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Traveling between Moscow & St. Petersburg - via plane or train?

Traveling between Moscow & St. Petersburg - via plane or train?

Old Mar 27, 13, 9:38 pm
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Traveling between Moscow & St. Petersburg - via plane or train?

What are the pros/cons of traveling between Moscow and St. Petersburg by plane or train?

If you calculate travel time to/from the city center to the airports, travel time is probably similar. Is there a ticket price difference between flying and taking the fast train?
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Old Mar 28, 13, 8:00 am
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the train ticket can range from 900 rubles for 8h overnight
to 3900 rub for 4h fast train one way

for the date i looked you can buy a one way ticket for 90min flight for $80
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Old Mar 29, 13, 5:38 am
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I always prefer the train. Navigating to/within the train stations is a lot less hassle and aggravation than getting to/through/from the airports. The overnight train can save you a night of hotel cost (if you are one of those people who, like me, enjoys sleeping on a train). And it's just a more civilized way to travel, IMO.

I took the fast train for the first time last year and was extremely impressed. I've been taking the sleepers since the late 1980s and they haven't changed/improved much at all, but that fast train is a revelation in comfort and service. Mind you, I don't have a problem with the sleepers either, but they are definitely old-school.
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Old Mar 31, 13, 6:29 pm
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Most native Russians I know always fly. There's a lot of competition from most aviation companies. Reasonable prices from all Moscow airports. Some drive ( 8 hours) and the roads past the Moscow boundary is so-so.

I personally don't have the patience for trains, but if I did take the train, I would probably take the sapsan ( high speed rail )

http://www.poezdsapsan.ru (in Russian)

The train is nice ground option. The sapsan is similar to the German ICE. 3 1/2 hours from Leningrad Station to Moscow Station. Presumably the slow trains take double that time.

There is also the famous Red arrow train that runs overnight.

Aeroflot operates a SVO-LED shuttle, that's quite nice. My personal preference.
Aeroflot Shuttle http://www.aeroflot.ru/cms/en/special_offers/shuttle

Last edited by meFIRST; Mar 31, 13 at 6:36 pm
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Old Apr 3, 13, 8:01 pm
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I think that a high speed train is a better option if you are staying within a reasonable commute time from train stations in both cities. A flight will most likely take more time door-to-door if you account for airport transfers, security, etc...
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Old Apr 4, 13, 8:26 pm
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With LED being so close to the inner city, I've always enjoyed flying. The Russian rail experience is a great one as you get to take a trip back in time...the Sapsan is great too in terms of speed and ease of travel.

Flying for me though gets the win, 1hour in the plane is great and with competition being so fierce for the MOS-LED route, most airlines do a great job of getting you in and out effectively. FWIW, SU is the tops for this route.
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Old Apr 6, 13, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by jredknapp11 View Post
With LED being so close to the inner city, I've always enjoyed flying. The Russian rail experience is a great one as you get to take a trip back in time...the Sapsan is great too in terms of speed and ease of travel.

Flying for me though gets the win, 1hour in the plane is great and with competition being so fierce for the MOS-LED route, most airlines do a great job of getting you in and out effectively. FWIW, SU is the tops for this route.
It seems Aeroflot and S7 are the major arlines flying between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Since I try to fly with OneWorld or Star Alliance airlnes, I will probably look into S7's LED-DME route. I am a bit surprised with the size of Star Alliance, it has not partnered with a Russian airline
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Old Apr 6, 13, 8:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Time traveller View Post
I am a bit surprised with the size of Star Alliance, it has not partnered with a Russian airline
The problem is, ST and OW bagged the only two airlines in the country that looked at least half fit to be in a global alliance. Everyone else is too small and disorganised or operates on a different business model (UN).

Back to the OP, that probably depends on where you are or want to be in Moscow and StPete and how much luggage you carry. With the cost of getting to the airport in Moscow planes and trains cost probably the same. But dealing with security and navigating SVO or DME or VKO can be stressful enough so I'd probably take the night train anyway.
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