Buying Russian Train Tickets

As a fully licensed and bonded specialist tour operator with direct contracts with the Russian Railways, Real Russia can issue, and deliver, Russian rail tickets either as an E-Ticket by email, or as a paper ticker via courier, worldwide. As you would expect our service is on-line, trackable, competitively priced and managed to the highest standards.

We can supply single, return or multi-leg journeys within Russia, China and Mongolia, as well as throughout Europe and the CIS countries; particularly those countries that border Russia. In particular, we specialise in Trans-Siberian journeys between Moscow and the Far East.

Booking your Russian, European and Asian Rail Tickets

To start planning your journey, select your departure and arrival points, as well as your date of travel, from the search engine below and press ‘Search for available trains’. You will then be able to select, and book, your train. Alternatively, select one of the links to the right of the search engine for further information.

When can I book my tickets?

While Russian Railways and other ticket issuers will not allow the booking/issuing of tickets more than a few weeks before the date of departure, Real Russia can take your details at any time in preparation for booking when the ticket issuers allow.

As it stands, these are the rules that the following issuers use when issuing tickets:

  • Russian Railways issue tickets up to 90 days in advance for domestic travel, and 60 days for international travel.
  • Mongolian Railways issue tickets around two weeks in advance for all travel; this can fluctuate depending on demand and public holidays.
  • Chinese Railways issue tickets around 10 - 12 (sometimes up to 30) days in advance of travel; this can fluctuate depending on demand and public holidays.

If you would like to start your journey within these dates we will book and, where possible (such as when E-Tickets/E-Registration are selected), issue your tickets immediately.

If you would like to start your journey on dates further in advance than these rules allow, Real Russia will save your booking enquiry in our system so that on the first day that booking is available your ticket will be booked and, where possible (such as when E-Tickets/E-Registration are selected), issued immediately. Payment will be required before booking takes place; one of our travel experts will be in touch to confirm these details in advance of taking the booking.

By taking reservations as early as we do, it allows us to guarantee places on those trains, and in those classes, that are particularly popular, such as First Class on the Rossiya between Moscow and Vladivostok. These can be difficult to secure via other means.

Please note: Owing to the fact that the ticket issuers are based in various time zones around the world, the time at which we are able to book/issue your tickets may vary.

By taking your details as early as we do, we are able to start the booking process as soon as the tickets go on sale. This gives us an advantage over other agencies who may wait until the tickets are on sale before taking your details. It is very important that we can book your tickets as soon as possible as there is huge demand for them; particularly for First Class tickets or any tickets bought during the summer months.

Do I have to buy any tickets that I have requested?

No. A request for ticket prices through the search engine above is not a commitment to purchase. We will only take payment and obtain tickets once you have instructed us to do so.

How can I pay for my tickets?

There are numerous means by which you can pay for your Russian train tickets, and their delivery (if by courier) dependent on whichever is best for you:

All services must be fully paid before your tickets are booked and are subject to our standard Terms and Conditions.

How do I receive my tickets?

There are a variety of ways that you can receive your train tickets depending on your needs.

All delivery times here are calculated from the point at which the ticket is booked and issued.

Delivery Method Delivery Time Cost
Electronic Registration/Tickets by email 10 minutes Free
Delivery to a UK address by combined courier and Royal Mail Special Delivery ≤ 5 working days £12
Delivery to a European address by combined courier and Royal Mail Airsure 20 working days £25
Delivery worldwide by courier 1 to 3 working days POA
Delivery in Moscow by city courier to your hotel or apartment Date as requested £10
Delivery in St. Petersburg by DHL to your hotel or apartment Date as requested £35
Collection from our offices in Moscow Date as requested Free
Collection from European booking offices By arrangement POA
Collection from our London office ≤ 5 working days £10

Can I cancel tickets that I have already purchased and get a refund?

Yes, it is possible to cancel booked train tickets and receive a refund.

There is a standard administration charge for of £10 (or USD / EUR equivilent) for each ticket that you wish to cancel.

Refunds are calculated by the ticket issuer on a sliding scale that differs for domestic train tickets and international train tickets based on how much time there is before your date, and time, of departure; the earlier the cancellation is made, the higher the refund generally is. If you are taking an international journey the cancellation policies of each country en route may differ but, as a rule, work on the same sliding scale principal.

If physical tickets have been issued for your journey, such as will be the case for international train tickets, then we must have these in our possession in order to issue a refund. If the tickets are already in your possession when you decide to cancel them, you must return them to our Moscow office at your own cost. Because we need the tickets in our possession in order to cancel them, the date that we receive your tickets is the date that we will use to calculate your total refund; not the date that you request your cancellation. The latest that your tickets should be received by our Moscow office is one working day before the date of departure.

If you have international paper tickets, and are already travelling within Russia it may be difficult to return the tickets to us. In this instance you can go to the ticket counter in the closest station and cancel them there. In this instance you will be given a cancellation receipt and your unused ticket, but no immediate refund. You will need to send this cancellation receipt, and your unused ticket, back to our Moscow office, at your own cost, and then we will be able to process the refund, minus our standard cancelation fee. Your cancellation must be made before the departure date and time on the ticket. You will then have up to four months from the date of cancellation in which to do this.

If you have made a booking by requesting E-Tickets and you have yet to collect your tickets at the booking office, or you have made your booking by requesting E-Registration, then we are able to cancel the tickets on receipt of your written request (by email, fax or letter); provided it is received during the working hours of our Moscow office before the date, and time, of departure. Any cancellation requests received outside of these times (including public/national holidays) will be acted upon as if they had been sent on the next working day; not the date that your request was sent.

