Russia - Moscow to St. Petersburg Train

Feb 19th, 2009, 12:25 PM
  #1  
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Russia - Moscow to St. Petersburg Train

Has anyone taken the the train between these two cities? What was your experience? Wondering about overnight and 1st class which supposedly means you have your own cabin with beds. If so, where's the bathroom? Any difficulty with the workers on these trains?

Anything you have to tell me would be appreciated.
kenav is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:33 PM
  #2  
 
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kenav,

I have taken that train, and its a delightful trip. It leaves at midnight(If memory serves)and you pull early in the morning. If you travel in summer, its daylight as you pass picturesque hamlets close to St Petersburg.

We had a two person 1st class compartment with beds, the bathroom was clean and just at the end of the car. The porter will leave you drinks when you leave and will provide a small breakfast in the morning.

You will absolutely love St Petersburg, a true gem.
FrankS is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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kenav: took the overnight to Novgorod from Moscow (on to St. P by us)....back in 1985...not a great experience to report from what were USSR days. On most recent trip this past October, we did it by river travel.

I do recall that the 1984 train was filthy, smelly, 4 to a compartment (luckily, we had two friends with us)...surly would be the best description of the crew, including the gigantic "coach lady"...the one samovar held hot water for tea...toilets wee unspeakable....BUT, again that was 24 long years ago. I was told by some locals that thngs have improved..how much, I dunno....good luck. Fly, it's only a short flight (little more than an hour).

We just flew Aeroflot from St. P to Moscow, connection to Minsk...good flights, clean planes (with working seat belts!!)..also a far cry from the 80's...I was first in Soviet Russia 40+ yars ago...don't ask!

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/MapUSSR#

Here are a selected few OLD scanned pix which include one of yours truly on board that St. P overnighter. Sinister, wot?

Kenav: Keep us informed of your plans, perhaps I can be of help.
I do believe from several past posts that we have some similar ethnic interests.

stu Tower [email protected]
tower is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 01:08 PM
  #4  
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Frank S - Did you plan your travel through an agency or was the trip independent? Wondering about our ability to get around and communicate as we don't know any Russian except for thank you and blinis (and samovar?).

Got a quote from an agency for a private tour of $2100 per person (no air or meals), including airport pickups, transportation within and between the two cities (thus the train question), hotels, tours in the city all with guides and private driver. Never done anything like that before.


kenav is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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kenav,
Moscow for sure something like that would be handy as the city is so big. However, St Petersburg is very manageable on your own. We went to Russia and muddled along with a few Privets, kak delas, harishos, Das, nyets, etc and a map. Of course we had help every so often from English speakers along the way as many Russians speak English as a 2nd language. But when in crisis sometimes we resorted to balshoi grunts and mylinki pointing, but I think the locals werent too offended. In Moscow we did hire a driver for a day, the cost was minimal but so was the service.

Either way you choose, I think you are in for a memorable treat.
FrankS is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 07:41 PM
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I actually found Moscow easier to navigate than St. Petersburg, or at least not as hard on the feet, as the metro is more extensive. I took a day train from St. P. to Novgorod, and a night train on to Moscow, in 2004. (Do consider stopping in Novgorod!) Definite improvement over Stu's experience in the 80's, but not luxury (I wasn't in first, though). TR at www.wilhelmswords.com/rtw2004. The private tour price sounds way high to me, but Moscow has gotten very expensive, and it is private. I don't speak any Russian worth mentioning, but I did learn the Cyrillic alphabet.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 06:00 PM
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Hi Kenav,

We have talked to many who have been to both cities with tours, drivers, and with russian speaking friends and all said that a tour is the best way to go if you do not know the language especially Moscow.
Two of us have booked the 12th of May to both cities by train for 6 days with Finnsov Tours. We are English speaking as you can tell. The tour is totally in English and the group is extremely organized and been in business for 35 years.
We are people that usually travel independently but for Russia we will travel with this tour group. We have been to Helsinki and really like the Finnish people so that is why we chose to depart from Finland.
Good luck in whatever you decide. By the way we have booked at the Scandic Continental Hotel. Something is going on in May so many of the hotels were already booked in Helsinki.
Kappy is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 07:48 PM
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Kappy - What is the fee for this tour and what does the fee cover?
Thanks.
kenav is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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I've done it in reverse - STP to Moscow. I chose 2nd class (kupe) and had two other strangers in the cabin with me who were really nice. We all couldn't communicate, but hand signals worked fine! Surprisingly, I slept well. Bathrooms are at the end of the car. Flights are cheap and quicker, but trains are a great way to travel Russia!
trsny is offline  
Mar 10th, 2009, 03:24 AM
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hi all
im slightly behind in this thread but glad i found it

about the train

we are booked on the overnight to st petes from moscow
but i have read there are no showers

im thinking that would probably be right and ok

the bathrooms are what im worried about

what is the best thing to do shoe wise
see i bought these little sockettes - they look like lapti ( the russian peasant shoes) so im gonna fit right in there no probs
but
ewwwww
im thinking spillage and damp sockettes

not good hey ????

tell it how it is
i will prepare to do the camel thing and wait if need be lol

not being precious - i can camp out under the stars if need be but unhygienic conditions with lots of travellers around bother me a bit
lanejohann is offline  
Mar 10th, 2009, 05:58 AM
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"but i have read there are no showers" - well, no. There are very, very few trains that have showers! (That's why back-to-back night trains are a bad idea.)

