Save time and money on Rail Journeys
Railway journeys are often the best way to travel across a vast area on holiday. Railway journeys are not only an environmentally responsible way of travelling, but the Great Rail journeys also allow you to travel across several countries and experience many cultures. On our website you will find some of the greatest rail journeys in the world. Take the legendary Trans Siberian Railways and enjoy Epic Journeys from Beijing to St Petersburg traversing vast plains of Siberia.
On this page you can find the Great rail journeys such as the Trans-Siberian express. Russian Gateway Tours can tailor made your rail journey. Small group or larger groups or even Independent Travel are our speciality. We
Create the Journey, you make your own Unforgettable rail journeys.
Moscow - Vladivostok:
Every second day, the 'Rossiya' ('Russia', train number 2 eastbound, train 1 westbound) leaves Moscow on its seven day journey to Vladivostok. This is the longest train ride of them all - 9,258 km or 6,152 miles. This train has 2nd class 4-berth compartments (called kupé) and 1st class 2-berth compartments (called spalny wagon or 'SV') and a restaurant car. One-way fares start at about 9,226 rubles ($320 or £190) in a 4-berth sleeper or 18,200 rubles ($630 or £370) in a 2-berth sleeper. From Vladivostok there is a weekly ship to Japan, taking 36 hours (2 nights).
Moscow - Beijing:
The main Trans-Siberian line runs from Moscow to Vladivostok, but most western travellers head for China on one of two branches, the Trans-Mongolian line (completed in the 1950s) or the Trans-Manchurian line (built around 1900) There are two direct trains a week from Moscow to Beijing (Peking), one via Mongolia with Chinese rolling stock and one via Manchuria with Russian rolling stock.
Moscow - Beijing via Mongolia:
This is arguably the most interesting Trans-Siberian route to take. The weekly Trans-Mongolian train (train 4 eastbound, train 3 westbound) leaves Moscow for Beijing every Tuesday night. The 7,621 km (4,735 mile) journey takes 6 days. This train crosses Siberia, cuts across Mongolia and the Gobi desert, then enters China. This train uses Chinese rolling stock and has deluxe 2-berth compartments (with shared shower), 1st class 4-berth compartments & 2nd class 4-berth compartments. Fares start at around $420 (£220) one-way in 2nd class 4-berth or $695 (£345) in 1st class 2-berth.
If you want to stop off on the way, there's a second weekly train from Moscow to Ulan Bator (train 6 eastbound, train 5 westbound), or there are daily trains from Moscow to Irkutsk and a daily train from Irkutsk to Ulan Bator (train 263/264). There are 2 or 3 trains a week from Ulan Bator to Beijing.
Moscow - Beijing via Manchuria:
The weekly Trans-Manchurian train (the 'Vostok', train 20 eastbound, train 19 westbound, using Russian rolling stock) leaves Moscow on Friday nights for Beijing via Manchuria, taking just over six days to cover the 8,986km (5,623 miles). There are 2-berth 1st class compartments (spalny vagon) and 4-berth 2nd class compartments (kupé). Other Trans-Siberian trains:
These aren't the only Trans-Siberian trains. Far from it! Many other trains run over parts of these routes, including the excellent 'Baikal' (train 9/10) every second day from Moscow to Irkutsk, and some slower, lower quality trains. There's even a daily Moscow-Vladivostok slow lower-quality train, not one you'd like to get on by mistake...
It is highly recommended, and that's what most of the people do, to stop in a few cities along the Trans-Siberian, instead of just passing it all at once from Moscow to Beijing. The stops that all trains passing the Trans-Siberian do are usually only 15 to 20 minutes, and that is not enough to see a city. So, the best thing to do is to hop off in 3 or 4 cities along the way.
We recommend you to definitely stop for a few days (or at least a day) in Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, and Ulan-Ude, apart from Moscow, Beijing, and Ulan-Bataar. All these cities have very distinct features and will provide unforgettable experiences, if you know where to look for them. Below we provide descriptions and timetables of the most important trains on the Trans-Siberian. With these trains you can cover the whole Trans-Siberian and stop where you want. The information is valid as of 10 January 2003.
These trains include #1 and #2 (aka "Rossiya" - route: Moscow - Vladivostok); #9 and #10 (aka "Baikal" - route: Moscow - Irkutsk); #25 and 26 (aka "Sibiryak" - route: Moscow - Novosibirsk); #55 and #56 (aka "Enisey" - route: Moscow - Krasnoyarsk). These trains are quite fast (as little stops as possible) and "firmenny", which means they are relatively comfortable and clean. Of course, after four days it will depend on the cleaningness of the passengers, but the compartments in these trains get vaacumed and washed every day, and the service is quite good. Also, the WCs don't stink (normally), and there's even an electric plug in every carriage (so you can charge your mobile, shave, or whatever). The windows can be opened in Summer, which is good, because it might get quite hot, and there's air conditioning (in cupes and sleeping carriages). Train #55, #56 (Moscow - Krasnoyarsk) has 3 platzcart carriages, and that can be a good way to save some money.
There are all sorts of people in these trains, but generally, the public is quite calm and almost always in Summer there are a few foreigners.
Generally, the same as the the "firmenny" trains, but slightly less comfortable and less clean. However, they may still be a good option and allow to save some money (as they are not "firmenny", they are about 20% cheaper). Examples are trains #7 and #8 (route: Novosibirsk - Vladivostok), #43 and #44 (route: Moscow - Khabarovsk). They have more stops along the way, thus they are slightly slower.
These trains circulate between Russia and China or Mongolia. There are two routes: Trans-Mongolian, which goes from Moscow, through Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Bataar (in Mongolia) to China and Trans-Manchurian, which goes round Mongolia to the east of its border. If you're taking the Trans-Mongolian, you may require a Mongolian visa, check with Mongolian consulate.
Most of the trains are quite well looked after, but after 6 days it takes to get from Russia to China, they might become somewhat dirty. Most of the people traveling on these trains are traders of Chinese goods and foreigners.
The trains include: #3 and #4 (route: Moscow - Beijing (China) through Ulan-Bataar (in Mongolia)) - operated by Russian and Chinese staff alternatively; #19 and #20 (route: Moscow - Beijing (China) round Mongolia through Kharbin (China)) - operated by Russian staff; #5 and #6 (route: Moscow - Ulan-Bataar (Mongolia)).