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European Railroad Discussion > Travel in the USSR in 1944-45 period.

Date: 01/07/21 18:09
Travel in the USSR in 1944-45 period.
Author: moonliter

A family friend of my wife sent her a question to ask me,"the train expert".  Sadly I haven't the faintest clue what the answer is.  I know nothing about railways in the USSR during the Second World War.   Here is the question.

"For my current book sequel to the previous one, I need to find out the approximate cost of a train trip, in rubles, from Novosibirsk to Moscow around 1944 or 1945.  I have read that there were two classes of travel -- the 'soft train' (first class) and the 'hard train' (hard wooden benches and berths). My characters are in the more comfortable 'soft train'...even a very approximate amount would be helpful."

My questions:

Would a trip like this be possible in a sleeper or even in coach?   By whom?   For what reasons?  What were the wartime restriction that the common folk faced?  What was the rate per kilometer for a 2800 km trip?

Any recommendation on where to look for any information?  Any books on rail travel in the USSR? I found a railway museum in St Petersburg but they are closed and I can't find a email address.

Thank-you in advance.

Gerry Gaugl
Ottawa Canada

Date: 01/07/21 20:32
Re: Travel in the USSR in 1944-45 period.
Author: dwatry

You could try "Soviet Railways Today" by JN Westwood, published in 1963.  Some info on wartime services, but don't think it gets as detailed as fares. 

Date: 01/09/21 17:45
Re: Travel in the USSR in 1944-45 period.
Author: Lackawanna484

These folks could likely help out:  Novosibirsk Museum of the Railway Technology

The TripAdvisor article notes that Russian trains of the era had first class, second class, third class, and prisoner class accommodations

Date: 01/09/21 19:03
Re: Travel in the USSR in 1944-45 period.
Author: march_hare

I have no clue on how to determine the cost, but if I understand correctly, under the Soviet era "internal passport" system, you couldn't just go down to the station and buy a ticket for such a trip.  The actual cost may be irrelevant. 

All I know about the subject comes from, back in the1980s, having a Russian expat girlfriend whose mom was quite vocal on how awful the system was, (despite the fact that she WAS allowed to travel, because of her role in the propaganda film industry.)

And even without the tyranny, at this time, the war was still going on, with immense hardship for everybody. 

Date: 01/10/21 10:57
Re: Travel in the USSR in 1944-45 period.
Author: PHall

It was wartime and the railways were already overwhelmed with all of the traffic they were moving.
Unless they were travelling on "government business" I don't think they would even be able to get tickets much less make the trip.

Date: 01/10/21 14:07
Re: Travel in the USSR in 1944-45 period.
Author: Lackawanna484

So, the character would need a reason to request travel.

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