Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

Paris to Warsaw on a Russian Railroad Train! (Summer 2016)


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:00 AM

Hello all!

 

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.

7M6CWj6.jpg

 

The departure board.

Y64q3U9.jpg

 

The manuver locomotive which carried the train into the platform.

gBsLwMO.jpg

 

The newly built (2008) comfortable Siemens sleeping cars

1Pr5oRM.jpg

 

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!

0jmz6C8.jpg

 

 

 



#2 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:05 AM

The reverse side of the magnetic card:

MrN9U0h.jpg

 

The view from the train - a German IC boarding from Paris to Berlin I believe.

2Ah5suz.jpg

 

Inside the compartment. The lower bunks have an additional layer which make it into a sofa, so that both people from that side can sit during the day time and not worry about bed sheets.

PVCMvWB.jpg

 

kYw18sf.jpg

 

Now for some videos. Departing Paris:

 

General countryside somewhere in Europe ;)


Edited by Barciur, 28 January 2017 - 12:05 AM.


#3 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:09 AM

After a few hours, I decided to visit the Dining Car. The dining car is operated by Polish Railroad because of the European Union laws: no prepared food, no meat and no cheese can enter the EU. So the Russians use their own dining car up until the border of Belarus and Poland, then, after gauge change, the train runs for about 2 hours to Warsaw without one. In Warsaw, a Polish car is attached. It's the most prestigious dining car Poland has, well equipped, has the best crew which speaks numerous languages and has a very special menu - including expensive wine, champagne and foods. The crew were surprised to find out that I was Polish, but they were very friendly and gave me one of their menu cards as a souvenir!

 

Here are some pictures. The dining car:

aUUoA8o.jpg

 

A few pages out of the menu:

0jH8H1Z.jpg

 

29dBLsx.jpg

 

And a breakfast that I had the next morning - called the "Polish breakfast" :)

cfMkAVl.jpg

 

And here is a video that will probably interest some of you the most - a walk through the train from the dining car to my compartment:

 

 

Back in my compartment I discovered that underneath the table visible in the first post, there is a sink. It did not work, however. But looked nice!

OzSvXut.jpg



#4 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:12 AM

Arriving in Berlin Hbf. in the early hours of the morning:

M8lLw0G.jpg

 

The corridor in the sleeping car. On the left, the door of the compartment that opens outwards is visible. The door is a mirror inside, which is why there is a weird effect when it is open outside ;)

9ZRNRmf.jpg

 

Passenger information system

IEF3a8D.jpg

 

At one end of the hallway, there is a time table for the entire route of the train. This is something I found to be in existence also on domestic Russian routes.

3TLphSE.jpg

 

And the instructions for operating the beds are not available in English ;)

 

IALjnn9.jpg

 

The final video is of the train crossing the Oder river and with that the border from Germany into Poland:


Edited by Barciur, 28 January 2017 - 12:18 AM.


#5 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:17 AM

Upon prompt arrrival in Warsaw East station, I had 10 minutes to change into the domestic train which happened to be on the other platform. So I was able to take the picture from inside the train of the Russian cars. It looks very impressive!

ajzBIrS.jpg

 

uH7QhcE.jpg

 

The Polish train was just a short-distance intercity train, so it did not have any sleepers and I was only on it for 2.5 hours ;) Nevertheless, it wasn't too bad. Notice the similarities in the layout: the cars have sitting compartments so the corridor looks similar to that of a sleeping car

dNVy1gn.jpg

 

Compartment from the inside

WUPpMwJ.jpg

 

iFUxsLv.jpg

 

I can definitely say that this trip was very, very enjoyable! It was the first contact with the Russian Railroad that I had, and it was useful since I was getting ready for a trip to Russia and Kazakhstan just a month later. I did feel a bit alienated with very limited ability of speaking to the crew - the attendant sometimes would come in and try to ask something, but the language barrier was large. The train was nearly empty from Paris to Berlin, with only a few curious passengers. In Berlin, it fully filled up with nearly all Russian-speaking passengers headed across the border into Belarus and Russia. I was an outlier being a western tourist definitely and getting off in Warsaw - very few people did, if any. Nevertheless, the trip was worth the money. Comapred to flying, it was a lot more expensive, as I would have been able to get a €50 flight on short notice for this route, but being the train buff that I am, this was a great experience and if anybody has an opportunity to use any of the Russian trains in the West, I strongly recommend it! It is possible to get tickets on the RŻD website and it is not much of a hassle.



#6 VAtrainfan

VAtrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 39 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portsmouth, VA
  • Interests:Travel (by air or rail or highway), roller coasters

Posted 28 January 2017 - 02:47 AM

Nice report! That looks comfortable. What were the bunks like? My only experience with fold-down bunks was my parents' old camping trailer. I always had to sleep on the folded-down kitchen table, which was torture.



#7 ScouseAndy

ScouseAndy

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 250 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Liverpool- UK

Posted 28 January 2017 - 03:53 AM

One on my bucket list to do - thanks for the trip report

#8 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 28 January 2017 - 08:54 AM

Nice report! That looks comfortable. What were the bunks like? My only experience with fold-down bunks was my parents' old camping trailer. I always had to sleep on the folded-down kitchen table, which was torture.

