St. Petersburg to Moscow Night Train Options

St. Petersburg to Moscow Night Train Options

Traveling by rail during the day can be a lively experience – watching the countryside roll swiftly by while the train speeds along to your destination or chatting with fellow travelers in the dining car. But there is also a certain romantic allure to riding slowly through the night, not to mention the economy of traveling while you sleep, starting the new day in a new city and saving your daylight hours for the sights and diversions of Russia itself. So, if you’re traveling from St Petersburg to Moscow and interested in taking a “sleeper” train, it’s a good idea to understand the different options for night trains and what they offer.

The Economic Option – The Ordinary Trains

 

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The ordinary passenger, or non-branded Russian trains, are the cheap option for travelers looking for a sleeper train. While still good, reliable trains, non-branded trains are generally older, slower and lack many of the amenities of the other options. They also tend to make more stops, increasing the travel time even more. That said, they are a very affordable option for travelers just looking to sleep away the journey to their destination. These trains usually offer only Third Class (Platskart), which gives you a berth in a common area of several bunks (about $45 US dollars) or Second Class (Kupe), which offers a more typical 4 berth compartment. Some non-branded trains may even offer a non-sleeper seating option which can be less than $20 US.

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The Quality Option – The Firmeny Trains

 

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Firmeny, or branded trains, are more modern trains, with better facilities and services than the non-branded trains. They also tend to make fewer stops, meaning they arrive sooner (about an hour or so faster on the St Petersburg to Moscow rail route). Everything from food to bed linens is generally a cut above that on the non-branded trains. Branded trains can be identified by ID numbers beginning with 0, such as 016A. They also commonly have a name, such as Arktika or Megapolis, and often their own unique design. In addition to the Second and Third Class options available on the non-branded trains, Firmeny trains offer First Class (Spainy Vagon) in a compartment with two berths (with a price ranging up to about $140).

The Historic Option – The Red Arrow

 

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The most popular train in Russia is also the oldest – the historic Krasnaya Strela, or Red Arrow. Once the transport of choice for Communist Party elite moving between Moscow and Leningrad (as St Petersburg was known at the time), the Red Arrow first launched in 1931, and is now a sleeper making nightly departures out of the St Petersburg train station at 23:55 to the song “The Hymn to the Great City”. Moving at a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour and with no other stops, the train takes approximately 8 hours to reach Moscow. With its trademark deep red color on the exterior and its velvet curtains and wooden accents within, the Red Arrow is a fully modernized train that is still the picture of classic elegance. The train’s St. Petersburg to Moscow tickets range from Second Class (compartments with 2 upper and 2 lower berths, for about $50 US) to First Class (about $115 US, compartments with 2 lower berths) to VIP First Class (about $200 US, as a First Class compartment but with a private shower and toilet).

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Pick the Option Right For You

While night trains are slower than their daytime counterparts, they offer a unique experience all their own. A trip in a sleeper car should be an indispensable part of your Russian railways adventure. Find the balance of cost and quality that best fits you and the kind of trip you want, then take a ride on a night train.

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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