Europe Trains Guide

Russia (RZD)

Country info: Russia (Россия)

Rail companies: RZD (Российские Железные Дороги)

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Russian Rail Network Map 

Currency: 1 euro =app. 75 Russian Rubles (RUB) 


Train travel in Russia: train types, tickets, fares, discounts & other useful info


National Train Service:

Train types in Russian Federation: Suburban (Пригородные), Suburban Express (Скорые Пригородные), Local (Местные), Passenger (Пассажирские); Express (Скорые) & High-Speed (Скоростные)


Long-distance trains (either 'Passenger' or 'Express') can as well be 'upgraded' and having so-called 'brand', which makes these trains 'Branded Trains' (фирменные поезда). RZD 'branded' trains are easy to recognize since usually they have special train name (e.g. "Russia" for Moscow to Vladivostok, "Amber" for Moscow to Kaliningrad, "Red Arrow" for Moscow to St.Petersburg), painted in unique livery and have newer carriages and shorter travel time compared to the other trains on the same route.

  • Suburban/Commuter (пригородные): commuter service mainly around big cities & towns, usually run for distance <200km, no seat reservation required, special commuter tariff applies. RZD suburban trains have a 4 digit number starting with 6***
  • Suburban Express (скорые пригородные ): express commuter service, meaning less stops than usual & compulsory seat reservation. Suburban Express trains have 4 digit number starting with 7***
  • Local (местные): regional train service (routes longer than suburban, but shorter than long-distance), these trains usually stay inside one administrative region or connect two neighboring regions, seat/bed reservation compulsory. Local trains have 3 digit number starting with 6**
  • Passenger (пассажирские): most common long-distance (often overnight) trains (with average route speed <50 km/h) found all over Russian Federation, seat/bed reservation compulsory. Passenger trains in Russia have 3 digit number starting with 3**, 4** (seasonal) or 5** (additional)
  • Express (скорые): fast long-distance trains (with average route speed >50 km/h), seat/bed reservation compulsory. Express trains have 3 digit numbers between 1-150 & between 181-298
  • High-Speed (скоростные): high-speed 'Sapsan' (Siemens Velaro RUS) EMU connecting  St.Peterburg and Moscow, 'Allegro' (Alstom Pendolino) connecting St.Petersburg and Helsinki, 'Swallow' (Lastochka) connecting St.Petersburg to Novgorod/Bologoe, St.Petersburg to Vyborg, St.Petersburg to Petrozavodsk, Moscow to Orel/Kursk, Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow to Smolensk, Moscow to Tver', Rostov to Krasnodar, Krasnodar to Adler, etc.) & 'Swift' (Stryzh) from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod. High-Speed trains in Russia have either 3 digit number between 151-178 ('Saspan') or 3 digit number starting with 7** or 8** ('Swallow',  'Allegro'  & 'Swift')

NB: in Russia for domestic journeys ticket and seat reservation are printed on one ticket sheet


Types of carriages in RZD trains:

  • Common (общий): mainly 'platskartnyi' couchette carriage where not 54 berths (as in usual 'platskartnyi') being sold to passengers, but 81 seats, thus basically turning couchette carriage into seating carriage, seat reservation compulsory (common carriages can be found in some Local & Passenger trains) 
  • Sitting (сидячий): various seating carriages used in Suburban, Suburban Express, Passenger, Express & High-Speed trains, can be aircraft type salon (1st, 2nd or 3rd class) or compartments (1st or 2nd class)
  • 'Platskartnyi' (плацкартный): 3rd class couchette carriage (3/6) with an 'open' compartments & 54 berths (beds #1-36 located in the open compartments, while beds #37-54 are on the side opposite to comparments, odd numbers are lower berths, even are upper. Berth reservation required. 'Platskartnyi' carriages can be found in Local, Passenger & Express trains 
  • 'Kupe' (купе):  2nd class sleeper carriage (2/4) with 'closed' compartments for 4 passengers, odd numbers are lower beds, even are upper ones. Bed reservation required. 'Kupe' carriages can be found in Local, Passenger & Express trains
  • 'Soft' (мягкий): 2nd class sleeper carriage (2/3) with 'closed' compartments for 3 passengers (standard RIC type), where all 3 beds located on one side of the compartment. Usually this type of carriages used by RZD in some international trains, bed reservation required
  • 'Lux' ('люкс' or as well known as 'СВ'): 1st sleeper carriage (1/2) with compartments for 2 passengers, both beds are lower ones, bed reservation required. 'Lux' carriages can be found in Passenger & Express trains 


