What opportunities do Russian railways offer for tourism

In Russia, an extensive railway network allows you to form a variety of routes for travelers (both short-term, lasting several hours, and longer - up to several days). Recently, railway tourism has been actively developing, offering a full rest and an interesting pastime. The high-comfort train is not only a means of transportation, but also performs the functions of a hotel, restaurant, entertainment center, tour desk. In Russia, the most famous tourist trains are:

  • «Swift»;
  • «East»;
  • «Golden eagle»;
  • "Baikal cruise"
  • "Imperial Russia".

They take tourists to the most beautiful places of our country, and during stops, passengers are offered organized bus or walking tours.

What directions does JSC "Russian Railways" offer for the tourist market?

Firstly, these are weekend tours (the duration of the trip is no more than two days), most often performed by state or corporate order. Individual tourists are in great demand for day trips to:

  • Tver;
  • Kaluga;
  • Torzhok;
  • Suzdal;
  • Vladimir;
  • Veliky Novgorod.

Quite well-known tourist train "Circum-Baikal Express", which follows 2 days along the coast of Lake Baikal with stops in the most beautiful places.

Secondly, these are regional tourist trips. The republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories, as well as the following regions are of the greatest interest:

  • Nizhny Novgorod;
  • Sverdlovsk;
  • Chelyabinsk;
  • Moscow;
  • Rostov;
  • Tyumen.

Thirdly, these are railway cruises, which were very popular during the Soviet period. There was a whole specialized infrastructure that allowed people to spend nights on the train, and during the day to get acquainted with the sights of various cities. 

Today, this direction has a great potential, which is used by railway workers, developing new routes and reviving well-forgotten old ones. Tour operators note that ordinary tourists and people making business trips are increasingly choosing high-speed trains. Among the winter programs are popular «A Trip to Santa Claus» in Veliky Ustyug and «The Greatness of the North ». JSC "Russian Railways" provides a wonderful opportunity to have fun and interesting New Year holidays. In 2022, new tourist routes are already being implemented: "Pomor Express" and "To Siberia".

Retro steam-powered trains are also of interest, which is also becoming a promising tourist destination, such as the route from Sortavala to Ruskeala Park, which has gained popularity. The station and the interior of this train are decorated in the style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the departure is announced by the strokes of the station bell. It is already possible to make similar one-day tours to Tula, Kolomna or Ryazan.

What is the difference between a comfortable tourist train and a regular train?

This is a real hotel on wheels. An air disinfection system is hidden under the ceiling, integrated into the recirculation channel. The passing air flows are treated with a powerful ultraviolet lamp, so viruses become inactive and safe for passengers.

The cars are equipped with video surveillance systems, public service areas, electronic displays, air conditioners. Coolers with cold and hot water are installed instead of titans. In the toilet rooms, everything is in accordance with modern sanitary standards: shower, toilets are environmentally friendly, contactless supply of soap and water, hand dryer is automatic. 

The reserved cars can boast of an updated design. The shelves are 10 centimeters longer than the shelves, each place has a curtain, an outlet and a USB connector. The compartments are equipped with modern TVs, and the rooms «suite »— have their own bathroom.

Tourist trains are formed with additional cars: a bar, a restaurant, a dance floor, karaoke, a library, etc. In the evenings or on long stretches, lectures, live music concerts, master classes are held in spacious beautiful halls. The guides are friendly, friendly, speak foreign languages. 

Advantages of rail travel

There are many positive sides:

  • saving on hotels;
  • independence from the transfer;
  • comfortable enough accommodation;
  • availability of the trip at any time of the year;
  • perfect logistics (there will be no delays);
  • excursions are conducted by experienced local guides;
  • city cafes and restaurants provide meals;
  • reasonable price (but you can also get cashback);
  • almost all services are already included in the ticket price;
  • providing full support from the beginning of the tour to the end;
  • when crossing the border, the inspection is carried out by customs officers directly in the compartment;
  • the routes are circular, i.e. the train does not pass through the same area twice.

And there is only one minus: you have time to see a lot of beautiful places, but there is no way to stay where you liked. 

Currently, Russian railway tourism is being born anew. If initially he focused on foreigners who want to ride along the Trans-Siberian railway, now the priority is the development of domestic tourist routes accessible to the general population, including schoolchildren, students, large families.

A large-scale project "Five Fridays" is being successfully implemented, the main idea of which is to minimize the cost of the trip, since the train is fully redeemed, and thanks to the support of local authorities, food is inexpensive. On Friday, vacationers go to another city, on Saturday a rich excursion program is organized for them, and in the evening everyone returns home with a heap of pleasant impressions.

Since 2021, independent tourists are not required to purchase an excursion program, i.e. for them the train is transport and a hotel for the duration of the tour, and they plan excursions of their own choice and pay extra.  

Railway tours provide a high level of safety and comfort of movement (you can admire nature from the windows of the train, walk around the car at any time or lie down to rest, disconnect from work and relieve the tension accumulated during the week under the lulling sound of wheels).

To further develop the traditions of railway travel, it is necessary to improve the regulatory framework, regulate train schedules in accordance with the needs of vacationers, launch high-speed trains along the routes of popular tourist regions.

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