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Luxury Travel on the Nevsky Express in Russia

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Travelling by train in Russia has always been an interesting experience.

Moscow - St Petersburg Train Ticket

Rumbling through the snowy forests of Siberia or sampling vodka with your fellow passengers before tumbling out into a forgotten nowhere in the middle of the night. The memories of the sights, and just as often the smells, stay with you long after the journey has finished.

Many people’s experience of Russian trains is gained on the route between Moscow and St Petersburg, the closest Russia gets to tourist hotspots. Now, however, the State Russian Railway Company has launched two new luxury trains to ply the route which means the experience will be interesting in a whole new way.

The first of these new luxury trains is the No. 4 /3 Express and will depart daily from Moscow and St Petersburg at 23:59 and arrive at the destination at 08:00. The trains will be made up of 4 categories of coaches allowing passengers to choose which level of luxury they wish to enjoy.

The trains are somewhat confusing in that there are two categories of VIP, which means, at the top end, the air conditioned compartments can be converted into a living room or office, have their own bathrooms as well as internet access and DVD players.

If that seems just too luxurious then there are standard sleeping coaches and simple seats available. And it must not be forgotten that in Russia, perhaps more than anywhere else, luxury comes at a price.

A ticket in the top VIP coach costs about 20,000 roubles for the eight hour trip between Moscow and St Petersburg. The price of a seat is between 1 and 2,000 roubles. As a point of comparison the cheapest air tickets between the two cities are currently about 1,000 roubles.

The Alexander Nevsky, a similar train that plies the route and has even higher standards of comfort and prices. Here passengers can even chose between vertical bunk style beds or, for the more intimate feel, double beds.

Anyone who has travelled by train in Russia will know that the standards of customer assistance are not traditionally high, service with a smile it is not. And yet the new trains are attempting to change this. According to Russian Railways the train crews are drawn from ‘the best conductors, stewards and restaurant staff’ available. The company also claims that ‘the train crews had to undergo competitive certification before serving on the trains.’ This may mean that the staff glower a little less and help a little more. Do not be fooled into thinking it means smiles, because it doesn’t.

One thing that is very useful about these trains is the times. They mean that visitors can have a full day in one city, a night on the train and then a full day in the next, saving themselves the cost of a hotel and flying during the day. However, this depends entirely on your ability to sleep on trains so those cheap seat tickets are out.

While only the very wealthy will be considering the luxury options provided by these trains, everyone else can take comfort from the fact that the Russian Railway company is waking up to the fact that it needs to run trains at times customers would like and with staff who actually help. These are small steps in the right direction.

Photo of Moscow – St Petersburg train ticket by jackiepoh

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

6 responses to “Luxury Travel on the Nevsky Express in Russia”

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  1. Custom Designed Travel says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Luxury travels and accommodations always come at a price. Mostly they are intended for people who are not quick to count their money every time they spend. For most people who are not so privileged, the only option would be to save up before taking a trip, if one wants to have a luxurious experience. Perhaps if the staff are given tips, they will smile a lot more?

  2. Ben says:
    May 29th, 2009 at 7:41 am

    If you tip the provodnitsa at the end of the trip she will wave you goodbye with a big smile. Other than that forget it

  3. Online Entertainment Guide says:
    November 4th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Thats interesting.. but what are the most famous attraction in Russia where train facility easily available to enjoy both Traveling in train n the famous attractions..

  4. Jack Hood says:
    October 24th, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I am planning on taking one of trains from Moscow to Beijing,China starting July 23, 2011. I will be staying in one of the sleepers . What kind ofservice can I expectto g
    et during the trip such as meals, loungeing car etc.?

  5. Casol Villas France says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Great news, thank you Will. Looking forward in trying this Train service on our next trip to Moscow.

  6. Benedicto says:
    October 19th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I want to experience riding a train during vacation especially when you see the interesting part of the country in Russia. I hope they can apply it here in Guatemala to provide it on the tourist in spending there Holiday here in Guatemala.


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