Home Open Account Help 258 users online

European Railroad Discussion > Railfanning Moscow?


Date: 02/09/20 11:46
Railfanning Moscow?
Author: Lackawanna484

I'm thinking about a trip to Russia, and I'm interested in rail opportunities. Prob fly into St Petersburg, water cruise to Moscow, fly out. Or vice versa.

I expect to engage private guides for Hermitage, Fortress, Kremlin, cathedrals, etc. Does anyone have suggestions for specialized rail guide services in Moscow and St Petersburg?

Thanks!

Posted from Android



Date: 02/09/20 14:17
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: GettingShort

Be interested in seeing what sort of response you get. I'd love to do so train chasing in Russia. 
What I would like to find is someone who combines these guys, https://www.youtube.com/user/ibekirov with this guy, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxDZs_ltFFvn0FDHT6kmoXA/featured , watch a few Bald and Bankrupt and I think you'll get why in a year he went from a few hundred subscribers to almost 1.5M. Russia is a great if you know how to approach it. 



Date: 02/09/20 19:37
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: Duna

I did a solo trip to Moscow & Saint Petersburg in 2018 and am returning this year with my wife. StP Hermitage was the only guided tour I did, 4 of us with an English-speaking guide. Did the red double-decker bus hop on - hop off thing. Highly recommended for a quick orientation. I rode lots of Metros and trams, did not rent a car. I only took a couple dozen freight & passenger train / car photos since almost all freight traffic stays outside the cities on belt lines. But plenty of passenger trains terminate at major Moscow (7) and StP (2) stations.
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?17,4637147,4637505#msg-4637505

There's a lot of things to see & do, and it's easier than most people think to navigate cities, reserve trains & flights, etc. without assistance.  I know that on a few of the videos I've seen, they have been around town with a personal guide. Food tour, some other. Seemed legit.  I'll try to find info.

Moscow Metro's architecture, operations, and overall experience was better than expected. The system is expanding and opening new stations monthly. Aeroflot was great. Note that almost all flights from the US to StP go via Moscow.  Sapsan HS train between the cities is 4 hours.

Learn some Russian, and how to read Cyrillic. Can't emphasise that enough.

Right now, Catherine / Summer Palace, StP is devoid of Chinese tourists. Bother the men are shocked at the lack of crowds due Corona virus. Probably the same for other sights in all Russian cities. When I was there, Chinese made up at least 60% of the tourists. This is an interesting YT series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oba4J69bKu8

More later.

In the meantime:
Covered monorail turntable & streetcar barn:
https://www.google.com/maps/@55.831978,37.646978,468m/data=!3m1!1e3

Moscow - Moscow overnight train.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3W-bv-klnw
She has quite a few train videos, including Moscow-StPetersburg and one on the new, frequent Ivolga thru-Moscow commuter trains that accept the Troika transit card.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/20 19:38 by Duna.



Date: 02/10/20 01:00
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: pennengineer

There are a million things worth doing and seeing. In Moscow, definitely pay a visit to the main railway museum next to Paveletskaya Station (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_the_Moscow_Railway_(Paveletskaya_station)) as well as the smaller railway museum at the quaint Riga Station (Rizhskaya) in Moscow. (Supposedly there's also a depot/roundhouse that's been turned into a museum at Podmoskovnaya station, though I haven't visited this personally). And of course, in St. Petersburg, visit the big new railway museum in St. Petersburg. 

If your travel planning allows it, consider that the German ICE-derived high-speed Sapsan train is a good alternative for the Moscow - St. Petersburg trip, as are the various overnight trains operating on the route, including the legendary "Red Arrow" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Arrow_(Russian_train). (Side note, the departure of the Red Arrow is quite an event, as noted in the Wikipedia article: "Since 1965, the song 'The Hymn to the Great City' has been playing when the Red Arrow leaves Saint Petersburg at 23:55"). In, the "Lev Tolstoi" makes the overnight Helsinki - Moscow run in addition to the daytime "Allegro" pendolino trains between Helsinki and St. Petersburg. 

Also consider a day trip from Moscow to one or more of the "Golden Ring" towns such as Suzdal (the best, IMHO), Sergiev Posad, Vladimir, or Yaroslavl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Ring_of_Russia. In addition to being stunning, these offer you a good opportunity to sample some RZDh services. The new-ish Talgo "Strizh" services operate multiple times per day to Vladimir, a short taxi or bus ride from Suzdal, for example. You could ride the Talgo in one direction and a standard train in the other to compare the difference.

In Moscow, to see some of the of course make a point of riding the metro, but also consider a ride on the newer Central Circle and the brand-new Moscow Central Diameters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_Central_Diameters.

Of course, all of the grand stations of Moscow are worth a visit, especially the group of three clustered around Komsomolskaya Square: Leningradsky, Kazanksy, and Yaroslavsky, the latter being the western terminus of the Trans-Siberian. Try to at least see the departure of the 

While not railway-related, for first-time visitors to Moscow, beyond the obvious sightseeing spots around Red Square I highly recommend visiting the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNKh) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhibition_of_Achievements_of_National_Economy

In St. Petersburg, the Peterhof complex (as noted by the previous poster) is definitely worth a visit.

