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sapsan6

Every trip to Russia is memorable, but this one was special. An opportunity to attend a major world event in the motherland, to see Russia in all its glory, and evaluate how well the country handled the massive influx of foreign tourists visiting Sochi for the Olympics. At the same time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take my first train journey. The rails are deeply rooted in American history and remain active today. However, they are primarily used for freight shipments rather than passenger transport. Most Americans have cars, our road infrastructure is excellent, and we're a very mobile nation. There's no need to ride a train long distances when you can simply drive yourself anywhere in America and enjoy magnificent sites along the way. So, I've never once taken a train ride in the States.

My journey to Sochi began in St. Petersburg, my favorite Russian city. It was here that I boarded the high speed Sapsan train, which carried me to Moscow. Overall, an impressive experience!Read more...Collapse )

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( 234 comments — Leave a comment )
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andrey_kaminsky
Feb. 25th, 2014 05:25 am (UTC)
Нет человека понимающего Россию лучше меня
For me it is more convenient to travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg by ordinary train. Because you can take a train at evening, sleep all night and come in the morning. This is undoubtedly the technology of the future, because distant stars can be achieved by the space ships only if the crew of a spacecraft is into a deep sleep, That sociable guy on the train that you took as a drunkard, he is actually a voluntary member of the Russian space program. Russian scientists have found that intoxicated sleeping is much safer for astronauts than sleeping in a frozen state. Now volunteers are working hard to bring technology of alcoholic sleep to perfection and reach Alpha Centauri.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Нет человека понимающего Россию лучше меня
Yes, that drunkard was definitely living on another planet and a very happy one. :)) And you had this notorious train sex when you were younger and single? This trip was short, so the efficiency of Sapsan worked for me, especially since I was taking a 26 hour train ride the next day.
livejournal
Feb. 25th, 2014 08:01 am (UTC)
Россия глазами иностранцев: Железнодорожное путешест
User macos referenced to your post from Россия глазами иностранцев: Железнодорожное путешествие американки saying: [...] и Москвой? Или вы предпочитаете путешествие самолётом? Впечатления? *Оригинал записи читайте здесь [...]
south_of_broad
Feb. 25th, 2014 09:07 am (UTC)
So far I only have been to one similar high speed train , but from Paris to Stuttgart. Pretty much the same. 2.5 hours, no security check ( very disconcerting btw), price - about 300$ for 2 adults and one child. I think we stopped like 4 times, one time on the border with Germany and there was a passport control. A rare thing here in EU. I am so used to nonexistent borders between the countries that sometimes I just forget my passports when I travel here. Likely we did have them with us at that time. But still, even with all the convenience of the train rides, I prefer to travel by car.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, a borderless world is great! I loved traveling in the EU on my Eastern European journey, crossing into a new country with no barriers. I'm all for security checks! Some readers find procedures in the U.S. overly invasive, but I prefer it. I don't care who is feeling me up at airport security if it prevents some maniac from boarding my flight. Security on Russian trains and stations was very tight, of course in a heightened state because of the Olympics.
livejournal
Feb. 25th, 2014 09:30 am (UTC)
Россия глазами иностранцев: Железнодорожное путешест
User phd_paul_lector referenced to your post from Россия глазами иностранцев: Железнодорожное путешествие американки saying: [...] и Москвой? Или вы предпочитаете путешествие самолётом? Впечатления? *Оригинал записи читайте здесь [...]
Erik Shindler
Feb. 25th, 2014 09:41 am (UTC)
I had similar experiance with famous german trains , very convenient. Should someday try Sapsan too.
Thanks
peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, take a ride on the Sapsan and let me know what you think. :)
revrail
Feb. 25th, 2014 10:39 am (UTC)
Hi, what do You think about freedom of photography in Russia and photography on the railway in particular?
peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
Of course, freedom of photography in Russia is a big problem. Always a battle to take photographs of interiors, or even people. I can't say we face the same obstacles in America, where people are generally more open with strangers and willing to be photographed. Almost always in Russia it's a battle to take photos of places or things. However, I'm a lawyer and persuasive with arguments. :) So, I usually find a way to make it happen. Btw, interestingly this photo phobia mentality carries over, even when people immigrate to America. See this story, for example: http://peacetraveler22.livejournal.com/17675.html
(no subject) - bobouches - Feb. 25th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 25th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 76329 - Mar. 2nd, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 3rd, 2014 02:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 76329 - Mar. 3rd, 2014 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
livejournal
Feb. 25th, 2014 11:38 am (UTC)
Россия глазами иностранцев: Железнодорожное путешест
User el_tolstyh referenced to your post from Россия глазами иностранцев: Железнодорожное путешествие американки saying: [...] и Москвой? Или вы предпочитаете путешествие самолётом? Впечатления? *Оригинал записи читайте здесь [...]
mybathroom
Feb. 25th, 2014 01:15 pm (UTC)
Nice post, Shannon!

I used to travel on the Sapsan train several times. I like it a lot!
peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Have you taken a lot of rides on overnight trains?
(no subject) - mybathroom - Feb. 25th, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Feb. 25th, 2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
No, never travelled on Sapsan train.

