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Moscow is the hub of the Russian railway system, and the city's several railway stations handle nearly half a billion passengers annually. There are several trains daily to St. Petersburg, and overnight service is available to Kiev, Helsinki, Riga, and Tallinn. All the major train stations have a connecting metro stop, so they're easily reached by public transportation. The most important stations are Belorussky station, for trains to Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, and France; Kazansky station, for points south and to Central Asia and Siberia; Kievsky station, for Kiev and western Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary; Kursky station, for eastern Ukraine, the Crimea, and southern Russia; Leningradsky station, for St. Petersburg, northern Russia, Estonia, and Finland; Paveletsky station, for eastern Ukraine and points south; Rizhsky station, for Latvia; and Yaroslavsky station, for points east, including Mongolia and China. Trains to Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian Railway depart from Yaroslavsky station. Both overnight trains and high-speed day trains depart from Leningradsky and Kursky stations for St. Petersburg. The daytime high-speed Sapsan trains take four hours and leave at various times throughout the day. Of the numerous overnight trains, the most popular is train number 2, the Krasnaya Strela (Red Arrow), which leaves Moscow at 11:55 pm and arrives the next day in St. Petersburg at 7:55 am. The Grand Express has a similar schedule, departing Moscow at 11:40 pm and arriving in St. Petersburg at 8:35 am. There are half a dozen categories of accommodation; the higher-class compartments have showers, and some have satellite TV and other amenities.

Fares and Schedules

Note that although there are phone numbers for each station, it's all but impossible to get through to them. If you want to check schedules and ticket prices ahead of time, you can use the booking function on the Russian Trains website. The system can be finicky, but should improve over time. You can also purchase tickets at the railway stations, but expect long lines and brusque clerks, most of whom have little patience for those who speak no Russian. The easier route is to ask your hotel for help, as they typically have a connection with a travel agency who can arrange tickets for you. In either case, have your passport or a photocopy with you. You need it to buy tickets (they print your name and your passport number on the ticket), and you'll need to show your passport to the attendant on the train.

Train Information

Russian Railways. Every train station in Moscow has a ticket counter, and other ticket agencies are located around the city. You can also buy tickets online, but only through the Russian pages of the website. 5 pl. Komsomolskaya, Moscow, 107104. 8 (800)/775-0000. www.rzd.ru. Metro: Chistiye Prudy.

Train Station Information

Belorussia station (pl. Tverskaya Zastava, Northern Outskirts, Moscow, 125047. 495/266–0300. Metro: Belorusskaya.)

Kazan station (pl. Komsomolskaya, Northern Outskirts, Moscow, 107140. 495/266–2300. Metro: Komsomolskaya.)

Kiev station (pl. Kiyevsky, Krasnaya Presnya, Moscow, 121059. 499/240–7071. Metro: Kievskaya.)

Kursk station (pl. Kursky, Eastern Oustkirts, Moscow, 105064. 495/266–5310. Metro: Kurskaya.)

Leningrad station (pl. Komsomolskaya, Northern Outskirts, Moscow, 107140. 495/262–9143. Metro: Komsomoskaya.)

Pavelets station (pl. Paveletskaya, Southern Outskirts, Moscow, 115054. 495/950–3700. Metro: Paveletskaya.)

Riga station (pl. Rizhskaya, Northern Outskirts, Moscow, 129272. 495/631-1588. Metro: Rizhskaya.)

Yaroslav station (5 pl. Komsomolskaya, Northern Outskirts, Moscow, 107140. 495/266–6300. Metro: Komsomolskaya.)