Discounts, special offers & ways to save money for passengers traveling by train in Russia (RZD):

  • Since 2013 Russian Railways (RZD) introduced new ticket fare scheme for rail journeys within Russia. In brief, early ticket purchase ensures cheaper price. So when potantial passenger buys ticket 60-45 days in advance (--> ticket sale start for Russian domestic tickets) he or she will pay the lowest possible fare. However passenger buying the same ticket on the day of departure will pay higher price compared to the standard base tariff. At the moment such "dynamic" price scheme works for couple dozen of major routes (e.g. Moscow-Saint Petersburg-Moscow, Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod-Moscow, Moscow-Voronezh-Moscow, Moscow-Smolensk-Moscow, Moscow-Adler-Moscow, Moscow-Ekaterinburg-Moscow, Moscow-Kazan-Moscow, Moscow-Kislovodsk-Moscow, Saint Petersburg-Nizhny Novgorod-Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg-Voronezh-Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok-Khabarovsk, etc.)
  • RZD also offers special price for tickets bought in advance ("Plan in Advance" offer) for upper berths in 'kupe'. When buying tickets at least 16 days in advance passenger receives 30% discount (with trains departing between 09.03.2016 – 28.04.2016) or 15% discount when buying tickets 15-7 days in advance
  • Recently RZD also introduced so-called "Lucky Tuesdays" - each Tuesday RZD opens ticket sale for certain routes & trains, sometimes discount from the standard fare isn't very essential, but sometimes appear pretty good offers.
  • Another way to save on rail tickets in Russia is to take advantage of the seasonal indexations of domestic rail tariff in Russia. The 2016 table ('kupe' and 'lux' carriages) looks like this:
                Period Valid # of days
    Indexation Coefficient
1 January - 10 January
10 1,10 (higher by 10%)
11 January - 18 February
0,90 (cheaper by 10%)
19 February - 23 February
4 1,15 (higher by 15%)
24 February - 3 March
0,90 (cheaper by 10%)
4 March - 8 March
1,15 (higher by 15%)
9 March - 28 April
0,90 (cheaper by 10%)
29 April - 9 May 11
1,15 (higher by 15%)
10 May - 26 May 17
0,90 (cheaper by 50%)
27 May - 9 June
1,05 (higher by 15%)
10 June - 31 August
1,15 (cheaper by 10%)
1 September - 30 September
1,05 (higher by 15%)
1 October - 2 November
 0,90 (cheaper by 10%)
3 November - 6 November
1,15 (higher by 15%)
7 November - 16 December 40
0,90 (higher by 20%)
17 December - 22 December 6
1,00 (higher by 20%)
23 December - 28 December 6
1,05 (higher by 20%)
29 December - 30 December 2
1,15 (higher by 20%)
31 December 1
1,00 (higher by 20%)

What it all means? It means that passenger can pay either 90% or up to 115% from the regular fare in 'kupe' or 'Lux/SV' carriages depending on the day of the year


Traveling by train in Russia can be rather expensive, especially for passengers planning to visit many destinations or travel to the far east parts of Russian Federation. For instance journey on one of the most popular travel routes from Moscow to Vladivostok on the well-known Russian train Rossija (#1/2) lasts 145 hours and 9259 km, while ticket for such experience in 'kupe' carriage costs around 20k rubles (~400 euro) one way, expensive isn't it?

However there are some tricks on how it is possible to save money on such long distance travels in Russia. One is international train tickets for domestic Russian journeys, best deal here comes probably from Slovakia. Slovak Railwys (ZSSK) sell special CityStar ticket to Russia, which under certain conditions can be a good option for Trans Siberian travel. Let's look at some numbers of Slovakia-Russia CityStar (via Ukraine): CityStar ticket (Russia >1500km) costs 134,4 euro (one adult), while each next passenger pays only 50% or 67,2 euro, and that is the ticket price for return journey any station in Slovakia-Vladivostok-any station in Slovakia. Although it is only price of the ticket, but potential passengers will still need to buy sleeper reservations for trains they take on the road (unfortunately since a few years ago sleeper reservation for Russian trains aren't that cheap as they used to be, but still). For example sleeper reservation from Bratislava to Moscow (through carriage via Zilina, Kosice and  Ukraine) costs 32 euro, from Moscow to Vladivostok 231 euro(?), from Moskva to Irkutsk 155 euro(?), from Irkutsk to Vladivostok 134 euro(?) etc.

