Wednesday, 1 September 2010

He's got a ticket to ride...

What an anti-climax! I've had a harder time buying a train ticket in the UK. Still, no complaints and for anyone reading this, I'd recommend doing your homework before hand and come as over prepared as I did.

With all the relevant details of train and required ticket (the cheapest going) printed off all I had to do was hand over my passport, registration and the money.

I used the following guide to navigate my way through the Russian state rail network website (RZD) where you can find the relevant details for the day you want to travel. Its pretty much just a case of running the site through 'Google Translate' once you've inputted the relevant stations in Russian. [Санкт-Петербург / Москва]

Similar info is on the guide above but the important things from my experience are:

1. The date, time and tickets for each train are only released up to 45 days in advance.
2. The cheapest tickets [плацкартный ] sell quickly so get in there early. Even a week and a half in advance didn't give me much choice.
3. There are high-speed services (3-4 hours) from St Petersburg to Moscow but they're, unsurprisingly, quite a bit more expensive.
4. I went to the ticket office at about 10:30am on a Wednesday and there was no queue. The office is open from 08:00 - 20:00 so probably best to avoid peak times in morning and evening.
5. My train is going overnight, comes in at a pretty awful time (04:47) but only cost me about £15! Yes, £15! Considering what I'd pay for an equivalent trip from say London to Edinburgh this is incredible. And I get a bed to sleep in!
6. Though I'm planning on coming back to St Petersburg when I return to the UK it doesn't seem to be the norm to book return tickets. I think each journey has to booked seperately.

Happy travels!

P.S - For someone who doesn't own a single Beatles album I'm doing well with my song references!

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