life on board



A common question asked by those booking our Trans-Siberian tours is “what are the trains really like?” Obviously this is a very valid and important questions considering between 6 and 7 days of a Trans-Siberian rail holiday will be spent on the train and that the train is usually the single most important reason why the trip is being taken in the first place.

The Basics - Trans-Siberian Carriage Layout

Common to all trains is the layout of the carriage. The bulk of the carriage is divided into cabins with lockable doors with an isle running the full length of the carriage making it possible to walk all the way from one end of the train to the other. Each carriage also have two toilets at either end of the carriage with one of these being designed to be more of a washroom as well where you can throw some water about to have a proper wash. Each carriage will also have a samovar located opposite the cabin of the conductors. This provides a constant supply of boiled and boiling water which is invaluable for those coffee and tea breaks s well as for the inevitable pot noodle that is a staple diet along the Trans-Siberian. Lastly, at the end of each carriage is an area by the doors where it is possible to smoke on most trains.
trans-siberian train carriage layout

All about your cabin

Cabin layouts are also very similar across all trains. The biggest difference between cabins is that of first or second class. Second class cabins are 4 berth with 2 upper and two lower beds. First class cabins are 2 berth and on Russian trains are usually 2 lower berths although occasionally there is one upper and one lower berth. Decor varies from the functional to the kitsch. Each cabin, first or second class, will have a small table underneath the window and luggage storage areas under the lower berths (which lift up) and also above the door. The doors themselves are lockable from both the inside and outside providing a safe and secure environment. There is one large window which has both a blind and curtains. The cabin is well lit with both central lights and reading lights. There is also a knob to turn down the onboard radio. Altogether a comfortable set up that quickly becomes a home on your journey.
blog tsib life 1
blog tsib life 2

Trans-Siberian train dining cars

The other spot on the train you are likely to spend a good deal of time is the dining car. The dining cars have been contracted out across the rail network and it seems these days that no two are alike from both a decor and food point of view. Some will have restrictive opening times, others will be happy to let you stay there all day although all are likely to require you to buy at least drinks. Food varies enormously but is usually quite palatable and reasonably priced on most trains. Although some dining cars can be like ghost towns others are the social hub of the train and some of our best Trans-Siberian memories involve time spent in the dining cars.



Siberia's Top 5

Siberia is one of the highlights of a Trans-Siberian journey and most visitors will undoubtedly have at least one stop in this magnificent region.

A Plumb Adventure

The Trans-Siberian Travel Company's staff member Chris Plumb took an epic journey from Vladivostok to St Petersburg visa Mongolia and the Tsars Gold train.

Trips Avoiding China

In the past most tourists have focused on the Trans-Mongolian to Beijing but in recent years the Trans-Siberian line to Vladivostok has become increasingly popular.

Visiting St Petersburg

Is it worth adding on a visit to the second city of Russia; St Petersburg? After all, it isn’t strictly a part of the Trans Siberian or Mongolian train lines.

Moscow Metro

There are so many options of tours in Moscow but a Metro tour should be the top of everyone’s list and is one of our favourites with plenty of surprises!

Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

One of the most popular stops on any Trans Mongolian or Trans Siberian Railway tour is the wonderful Siberian city of Irkutsk and nearby Lake Baikal.

Destination Ekaterinburg

Ekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia and one of the most popular stops on the Trans-Siberian Railway offering up history and rural Russia in the Urals.

Moscow's Kremlin

Literally meaning “fortress inside a city” the Moscow Kremlin refers to the fortified collection of palaces and cathedrals that look over Red Square.

St Petersburg's Hermitage

The State Hermitage is one of the world’s oldest museums having been founded by Catherine the Great 250 years ago and has been open to the public for over 160 years.

First Time China

As this was my first time in China I was keen to see as much as possible. We settled on Beijing, Xian and Shanghai which offer great contrasts.

Platform Life

This trip is full of discovery but you have to also get up and go out on the platforms to find the most exciting experiences to complete your Trans-Siberian trip.

Train Life

Guest blog entry describing life on board a Trans-Siberian train and the daily coming and going and routines you get into on a long train ride.

What Route to Take

When first exploring into the Trans Siberian railway, one of the first questions to ask yourself is which way to go. Here our guest blogger gives her views.

Moscow Impressions

First in a series of 5 articles written by guest blogger Louisa Howard who completed a Trans-Mongolian trip with us from Moscow all the way to Shanghai.

Trans-Siberian History

Learn about the history of this extraordinary railway in our brief guide to the construction and importance of the train routes across Russia and to China.

Tsars Gold Train

The Tsars Gold private train is one of several that run tours just for tourists in a good level of comfort along the Trans-Mongolian route. Learn more here.

Life On Board

What is a Siberian train really like? Here we go into detail about what you experience on the trains and how they really are and what facilities they have.

Destination Vladivostok

Vladivostok lies at the Far Eastern end of the Trans-Siberian railway and has been a city that has had an important part in the history of several countries.

Destination Krasnoyarsk

One of the lesser know destinations available for Trans-Siberian Tours is a stopover in the city of Krasnoyarsk despite being the third largest in Siberia.

About Siberia

With a total size of 13.1 million square miles Siberia takes up three quarters of Russia’s total size and a tenth of the whole world’s surface - learn more.

Off The Beaten Track

Learn about our Off The Beaten track rail tours that visit destinations less visited along the Siberian and Trans-Mongolian rail routes including Kazan and Krasnoyarsk.

Gers in Winter

One of the Highlights of a Trans-Siberian Tour is Mongolia and a night or two out at a ger camp on the steppe. How about visiting Mongolian ger camps in winter?

Visa Requirements

There are few nationalities that can take a Trans-Siberian trip visa free. This article intends to shed some light on the paperwork required by most.

Bogie Changing

Whether you are a train aficionado or not one of the more unusual Trans-Siberian tours experiences available to the traveller occurs at the Chinese borders.

Planning A Trip

For many people the idea of how to start organizing their Trans Siberian holiday is a daunting task. Here is a beginner’s guide to deciding what’s best for you.

Trans-Siberian in Winter

Winter is a very special time to travel the Trans-Siberian but many might be put off by the cold. This article will hopefully convince you to dress up warm and travel!

Accommodation Options

One of the joys of Trans-Siberian is the wide variety of accommodation on offer. Here we list some of the best options for the most popular stop overs.

Destination Kazan

Kazan is half way between Moscow and Ekaterinburg and an increasingly popular stop on Trans-Siberian trips for its exciting mix of cultures from East and West.

Trans-Siberian Routes

In this article we discuss the different Trans-Siberian route options available including the Trans-Manchurian, Trans-Mongolian and the Baikal Amur Mainline.

Who Travels The Trans-Siberian

Using the public trains in Russia who are you likely to come across on your Trans-Siberian travels. Here we discuss the different groups you are likely to find.

Train Classes

Picking the right train class can make all the difference on a Trans-Siberian train trip where so much time is spent on board. Learn about the different train classes here.

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