Train types and description
Most long distance trains are classified by service level and speed movement, if you choose one of our Trans-siberian package you will use fast trains, if you wish to take many city tours on your trans-siberian trip, especially within Russia you may use lower category passenger trains. Check our online timetable for the departure days of each trans-siberian train ticket and price, international and domestic.
- Fast train (skorry poezd) – Train number from 1 to 160. Very comfortable and fast trains with minimum stops only in large cities. Convenient timetable (departure at night, arrival at the morning). Average speed – 70-90 km/h.
- Fast train with special name (firmeny poezd) – All the same, only better service level (cleaner cars, politer attendants). Trains example: The ‘Rossia’ train nr.2, connecting Moscow and Vladivostok or the ‘Krasnaya Strella’ (‘Red Arrow’), connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. Average speed – 60 km/h
- Passenger train (passazhirskiy poezd) – Train number from 170 to 870. Looks like an intercity train and makes more stops. Average speed – 40-50 km/h.
- Speed train (skorostnoj poezd) – Train number from 161 to 169. Very comfortable trains with average speed 100 km/h. All cars equipped with DVD player, comfortable seats. Only available on some specific routes.
Classes on the Trans-siberian Railway
If you travel on the trans-siberian railway you will use either Russian trains, Mongolian trains or Chinese trains. Trains in Russia, Mongolia and China are very comfortable and have usually 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes. You will find bellow in details the trains description and comfort. You can also take a virtual tour to Trans-Siberian train. And if you want to read a life experience, check the blog from Stephanie Santschi – travel on the rail from Moscow to Beijing with the transsib.
First Class has two berths in each cabin, 9 compartments per coach. The beds are either in bunk bed upper and lower alignment with a small sofa (on Chinese / Mongolian trains) or two lower beds (on Russian trains). There are 2 wash rooms and toilets one on each end of the corridor and are usually very clean. All compartments are lockable. First classes on the trans-siberian train are also known as Spalny Vagon or SV. In high season only, train N4 and N24 have special luxury wooden compartments with a sink wash room attached to the compartments.
Second Class has four comfortable beds per cabin, 9 compartments per coach. There are 2 wash rooms and toilets one on each end of the corridor and are usually very clean. All compartments are lockable. Second classes on the trans-siberian train are also known as Kupe. Bottom berths have odd numbers (1,3,5 etc.), upper berths have even numbers (2,4,6,8 etc.).
Third Class consist of an open-plan dormitory car with 54 bunks per coach, arranged in bays of 4 on one side of the aisle and bays of 2 along the coach wall. Third classes on the trans-siberian trains are also known as platskartny. Bottom berths have odd numbers (1,3,5 etc.), upper berths have even numbers (2,4,6,8 etc.).
Comfort, Dinning car and Staff on board
All International trains keep high standards. Russian Railways do also provide in some trains a service wagon which has a pay-for shower and Internet / laundry services, but this carriage is not confirmed on each service at the moment. We recommend you to book 1st or 2nd class if your train trip takes more than one night. There is limited availability of First Class carriages and we strongly recommend you book far in advance if you would like a chance to travel with a First Class tickets.
Whichever class of travel you choose, each coach is looked after by a pair of attendants called a ‘provodnik’ (male) or ‘provodnitsa’ (female). The provodnik will check your ticket at the door to the sleeper when you board. Shortly after departure, the provodnik will come round to take your ticket and give you the bedding (two sheets, pillowcase and towel) which is handed out in sealed packs – blankets and mattresses will already be stacked in your compartment. A samovar with unlimited free hot water is available at the end of the corridor – pack some tea or coffee, sugar, soups or water-based drinking chocolate and bring your own mug. Most long distance trains have a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks, and inexpensive full meals – less than EUR 20 for two courses and a couple of bottles of beer.
Toilets and showers on trans-siberian trains
Each carriage has its own provodnik who does the daily cleaning. At each end of the carriage there is a toilet with a WC and a small sink. Most of the times the toilets are getting dirty quickly but you can ask the personal on board to clean if necessary, you’d better have liquid soap and soft wet pads with you. There are no showers in 2nd class carriages, showers are provided in every compartment only in the 1st class in the train #3 and #4, and in a separate carriage (so called service-wagon) only in some trains for extra payment – about 150 Rouble. Russian trains aren’t all equipped with retention-toilets, the toilets discharge onto the track. For that reason, the toilets will be locked by the coach attendants about 20 min. before arriving at stations until about 20 min. after departure.
Electricity and sockets on trans-siberian trains
Every carriage has at least one or two sockets next to the toilets. First class and newer second class carriages always offer individual sockets in each compartment. Avoid using sockets in toilet facilities for other purpose than shaving since it may damage your cell-phone.
Extra car or Facilities for disabled people
On some selected trains leaving from Moscow and St. Petersburg there are special carriages for wheelchair users with wide corridors, toilet facilities and larger cabin space, though in the main, there are no special provisions available. You may check the Russian railway website for a list of trains with cars for the Disabled.
Safety on the trans-siberian
Safety on the trans-siberian trains should not be a problem, although sensible precautions such as not displaying valuables should be taken. Every carriage has one or two conductors, who look after it 24 hours a day. Every passenger gets his ticket checked upon entry and must present a passport to get on the train. Most trains have a police team on board. Compartment doors can be locked from the inside (unless you are in third class) and it is advisable to get the attendant to lock it from the outside with their tool if leaving the compartment to get off or go to the restaurant car.