You would do well to wear shoes or sandals to the toilet.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 10th, 2009, 06:23 AM
  #12  
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thursdaysd - "You'd do well to wear shoes or sandals to the toilet" -
Yeh, I figured that wold be the way to go. But, wondering - are the toilets clean? Or is the other poster lanjohann and I (if I do this) gonna say "ARGHH" every time we go?
kenav is offline  
Mar 10th, 2009, 06:33 AM
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"are the toilets clean? " - impossible to give a definitive answer. Depends on your fellow passengers, and how energetic the provodnitsa is. They'll be cleaner nearer the beginning of the trip than the end, I bet! I don't remember them as being too disastrous, but then I've traveled on Indian trains, and my standards aren't that high.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 06:40 PM
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just found this again
and want to thank you for your input thursdaysd

i havent yet found out from our travel agent what train we are booked on
it seems quite expensive compared to the one we booked online ourselves from stockholm to oslo was only 35 aud each!

the helsinki to tallin fast ferry on tallink silja line was 59 gbp each

but the train from moscow to st petes was 278 aud each and more than double that for a 2 bedder private - we will be sharing with 2 others in the coupe
seems a lot of money
or is it because it is the overnighter i wonder...
and the fact that we booked through an agent
lanejohann is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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For a second class sleeper that does sound a bit high. Of course, any agent is going to put the price up above what it would cost to buy the ticket at the station, but you don't want to go that route! However, did you try the link to www.realrussia.co.uk from www.seat61.com/Russia.htm#?
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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Dear Kenav,

Yes, I've taken that train between St. Pete. and Moscow about three different years. The last time was in 1999.

Definitely go first class! The first-class train is overnight, and it goes a little slower over the tracks so you can get some sleep. Depending what time of year you go, the first class train has air-conditioning in summer (first class), but you may have to share your cabin, unless you specify you want to pay for an entire berth. You can get a first-class cabin for two people if you're traveling with someone, but the general rule is if you travel alone, you'll have to share a berth despite your sexual gender! I hope you realize that!

First class is great. You get extra protection from armed guards, hot tea, and a breakfast when you get on the train.

You wondered about any problems with the train workers. Actually, my first experience with a Russian female conductor was a great one. She'd yell at the Russian men, but she treated me like a cute puppy! I of course spoke a little Russian, but when you only know a little Russian, you get yourself into a lot of talking-trouble! Learn a few Russian words and be nice to everyone, it comes in handy!!

Oh, the restroom, it's down the hall, you can't miss it! Just kiddin'. Sure, you'll be able to find it with no problem. Don't be surprised when you flush the toilet onto the tracks, that's pretty common with some Russian trains!

You'll get hot tea and if you're lucky, you might even make some Russian friends on the train who will invite you for some food, drink, singing, etc.!

Some good advice, never exchange money on a train, no matter who it may be, a new Russian friend, etc. Always exchange your money at currency exchange offices! (I always do!)

I have a longgggggg blog all about St. Pete, since I've only been there 14 times!
I give information and encourage anyone who wants to travel to St. Petersburg. (I hope to be starting something about Moscow soon. Oh, by the way, 'there ain't no cows in Moscow!! It's pronounced "MoskVA!")

Google my blog about St. Pete. It's called:

U-Can Travel!

Scroll down to the purple highlighted text and look under the title. Mine will be the one with "Aug. 7, 2009" as my first post.

Check it out, let me know what you think. . .

I just came back from Zurich and Luzern, Switzerland in June, where I met a young Russian lady, but she got married -- darn it!

Have you been to Luzern or Zurich?

Good luck in Russia, depending where you're going. Both Moscow and St. Pete are the "gems" of Russia. Moscow (at least in 2000) was more tourist friendly than St. Pete., but check out my blog, I'll warn you about things in St. Pete. to be alerted to . . .

Saslivite Pootie! Have a great trip!
lt43k8 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 03:07 PM
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Train was not a problem, it was clean and efficient. We did most of our touring on our own. Used buses and taxis without a problem. For out of the way palaces got a driver and guide. Loved St Peterburg, our hotel and most people we met were most accomodating.
randipellmar is offline  

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