Posted by Marco Ziegler on May 21, 2000 at 13:09:05:
How to get tickets from Moscow to Peterburg (since a lot of people ask me) ?
The easiest way to get the ticket (if you do it by yourself) is at the Leningradski Train Station (via metro Komsomolskaya). If you are fluent enough in Russian, you can try any booth for Russians. Make sure you show your MGU student card, which will give you some discounts (not on private trains). Usually you will be asked to show your passport (Russian), but you may just answer that you have omitted it.
If you are a foreigner and not fluent enough to be considered a 'Russian', you need to go to the *Intourist* ticket booth. It is on the left side when you enter from the main entrance. Try to purchase 2-3 days in advance so you can get a bottom bunk...easier to store you baggage under the bed (for 'hard sleeper', 2nd class, 4-berth compartment).
There are three basic classes for long distance train travel:
1. luxury-soft (lyuks or SV, CD) with two soft beds
2. coupé-soft (kupe) with four soft beds
3. platskart with six beds per compartment or standard seats depending on the wagon.
Schedules of all trains are posted in the entrance hall of every station. When you buy the ticket, ask only for a certain train number and the
day you would like to leave. Night trains will save you from having to pay for a hotel room for the night and it is convenient to depart in the evening and arrive the next morning.
One of the best (day) trains between St. Petersburg and Moscow is the Aurora, which leaves around 15:55 daily and arrives in Moscow around 22:00. Usually night trains leave at 10-11 p.m. in Moscow/St.Petersburg and arrive early in the morning in the other city. Try to take a "firmemnniy poezd" or "kommercheskiy poezd" commercial train. These have better service, are faster and stop less often.
Your ticket will indicate the train (poezd) number, wagon (vagon) and compartment(kupe). People meeting you will often ask for your compartment and wagon number. Russian trains are long, so it is handy to have someone there where you step off the train.
On the train: When you board the train, the conductor (provodnik) will put your ticket into his/her black pouch. It is usually given back when you reach your final destination and / or turn in you linen. The fee for linen on night trains is usually $1.00-2.00. It will vary from train to train. Just note what everyone else is paying if you don't speak Russian very well.
Toilets on most trains are without supplies. Take your own toilet paper and soap in a bag, maybe even a moist towelette to clean the toilet seat. The floors are often wet. A few are clean, most are not at all!
For longer trips on trains take a few snacks and dricks with you. There is usually no restaurant in night trains and even day trains run without food supplies.
Have a nice trip.
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