the train, to order it. Can somebody clarify this? I am especially asking about YENISEI--which goes from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk. Thanks.
PM, India
30/08/2014 04:14
1
3
12

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