How to Buy a Russian Train Ticket

Author: waytorussia (on 11 Jun 2019)

If you'd like to buy a Russian train ticket, you can do it yourself at a train station, through a travel agency, or online. There are also some tips and tricks that are useful to know: which places on the train are the best, how to read your tickets, how to exchange or refund it. Below we gather all the information you need.

Buying Your Russian Train Tickets Online

  • Step 1: Go to the website of the Russian railways or use our online train ticket reservation service with English-language support team.
  • Step 2: Choose the dates, the time, and the trains you prefer. When choosing the trains, look out for "Firmenny" (фирменный) type of trains, which are usually only slightly expensive but have a much better level of service.
  • Step 3: Choose the class — 2nd class is the 4-berth compartments, 3rd class are the common carriages (economy class sleeper). We recommend the 2nd class if you want to have a good sleep and the 3rd class if you're after a cool train experience and saving money. Also, women might feel more comfortable in the 3rd class as it's a bit more public, so you don't run the risk of ending up with some people you don't know in a closed compartment (although we've never heard about any problems). Your stuff are probably safer in the 2nd class wagon and those also tend to be more comfortable and have more sleeping space.
  • Step 4: Choose the wagon — we recommend to get one with the air-conditioning as it ensures you'll have the right temperature both in summer and in winter. 
  • Step 5: Choose the seats — if you want to have a good sleep, get the top bunk beds, so nobody disturbs you. If you want to sit around, choose the lower bunk beds. For the 3rd class if you're a couple you might want the side 2-person compartments, but they are quite small, so they're good for sitting, but not for sleeping. 
  • Step 6: Don't bother getting the extras, such as food: it costs about €5 extra but what you get is not really worth it. There's a little shop on every train and for the long journeys you can buy food at the train's restaurant or outside at the longer stops.
  • Step 7: Pay online using your credit card, have your passport ready (make sure you bring it with you when you board the train)
  • Step 8: Download your e-ticket after you ordered it and save it into your smart phone or print it out. You will need to show it when you are boarding the train. Make sure the ticket has all the right information and that it says "e-registration is passed".


Buying your Train Ticket in Russia at a Train Station

A word of warning: almost no cashiers speak English, so you are very unlikely to find a person who'd be able to help you. That's why it's better to buy your tickets online. The price is the same, but there's much less hassle. However, if you decide to buy your train tickets in person, we highly recommend you to print out the online train schedule for your trip, so you could simply show it to the cashier to get the right ticket for the right date. 

  • Step 1: Print out the online train schedule for the train you need
  • Step 2: Find any train station and go there in person. Take your passport. Without your passport you can't buy your ticket or board your train.
  • Step 3: Show the print out to the cashier and ask them to issue the ticket to you. Make sure you explain which class and which bed you want (top bunk or lower bunk).  
  • Step 4: You will get a paper ticket, which you can use to board the train. You can pay cash or with a credit card for it.


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