Night train to Moskva

I left St. Petersburg in the dead of the night, in order to catch the Krasnaya Strela (Red Arrow) overnight to Moscow. Luckily Simple Hostel was only a ten minute walk from the station thereby avoiding another encounter with rip off taxis.

There are dozens of trains which ply the busy St. Pete-Moscow route. The fastest are the daytime sapsan trains, apparently very comfortable and which take around four hours. These are a relatively recent introduction based on the German ICE trains. The fare seemed to be around £40-£50 when I checked.

I decided to take a night train, since another full day in St. Petersburg was preferable to a late arrival in Moscow and also it saved a night’s accommodation. I paid £30 for the train via the Russian Railways website, in a second-class sleeper carriage. This worked out very well, since I booked an empty room and it stayed that way for the duration.

The Krasnaya Strela is Train 1 in Russia (I am currently travelling on Train 2!) and, as with all of the “named” services it offers higher standards of accommodation. 

Certainly one of the shiniest trains I’ve ever seen

The inside has been described as a “Russian train manager’s idea of luxury” and whilst I think this is slightly harsh they have definitely gone big on the drapes and maroon. Despite this it’s a very comfortable place to rest overnight- My carriage was no more than a few years old and scrupulously clean.

They also provide a slightly random selection of food and accessories. I’m going to treasure the Russian Railways shoe horn.

The train pulled out of the station dead on time at 2355hrs. A bit of a clank-and-rattle fest at first however I soon settled down to sleep within the comfortable nest. I “upgraded” myself to the more expensive bottom bunk as I was alone anyway.

There are a range of variables in the price of sleeper trains. The second class cabin seems to be the best compromise between price and comfort. I personally prefer the upper bunks also- These are slightly cheaper and allow you the chance to excape your cabin mates as well as sleeping when you want to. It is a bit of a climb up though, which takes practice and contortion at first!

And so, I arrived into Moscow dead on time the next morning… 

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