I have a couple of trips to post on here all the way back from the summer. The master of procrastination that I am, I am only starting now in January. But hopefully I can get them here before next summer's trips
Anyway, on the occasion of the European Soccer Championship 2016 I visited France. I flew to Brussels to visit a friend, then I took TGV down to Lyon and attended a game. On the way back to Poland, I decided to use the famous Paris - Moscow train operated by the Russian Railroad. I took Megabus to Paris overnight and spent a day in Paris. The day was rather difficult, as I was barely able to sleep on the bus, but the prospect of the train back to Warsaw was enticing.
The lowest class possible to get on the train is 4-berth sleeper. As with all Russian and European trains, those rooms are shared. I had booked the train from Paris to Warsaw and used the 30% off the Russian Railroad has for youth, so my ticket ended up costing €123. Not bad for a sleeper that takes 17.5 hours! No meals were included and it is a shared arrangement, but nevertheless the price is decent..
But I was EXTREMELY lucky as NOBODY had boarded my room! Turns out, a group of 4 booked it from Warsaw to Moscow, so it would have been empty if it weren't for me.
Anyway, to start with, the train was very empty. Only a handful of people in each car. As with all Russian trains, one must book with a passport number and show the passport to the provodnik - or a car attendant - at entrance. The attendants spoke no language other than Russian, so it was an adventure to say the least.
Here is the Gare de l'Est - the Paris East station.
The departure board.
The manuver locomotive which carried the train into the platform.
The newly built (2008) comfortable Siemens sleeping cars
Inside, one is greeted by a nice set up. Notice the four credit card-sized cards. They are the magnetic key card to your compartment - much like in a hotel. Very clever!