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St. Petersburg has several train stations, the most important of which are Baltic station (Baltiysky Vokzal), for trains to the Baltic countries; Finland station (Finlandsky Vokzal), for trains to Finland, Karelia, and other points north; Moscow station (Moskovsky Vokzal), at ploshchad Vosstania, off Nevsky prospekt, for trains to Moscow and points east; and Vitebsk station (Vitebsky Vokzal), for trains to the Ukraine and points south. All the major train stations have a connecting metro stop.

Train tickets may be purchased through the tourist bureau in your hotel or at the Central Railway Agency Office (Tsentralnoye Zheleznodorozhnoye Agenstvo) off Nevsky prospekt, adjacent to the Kazan Cathedral. The Central Airline Ticket Agency on Nevsky has two train-ticket desks and is a far quieter option. It's possible to buy tickets at the stations themselves, but this is best attempted only by the brave or bilingual. You can also buy electronic tickets online.

Fares and Schedules

Several trains run daily between Moscow and St. Petersburg, including the Krasnaya Strela (Red Arrow), a night train that departs from one end at 11:55 pm and arrives at the other at 8:25 am the next day. Its Empire-style rival, Nikolayevsky Express, departs the city at 11:24 am and gets to Moscow at 7:10 pm. Designed to resemble a typical early-20th-century train and named after Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, this romantic train has staff dressed in turn-of-the-20th-century costumes, oak settings in its restaurant, and brass details in compartments. The most popular trains between St. Petersburg and Moscow are the high-speed Sapsan trains. At least five trips are scheduled each day, traveling the 800 km (500 miles) between the two cities in 3½ to 4¼ hours. The Sapsans let you leave St. Peterburg as early as 6:45 am and arrive in Moscow by 10:30 am, or leave Moscow at 7:45 pm and arrive in St. Petersburg at 11:30 pm. The trains are modern, with amenities that include TV, food service, and the ability to order a taxi ahead of time. Check www.trainsrussia.com for availability, pricing, and booking for all trains between St. Petersburg and Moscow. Another good website is www.rzd.ru, although it's easier to use if you know some Russian. There's also a train that travels twice daily to and from Helsinki; the trip, which leaves from Finland Station, takes 3½ hours.

Train Contacts

Central Airline Ticket Agency (16 ul. Malaya Morskaya, City Center, St. Petersburg, 190000. 812/571–5669 information, booking;. www.cavs.ru. Metro: Admiralteiskaya.)

Central Railway Booking Offices. The office has three information points that can point you in the direction of the correct desks. 24 Kanal Griboyedova, City Center, St. Petersburg, 191011. Mon.–Sat 8–8, Sun. 8–4. Metro: Nevsky Prospekt.

Train information (812/768–3344. www.trainsrussia.com or www.rzd.ru.)