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Experiencing Luxury and History on the Red Arrow, St. Petersburg Train Going to Moscow

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Experiencing Luxury and History on the Red Arrow, St. Petersburg Train Going to Moscow
Experiencing Luxury and History on the Red Arrow, St. Petersburg Train Going to Moscow

One of the overnight St. Petersburg to Moscow trains has a long, historical past. Offering high standards of service, it has been running since 1931. Moreover, when the Red Arrow leaves the St. Petersburg railway station  at 23:55 (11:55 p.m.), the same song has been playing since 1965. That’s “The Hymn to the Great City” composed by Reinhold Glière in 1949. In 2003, it became the hymn of the city of St. Petersburg itself. Because St. Petersburg trains abound, anyone can enjoy the spirit, with or without a widely-broadcast song.

A relic of the Soviet era, the Red Arrow’s cars and their trim are, in fact, fire-engine red. The Krasnaya Strela, as it’s known, used to transport important Communist Party figures between the two cities. Today, it serves not only to transport between two fascinating metropolises, but as an attraction itself on a Russian vacation. While passengers await being dropped at the foot of captivating architecture and the Moskva River, they can relish the history in the area, as well as of the train itself, as they glide along the tracks. Some might even be so thrilled they spend their time on board planning what to do and where to eat in Moscow instead of sleeping!

Introduction

Second and First classes Red Arrow tickets are divided into additional categories, with meals starting in second class. No matter the class of ticket booked, each compartment comes with certain standard features. The doors lock, and the cabin has air conditioning, a table, a mirror and a 220V socket. Bottles of water await on the table. Unlike on other trains, on the Red Arrow every class includes bed linen. The linen improves with the pricier tickets.

Second Class (2К, 2Т, 2Э)

Travelers hoping to make the most of their budget will wonder about the three types of second-class tickets. The cryptic 2K can be ruled out quickly for most. The handicapped and those accompanying them enjoy these low-priced tickets.

Starting at ₽3500 (about $55), the 2T is another second-class ticket. This ticket reserves one berth in a four-berth cabin (kupe) with bunkbeds. There are two bathrooms per car in 2T. Passengers receive a hygiene kit. For entertainment, the media portal “Poputchik” is available, as well as newspapers.

Finally, 2Э is a class priced the same as 2T. The major difference is that pets can travel. Same-gender cabins are available as well. The other services are identical to 2T.

First Class (1T, 1Э)

Spalny vagon is the name for first class. With this 1T ticket, passengers share a cabin with only one other occupant. The sofas convert to beds across from one another. Some simply buy the entire cabin to enjoy more privacy. Booking in a gender-specific cabin is possible. The bedding is more comfortable, however, newspapers are not included. Pets are not allowed. Pricing begins at ₽7000 (about $105).

 For the same price as 1T, the class 1Э offers newspapers and television.

VIP Class (1A)

Those looking for luxury, privacy and maybe even a little romance will enjoy the highest class of ticket, 1A, also known as VIP. The entire cabin must be reserved, rather than an individual bed. This class comes with a private bathroom and shower. A bunkbed and convertible sofa occupy one wall of a larger cabin. A bar services the entire car, to complete the VIP experience as you make your way from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The price of VIP isn’t very exclusive, at roughly ₽15000 ($234). However, they are in short supply, with only four VIP compartments available on the one train that runs per day. Because the price is only double that of a first-class ticket and two people can stay in it, it pays to book early in a VIP compartment.

Taking an overnight train like the Red Arrow isn’t just a means of getting from point A to B. Rather, spending a night traveling between St. Petersburg (Leningrad) and Moscow by train is more than just a moving hotel stay that might save time. Because the precise Russian train ticket system provides a guarantee of certain services, and even luxury in the upper classes, taking the Red Arrow is an entertaining endeavor. Building anticipation to arrive at the Russian capital, the Red Arrow speeds along and lulls excited travelers to sleep. After taking in the history of the Red Arrow, and hearing “The Hymn to the Great City” play as the train departs, passengers know that Russian history is coming to life for them.

Rajesh Saini

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