Similar international ticket 'trick' can be played using MPT tickets, for instance for traveling from Moscow to Irkutsk it can be cheaper to purchase international ticket Moscow-Irkutsk-first station in Mongolia (Suhbaatar) and then just get additional sleeper reservation Moscow-Irkutsk

(With 2014-2015 Russian ruble devaluation, use of international tickets for domestic journeys in Russia mostly lost its sense)



International Train Service:

Tariffs for international tickets used by Russian Railways (RZD):

  • for connections to Europe (Finland, Germany, France, Czech Republic etc.) Global Price, tariff currency - Euro
  • for connections to Europe (Poland) East-West tariff, tariff currency - Euro
  • for connections to former USSR countries MGPT 'interstate' (межгосударственный) tariff, which is cheaper than East-West, but more expensive than Russian domestic, tariff currency – Swiss Francs
  • for connections to China, Mongolia, Vietnam & North Korea it is MPT tariff, tariff currency – Swiss Francs

a) Regular discounts

  • 30% discount for seniors (>60 years old) & youth (<26 years old) for global price based tickets from Russia to Germany, France, Austria & Czech Republic
  • 20% discount for mini-groups (2-5 passengers) from global price based ticket fare from Russia to Germany, France, Austria & Czech Republic
  • 20% to 40% discount for groups (6 and more passengers) to many European countries
  • 50% off Hungarian part of East-West tariff fare for return journeys between Russia & Hungary via Ukraine
  • 10% discount on Russian part for return tickets in connection from Russia to Serbia (via Romania) & from Russia to Montenegro (via Romania, Serbia)
  • 10% discount on Russian part for return tickets in connection from Russia to Romania (via Ukraine)
  • 20% discount for return tickets from Russia  to Mongolia & North Korea  
  • 3% discount for buying online (via RZD website) interstate tickets from Russia to Azerbajan, Belarus, Kazhakstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Estonia, etc.

b) Special offers (SparSchiene)

  • For journeys with Moscow - Helsinki - Moscow ('Leo Tosltoy' train) passengers get 40% discount when buying their tickets 60-45 days in advance, 20% with 44-30 days & 10% discount with 29-14 days in advance (offer is valid for departures 09.03 – 28.04, 05.09-02.11 & 07.11-10.12.2016). Passengers receive 20% discount when buying their tickets 60-45 days in advance or 10% when buying 44-14 days in advance (offer is valid 29.03-04.09 & 03-06.11.2016)
  • For journeys from Moscow to Tallinn (train № 33/34) passengers get 15% discount when buying their tickets 60-31 days in advance & 10% with 30-21 days in advance purchase
  • For journeys from St.Petersburg to Tallinn (daytime №810/809 & № 812/811 trains) passengers get 20% off when buying their tickets 45-31 days in advance or 15% with 30-16 days in advance
  • For journeys from Moscow & St.Petersburg to Riga passenger buying out the entire 'kupe' or 'lux' comparment receive 25% discount
  • For journeys from Moscow & St.Petersburg to Riga passengers get 30% off when buying their tickets 45-31 days in advance or 15% with 30-21 days in advance
  • For journeys from Moscow & St.Petersburg to Vilnius passengers get 15% off when buying their tickets 45-31 days in advance or 10% with 30-21 days in advance
  • For journeys from Russia to Belarus passengers get 15% off when buying their tickets 60-31 days in advance or 10% with 30-21 days in advance

c) CityStars

Offer similar to CityStar in Russia is called 'Ekonomnye ceny' (Экономные цены), it is available for Russia-Montenegro (via Romania and Bulgaria) & Russia-Slovakia, Russia-Bulgaria connections

Ticket fares to some popular international destinations (cheapest 2nd class tickets): Moscow to Vienna (151,05 euro for adults or 105,74 euro for youth/seniors), Moscow to Budapest (via Poland) 174,90 euro, Moscow to Berlin (train #23/24, 121,35 euro for adults or 84,95 euro for youth/seniors), Moscow to Milan (train #17/18, 211,76 euro for adults or 148,23 euro for youth/seniors), Moscow to Warsaw (train #23/24, 98,01 euro for adults or 68,01 euro for youth/seniors), Moscow to Paris (train #23/24, 173,10 euro for adults or 121,17 euro for youth/seniors), Moscow to Prague (train #21/22, 147,54 euro for adults or 103,28 euro for youth/seniors), etc.



How to Buy Train Tickets in Russia:

National (domestic), interstate (to former USSR countries) and international (global price based) tickets can be purchased via RZD website -



Do you still have further questions or want to share your own travel experience? You are welcome on our Forum page



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