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Russian train classes

There are several varieties of train in the Russian railway system with varying class structures. Standard Russian seated trains usually have two classes are used for short distance journeys such as St Petersburg to Helsinki (Allegro trains) or Moscow to St Petersburg (Sapsan trains), however for longer journeys sleeper trains with three distinct classes are often used. We have included a breakdown of what to expect for each class type on both seated and sleeper trains.

Russian seated train - first class

Seated first class carriages are generally found on the Sapsan and Allegro trains. They offer extended leg space and are laid out similar to European trains; with one or two seats either side of an aisle. Luggage space can usually be found to the rear of the carriage.

St Petersburg to Moscow Sapsan Seated First Class
St Petersburg to Moscow Sapsan Seated First Class

Russian seated train - second class

Seated second class carriages are laid out similarly to European trains, with two seats of two seats separated by a small aisle. The seats won't have as much leg room as first class and luggage space is normally found at either end of the carriage. Although fundamentally the same, second class may vary slightly depending on the type of train you get.

Sapsan Second Class Cabin
Second Class Carriage on a Sapsan Train

Russian sleeper train - first class

Russian first class sleeper train carriages are made up of two-person cabins. If you want sole occupancy of a cabin it is possible to buy both tickets. There are usually two lower berths in each cabin that can be changed between couch and bed, like a futon, with a small table between.

Occasionally, there will be one berth above the other so only the bottom berth will flip into a couch.

Toilets with washing facilities can be found at each end of the carriage and provodnistas will have a room in the carriage so you'll always know where to go as a point of contact.

Layout of a first class sleeper carriage

Russian sleeper train - second class

Second class carriages on Russian sleeper trains are made up of nine cabins like first class, but there are four people to a cabin. Travellers wanting to share the cabin between two would have to buy all four tickets, this tends to work out more expensive, however, this will then offer more storage space along with the extra bunks. 

Like first class, the lower bunks can be turned into a couch with two bunks above and a table between the bottom two bunks. There will be washing facilities at either end of the carriage and the provodnista will have a room in the carriage as a point of contact for any problems.

Russian Second Class Sleeper Train Layout

Russian sleeper train - third class

Third class is made up of ‘open cabins’, each with space for up to six people. Each ‘cabin’ offers the same two up, two down layouts as second class (although the beds do not fold up, or become sofas) with two additional bunks in the corridor, one above the other. Up to 54 people can travel in each carriage. At either end of each carriage are toilets with washing facilities.

Russian Third Class Sleeper Train Layout

Booking your train tickets

Download our quick guide to Russian train classes

Russian Train Classes