If you chose E-Ticket when booking, and have already exchanged your voucher for a paper ticket, or you received a physical ticket for a domestic journey, you will need to visit the ticket office of the nearest train station to cancel your ticket. In this instance you will not be refunded immediately, rather the refunded amount (the value of which will depend on the time before departure) will be sent to us, and then we will process this and pass on to you (minus the standard cancellation fee). If you are in Moscow and feel that the language barrier may stop you from being able to cancel, feel free to pop into our Moscow office and our staff will be happy to help.

Please note:

  • Any postage costs incurred by yourself in receiving the tickets are non-refundable.
  • Where cancellation requests are received within eight hours of the time of departure, we cannot guarantee that any refund will be offered by the ticket issuer.

Can I upgrade my ticket?

Yes, though it is not a simple ‘upgrade’. The process would be to cancel your existing ticket, before issuing a new ticket for the desired class. The costs involved would be the standard £10 (or USD / EUR equivalent) cancellation fee and the price difference between whatever refund you receive from the original ticket and the new ticket.

What if there are no First Class tickets?

Should you wish a little more space or privacy on your journey through Russia, it may be that you would like to book a First Class ticket. Unfortunately, First Class tickets are limited in number and very popular meaning that they are not always available.

If you would like space and privacy, and you are unable to book a First Class ticket, it is possible to book two Second Class tickets; both the upper and lower-berth in a cabin to approximate the feeling of First Class. If you are planning to travel as a group of two, and both of you purchase two tickets, you would be afforded sole use of the cabin that you have booked.

If you are interested in booking your tickets in this fashion, you can do so through our rail ticket booking panel. When selecting two tickets ensure that you have selected one upper and one lower-berth place, and then enter all of your details for both places along with a note in the comments section informing our travel specialists of your intention.  

Alternatively, contact our travel specialists directly for further assistance.

There is a mistake on my ticket, what do I do?

Contact our travel experts for advice in this instance. As a rule, you will be allowed to board the train with one mistake on your ticket. Missing out a letter in your name, or a mistype of a letter in your name would each count as one mistake. Beyond one mistake a new ticket would need to be issued.

Issuing a new ticket would involve cancelling the current ticket at the standard cancellation fee (£10 + any fee levied by the ticket issuer) and purchasing a new ticket at the current price; which may be more expensive than the price paid originally.

For this reason we recommend checking all the details on any tickets booked immediately upon receipt of them; particularly if you have booked any tickets under the ‘Plan Ahead’ offer as you may be forced to buy your new ticket for up to twice what you originally paid for it.

How do I read my ticket?

No matter how you choose to receive you tickets, the general information given on them is the same; though unless you have a working understanding of Russian, they can be a little confusing and daunting.

To help with this we have put together a guide on ‘How to Read Russian Train Tickets’ to help with deciphering what everything means on a physical train ticket.

If you opt for E-Tickets or E-Registration, then when we email you we will include an English translation so that you can feel confident that you understand all the information included.

Is there an equivalent to the European style ‘Rail Pass’ allowing unrestricted use of trains?

Unfortunately there is no Rail Pass programme in place on the Russian train network. You will need to buy individual tickets for each journey on the Russian train network. If you are planning on travelling via multiple towns or cities, such as along the Trans-Siberian railway, you may want to make use of our Trans-Siberian Journey Planner in order to plan ahead or, alternatively, you may want to check the Russian train schedules to work out when trains are running between the various towns/cities on your route.

I have a ticket, but I need a visa, can you help?

Yes, we can. Real Russia is the number one independent Russian visa processing company in the UK, with over a decade of experience in securing visas for thousands of people. Our service is fully inclusive with no hidden costs such as invitations or other support documents; though these can be bought separately if you wish.

We are also able to secure visas throughout Europe and Asia, ensuring that if you would like to take a trip by train all the way from London to Beijing via the Trans-Siberian railway that we can serve all your visa needs. Our visa experts are able to process each visa back to back, simplifying the process for you and taking much of the stress away.

For more information visit our Visa home page or email

Are there reduced price tickets for children?

Yes. Children can receive a discount when travelling.

Within Russia, children under 5 can travel for free with one paying adult provided they share one place. If the child requires their own space, or is between the age of 5 and 10, they will need to pay, but at a reduced rate of around 50% of the regular ticket price.

For further information about children’s discounts within Russia, as well as information about children’s discounts on international trains, please visit our Discounts and Tariffs page.

What do I need to do to travel to Kaliningrad?

Kaliningrad is a part of Russia that is separated from the main bulk of Russia by three countries, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia. Because of this, in addition to purchasing a train ticket to make the journey, you may need to apply for additional visas.

Before booking, you should contact one of our visa specialists to ensure that you have all the correct documentation to make the trip.

Can you help if I have an emergency?

If you are in need of any assistance while you are travelling, we offer a dedicated 24 hour telephone support service.

For all emergencies you can call us on +44 (0) 207 100 7370 where our operators are available to provide help 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If you experience any problems while you are away, our team can offer guidance and support. If, for example, you are experiencing difficulty boarding a train, collecting your train ticket or any number of other travel issues, you can call our emergency helpline for immediate assistance.

I have questions about trains unrelated to tickets.

If you have any further questions please see our Frequently Asked Questions about train travel page. Here you will find a wealth of information such as the facilities on board trains, what to expect from train carriages and what to do if you lose your ticket.

Alternatively visit our forums. There you will find many fellow travellers who may have the answer to your questions.

You could also contact our travel experts directly, who will be happy to help with any queries that you may have.