I'm sure more things will occur to me. Have a great trip!



Date: 02/10/20 06:47
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: GettingShort

pennengineer Wrote:

> While not railway-related, for first-time visitors
> to Moscow, beyond the obvious sightseeing spots
> around Red Square I highly recommend visiting
> the Exhibition of Achievements of National
> Economy (VDNKh) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex
> hibition_of_Achievements_of_National_Economy. 
>
> In St. Petersburg, the Peterhof complex (as noted
> by the previous poster) is definitely worth a
> visit.
>
> I'm sure more things will occur to me. Have a
> great trip!

VDNKh is definately worth a visit along with the near by Monument to the Conguerors Of Space and museum. The VDNKh has been spruced up the last couple years and looks grand.



Date: 02/11/20 01:17
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: pennengineer

GettingShort Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> pennengineer Wrote:
>
> > While not railway-related, for first-time
> visitors
> > to Moscow, beyond the obvious sightseeing spots
> > around Red Square I highly recommend visiting
> > the Exhibition of Achievements of National
> >
> Economy (VDNKh) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex
>
> > hibition_of_Achievements_of_National_Economy. 
> >
> > In St. Petersburg, the Peterhof complex (as
> noted
> > by the previous poster) is definitely worth a
> > visit.
> >
> > I'm sure more things will occur to me. Have a
> > great trip!
>
> VDNKh is definately worth a visit along with the
> near by Monument to the Conguerors Of Space and
> museum. The VDNKh has been spruced up the last
> couple years and looks grand.

Indeed -- and a visit can be combined with a ride on the monorail!



Date: 02/11/20 08:28
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: tramfan

Make sure that you start the process for obtaining a visa early enough. Also try to ride one of the hydrofoils in St. Petersburg. It is a step back in time but worth it.
 



Date: 02/11/20 10:38
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: Lackawanna484

All great information, thank you.



Date: 02/11/20 13:11
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: Duna

tramfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Make sure that you start the process for obtaining
> a visa early enough. Also try to ride one of the
> hydrofoils in St. Petersburg. It is a step back in
> time but worth it.
>  



I found this website https://russiable.com/getting-russian-visa-usa-canada/ to have the best info on the visa process, and it's not perfect.

As of January 2020 visas via mail are handled by sub-contractor https://russia-visacentre.com/en/visa/usa/russia This has changed twice in the last 2.5 years. Used to be ILS or VFS. Even some Russian consulate websites have outdated info, be careful.

You can also have 3rd party agencies handle the visa process for you for a fee.

2020 is the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, aka Great Patriotic War. May 9 is Victory Day, a huge event all over Russia and the CIS. This year it will be more so. Moscow will see 10 million people celebrating on the streets.

Get to know Yandex, provider of internet services, ride-sharing, mapping, and more
Here's aMoscow transit map showing real-time locations of trams & trolley buses https://yandex.com/maps/213/moscow/transport/?ll=37.628662%2C55.825466&z=15.01 Metro trains operate frequently, there's no need to show locations.
Yandex "street views" and are better quality than Google, but not as extensive. The panorams are a nifty feature https://tinyurl.com/mos-sample-panorama
The official Moscow Metro app works well In addition to transit info, it has a built-in list of attractions with a few paragraphs of info, hours, etc. Makes it easy to calculate your route if using transit, pay for rides, etc.

Railfanning must be popular, Lots of photos and videos are posted on these two VK pages. VK is a Russian version of Facebook. Perhaps someone who posts there can recommend railfanning sites or guides.
https://vk.com/rzd_pid
https://vk.com/railplanet



 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/20 13:13 by Duna.



Date: 02/12/20 03:22
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: andersonb109

I hired a guide in Moscow to visit all the major railway stations via Metro. I doubt I could have done it on my own. In St. Petersburg there is also a fine railway museum at the former Warsaw Station. All outside. And the other St. Petersburg stations are architecturally worth a visit as well. Here's Kievski Station in Moscow (all are named from where the trains originate) just after our arrival on the overnight Ukrainia in 2014. Can you spot my friend Yana just out in front in her yellow dress in the second photo?  Hope you ave a great trip. We enjoyed St. Petersburg much more than Moscow. After Red Square and the Kremlin, we found there wasn't much there for tourists. We did everything on our own but of course I had my own private Russian speaking guide!






Date: 02/13/20 06:07
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: pkwlsn

Russia has a LOT to offer to railfans. So much so that you should specify what sort of thing exactly you would like to see. I'm currently living in Moscow for a multi-year work contract, so this is my area of expertise.