They were very nice! Since the cars are from 2008, they were in very good working condition and they have a good matress on top of it. It was just a regular mattress that you'd find at decent hostels or cheaper beds in general. I didn't have any issues, in fact, it was one of the more comfortable sleeper rides I've had ;)



#9 snvboy

snvboy

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 129 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Virginia
  • Interests:spores, molds, and fungus

Posted 28 January 2017 - 09:23 AM

Great trip report! Looking forward to reading about Kazakhstan by train.



#10 hermit

hermit

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 78 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nor Cal
  • Interests:Trains,Art,Glass,Food,Outdoors

Posted 28 January 2017 - 10:25 AM

Thanks for sharing! 


Amtrak Routes taken

Coast Starlight(Lax-Sea)

California Zephyr(Emy-Chi)

Empire Builder (Chi-Sea)

Southwest Chief (Lax-Abq)

Pere Marquette(Chi-Grr)


#11 caravanman

caravanman

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,961 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nottingham, England.
  • Interests:Open minded travel, in which the journey is often as interesting as the destination...

Posted 28 January 2017 - 02:52 PM

Excellent report, thank you for writing it up.  This train was not on my radar at all, so it is a great "find".

 

I once went as far as Berlin overnight on the old city night line from Paris, a lot of fun. Also Amsterdam to Berlin daytime train then change to other daytime passenger trains to Warsaw and then on to Krakow.

 

This Russian train sounds great, and those restaurant meals seem a fair price too!

 

Looking forward to the next trip report.

 

Ed



#12 v v

v v

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 655 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK / France

Posted 28 January 2017 - 05:38 PM

Thanks, very much enjoyed your report.

 

It must be the same all over Russia as it's not a common second language so talking with train personnel or fellow Russian passengers will always be a challenge.  

 

Have a question. You bought your ticket via the RZD website, was this the Russia based website priced in Roubles? If it was how exactly did you pay?


Edited by v v, 28 January 2017 - 05:41 PM.


#13 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 28 January 2017 - 08:53 PM

Yes, it was based in Roubles. I paid by debit card. The debit/credit card must have verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode feature on - otherwise it will be rejected. As long as that feature on your Visa/MasterCard is on, it will go through and charge you an international transaction fee, whatever your bank might be charging you.


Edited by Barciur, 28 January 2017 - 08:53 PM.


#14 v v

v v

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 655 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK / France

Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:22 AM

Thanks Barciur, I guess we got unlucky as you can read on our Moscow - Vladivostok thread.

 

Have been trying to work this out that after using 2 different debit cards and 2 different credit cards from different banks we couldn't make payment at all over two days. But have also just looked up Russian public holidays and see that there are public holidays between 1 - 7 January, we tried our multiple attempts to make our ticket purchase on the 4th and 5th of January.

Our banks did explain that the Visa and Verified by Visa checks had been made and that they ok'd the payments but were never taken...

 

I guess that Russia switches off foreign purchases or something if they do not have staff enough to monitor it? how would I know.

 

Looking forward to your next installment 



#15 Steve4031

Steve4031

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,204 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:Riding Trains Often!!

Posted 29 January 2017 - 09:30 PM

This was very interesting. I never knew there was a Paris to Moscow train still running. Siemens did a nice job on those sleepers.

#16 railbuck

railbuck

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 169 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 30 January 2017 - 12:05 AM

Great trip report!  I took that train from Paris to Berlin last April.  Nicer than most sleepers in my experience; very comfortable and well maintained.  I tried to book on the first day the tickets were supposed to be available, with no luck on the RZD site, so I used Rail Europe instead, which worked fine but there was a handling fee to deliver paper tickets.



#17 JohnKelly

JohnKelly

    Train Attendant

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 31 January 2017 - 05:14 AM

Read with interest - thanks for sharing.

 

JohnKelly

RailRoads



#18 Manny T

Manny T

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 319 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago IL

Posted 31 January 2017 - 07:03 PM

Great report Barciur!

 

I wanted to go in the opposite direction once--Warsaw to Paris. My Polish friends WOULD NOT LET ME TAKE THE TRAIN. They said it wasn't safe (for Westerners)--robbery at night was very common, even drugging of passengers. They MADE me fly.

 

Clearly from reading your report you had no such concerns or problems. Would you care to venture any opinion on the safety of the train these day? Did you hear anything one way or the other?



#19 Barciur

Barciur

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancaster, PA

Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:49 PM

I have never heard of any issues with this train and I am quite shocked by what you are saying. The train is a prestigious train for the Russian railroads, one cannot enter it without a ticket and a passport, the compartments are locked with the magnetic card so I am  dumbfounded by this. Unless this was in the early 90's, for which time I cannot speak. But there is definitely no issues here - in fact, I have never come across any dangerous situations while on a train, for that matter. ;)



#20 Manny T

Manny T

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 319 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago IL

Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:57 PM

Barciur thanks for the information. My experience was indeed in the 1990's and it's quite possible it's out of date. You've updated the record!






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users