I visited St.Petersburg only once when I was a schoolboy.
It was sort of school exchange when we travelled with the whole class and slept in their school and they slept in ours.
We also did it once more travelling to Kaunas, Lithuania.

peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
And how did you get there? On a bus, car, overnight train?
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Feb. 25th, 2014 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 25th, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bobouches - Feb. 25th, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
bobouches
Feb. 25th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
Sapsan with Acela
I'm regularly use both of this train. In RU earlier train from Moscow to Saint Petersburg and late evening Saint Petersburg to Moscow. I prefer to pay additional $70 and get tickets for Lounge car. Amtrak Acela NYC - BOS - NYC much smoother ride rather then in Sapsan. However Sapsan much faster then Acela. Cruise speed of Sapsan is 200km/h (around 124 ml/h) all the way. Acela running 240km/h (150 ml/h) only in CT and have lots of stops, Sapsan have only two stops...

Pricing: Acela NYC->BOS time to distillation 3 hr, 45 min price >$100. BOS->NYC time to distillation 3 hr, 30 min price >$100
Sapsan MOS->SPB time to distillation 3 hr, 40 min, price from $80. SPB->MOS time to distillation 3 hr, 49 min, price from $80

Distance: Moscow to Saint Petersburg - 649.7 km (403.7 miles)
New York City to Boston around 354 km (~220 miles)

Bottom line: Sapsan much faster train and in the near future it will run on the speed closer to 400 km/h (240 ml/h) So if you will ask what is the difference as a service, speed and train - service is practically the same, as a high-speed train all of them equal. Problem of Acela is a track itself and traffic. Sapsan have dedicated time frame "corridor" when no other trains on the way this is why it is so fast. Sapsan have only two inconvenience - security check and luck of free Wi-Fi /outlets
peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Sapsan with Acela
Great! Thanks for useful information and comparison. In reality, the Acela is not much faster than a normal Amtrak train on the route from DC to NYC. Benefit is comfort. In contrast, Sapsan is way faster and more efficient as you correctly noted. I think I'll still take a ride on the Acela train just to compare. But I hate NYC! Maybe I'll take the longer route to Boston.
Re: Sapsan with Acela - bobouches - Feb. 25th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
aslan
Feb. 25th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
I haven`t ever use Sapsan, but in several months I`ll have a chance to test it.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 25th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
Hello! I think you will like it!
(no subject) - aslan - Feb. 25th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
xpo_xpo_xpo
Feb. 26th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
One should ride night train.
Especially seating one :) Once I rode such train (there were no tickets left for platzkarte -- prison-like sleeping car, I like them much -- so I had to book this train), there were some conscripts running and smoking all the night. Surprisingly enough, old-styled soviet seat were pretty comfortable but this platoon of elephanties-in-boots (I hope elephanty will mean small elephant? I like Russian affix flexibility: from each root you can derive hundred words!)... It was hard to sleep!

Night trains are pretty convenient: usually you board 10 PM to 1 AM, sleep all the night and arrive 5 AM to 12 PM so you need no hotel just to spend a single day in Piter. As I understand, Russian Railways now try to remove these trains as they are cheap and offer nothing to put into executives' pockets: it's much better to introduce something expensive to build, then try to build this, then fail... Like famous (excuse me, infamous) high-speed line (in Piter they called it Yama -- pit -- because the only thing was built is a big dig near Moscow Station) :)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 26th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
Re: One should ride night train.
Night train...I did it! More than a night train - a 26 hour ride from Moscow to Sochi. I'll discuss in next post. But of course with a bed. Sounds horrible to be on a night train sitting in a seat, but if it's the only option and you need to be somewhere then you do it. :)
And what about my linquistic hopes? - xpo_xpo_xpo - Feb. 26th, 2014 03:54 am (UTC) - Expand
noddeat
Feb. 26th, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
Surprisingly I haven't riden Sapsan in Russia, but I've used Acela Express from NY to DC. I can only compare Acela to German ICE 3, but it is more or less the same train (Siemens Velaro D for Germany and Siemens Velaro RUS for Russia).

American train is expensive (by European standards), but I bought tickets one day before departure.


peacetraveler22
Feb. 26th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
If you buy tickets in advance, it's not so costly but definitely more expensive than regular train. The Acela looks almost identical to Sapsan, but the interior of the train is different. Acela aisles look more narrow and seats smaller.
(no subject) - 76329 - Mar. 2nd, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 3rd, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
livejournal
Feb. 27th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
American Journey to Sochi, Part 2: Train Ride from Moscow to Adler
User _xb referenced to your post from American Journey to Sochi, Part 2: Train Ride from Moscow to Adler saying: [...] Station, which sits right across the street. I arrived here the night before on the Sapsan train [...]
baidit
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
Sapsan is definitely a nice option to travel between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Interestingly enough flights may be slightly cheaper and timetable may be more convenient. Keeping in mind aero express (train service from Moscow airports to the centre of Moscow) is also helpful, so sometimes I prefer to fly. But Sapsan is more comfortable.
BTW, I took a train from Albany to NYC and back few years ago. As I remember it was operated by Amtrak. I think Sapsan is a little bit more comfortable. And boarding is allowed earlier before departure in Russia, so you can seat instead of staying in the middle of Penn station waiting for your train.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
I took Aeroexpress for the first time on the flight back from Sochi. It was nice and convenient! I've never been on an American train, but will travel on one soon and write a comparison report.
(no subject) - baidit - Feb. 27th, 2014 06:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 27th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - baidit - Feb. 27th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
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