If you're into steam, Russia is a bit of an undiscovered paradise to westerners. In the last few years they have restored dozens of locomotives to operation, with more being restored every few months. As was mentioned above, Moscow is home to a working roundhouse called 'Podmoskovnaya Depot' that exclusively services and restores steam locomotives. They have over ten operational engines there, and on any given day at least two can be found under steam and ready to go. They are used on a weekly basis for both short local excursion trips as well as long-distance specials.  The roundhouse grounds are part of a small museum complex that includes a station and water tower and are open to the public. The inside is closed to the public, but if you are a smooth talker then you can often get yourself invited inside for a look around.
Mainline excursions are a weekly occurence in Moscow. These vary in length from 30 minute trips between Rizhskiy Station and Podmoskovnaya Roundhouse, to all day trips to other cities in the region. The coaches used are just regular modern Russian Railways passenger cars, so the on-board experience is far from historic. It sure looks great trackside though!

More to follow...
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/20 08:12 by pkwlsn.








Date: 02/13/20 06:12
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: pkwlsn

In my opinion, the real highlight of any railfan's trip to Russia would be a visit to the Bologoye-Ostashkov portion of the Bologoye-Polotskaya Railway in Tver Oblast. To stimulate tourism in this economically depressed part of the country, in fall of 2018 Russian Railways made the decision to operate the regular local passenger train (6697/6698) from Bologoye to Ostashkov with steam power on Saturdays. While the idea behind it is to increase tourism, make no mistake - this a regular passenger train whose primary job is to serve as a local form of transportation. The vast majority of passengers aren't tourists, but little old babushkas just trying to get from village to village with their jars of mushrooms and pickled tomatoes. This is as authentic of an experience as you can get with a steam-hauled passenger train in the 21st century. The train takes three hours each way to traverse its 70-mile route and travels at speeds of 30-40 mph, making 13 stops in various villages along the way. Think something along the lines of Poland's Wolsztyn program, but even less touristy.  The schedule is synchronized with the high-speed Sapsan trains from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, so you can easily make a day trip out of this line from either city.
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/20 09:17 by pkwlsn.








Date: 02/13/20 06:24
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: pkwlsn

Just a few hours North of Saint Petersburg in Karelia is another steam attraction. In summer of last year, Russian Railways partnered with the Ruskeala Mountain Park to offer a daily passenger train from Sortavala to the nearby adventure park (I'm not really sure what to call it) that is hauled by a steam locomotive. The Ruskeala Express is Russia's first daily steam-hauled passenger train intended purely for tourism. The on-board experience is definitely catered more towards tourists, as the coaches have a historic theme. There is also a dining car where you can buy snacks. The trip is one hour in each direction through a beautiful forest and lake region, but you have to plan on spending most of the day at the adventure park as well, as the train is really the only way there and back. I haven't been there yet myself, but I've heard great things. Departures and arrivals are timed to coincide with connecting trains to Saint Petersburg so you can make a day trip out of it

Note: These photos aren't mine. First photo is from a Russian news site. Second photo is from here. Third photo is from here.

 



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/20 09:10 by pkwlsn.








Date: 02/13/20 06:31
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: pkwlsn

If you're in Saint Petersburg, you definitely need to check out the new railway museum. It opened just over a year ago, and it's supposedly the largest railway museum in Europe. They have both a massive indoor and outdoor facility to explore, with all sorts of beautifully preserved pieces of equipment. They have a good number of very modern interactive exhibits as well. A highlight for most Westerners will be the American-built lend-lease engines that were sent over during WWII. This includes the famous Russian Decapods (both WWI and WWII variants) as well as the lesser known ALCO RSD-1s.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/20 08:24 by pkwlsn.








Date: 02/13/20 06:42
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: pkwlsn

And of course you can't forget the Moscow and Saint Petersburg metro systems. Both are easily an attraction unto themselves. In Saint Petersburg, the red line is the one with the most impressive stations. They also still use a good number of old equipment on that line that dates to the 60's and 70's. In Moscow, almost every station within the ring line is worth exploring, althoug the ring line itself is considered by many to be the most impressive. Equipment varies from line to line. The purple line (7) still has some bits of equipment from the 70's, but that is being quickly replaced by super modern sets that are also very impressive in their own way. Both metro systems are very easy to navigate with the help of the Yandex Metro app, and as of 2018, all signs and announcements are repeated in English.

If you've got any specific questions about any of the ideas I've thrown out, just let me know. I also don't mind serving as an in-country contact if you need help with anything.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/20 08:21 by pkwlsn.








Date: 02/13/20 06:47
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: 4745

Fantastic information to go with some great photographs.
Very interesting.
Graham.



Date: 02/13/20 08:57
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: Duna

Thaks for the truly great info. I had no idea about the 6697/6698 train.

I've already made Moscow and Saint Petersburg hotel reservations- getting ready to buy our flights.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/20 08:58 by Duna.



Date: 02/13/20 09:00
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: Lackawanna484

That's wonderful information, thank you!



Date: 03/11/20 12:58
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: mundo

Who is behind all of this fine restoring.....where is the money coming from ?

Sure not railfans, but suspect they are a major back office pusher.



Date: 03/11/20 13:39
Re: Railfanning Moscow?
Author: TCnR

Wow, great info about the Museums.
Spasibo.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/11/20 13:40 by TCnR.



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.148 seconds