Russia - General Information
This page is a skeleton containing only basic information about the Russian railway system. Detailed information is available only for the Kaliningrad Oblast. If you can help with information on Russia, please contact us.
National railway system
RZD: Rossiyskiye Zheleznye Dorogi (РЖД: Российские железные дороги).
Russian [Cyrillic characters]. As for other countries using Cyrillic, there are numerous transliteration systems. The BGN/PCGN system (British Standard) is used in this site.
1 Rouble = 100 Kopeks.
numeric: 20; alpha: RUS
Important note about times. The Russian Federation is divided into 11 time zones. Historically, arrival and departure times for both long-distance and local trains were always shown according to Moscow time, irrespective of which time zone the station was located in. Since 1 August 2018 these are now shown in local time.
- Domestic services: eng.rzd.ru/schedulee/public/rzdeng?STRUCTURE_ID=46
- International services: A list of international trains is given at eng.rzd.ru/statice/public/rzdeng?STRUCTURE_ID=4068.
- CIS journey planner give timetables for long distance trains in whole former USSR.
- Сервис поиска оптимальных маршрутов по СНГ на электричках, in Russian only, give timetables for local services (Elektrychkas). The easiest way to use it is to chose the area concerned in the list of oblasts (green box at the bottom of the page), then to chose the relevant station either on the map (by clicking on the red spot representing the station and click on "Расписание") or in the list of stations below the map.
No official downloadable timetable is available. However, an excellent privately published timetable, covering the whole of Russia, is available from Herr Hans-Jürgen Schulz who can be contacted at email@example.com.
No public timetable is published; as far as is known details are merely posted at stations.
- "Атлас схем железных дорог" (Atlas skhem zhelzenykh dorog)from 2005 published by Omskaya kartografitcheskaya fabrika (ISBN 595230113-4).
- Sections of Dmitry Zinoviev's "Supermap" of the railways of the former USSR, for example parovoz.com/maps/supermap/supermap.php?X=E&Y=2&LANG=en (see hyperlinked English legend for key to colour-coding and types of line used).
- A very small scale map of main passenger routes is available on the RZD website.
- A complete bunch of maps, covering entire Russian railways, made by Pavel Kashin is available at: http://foto.mail.ru/mail/ngrw_paul/-?page=1 and following pages (up to 7 at present).
Advance reservation is required for all travel by long-distance trains, so tickets for these are sold at different windows from local trains. Intending travellers must present an identity card/passport when purchasing tickets as a precaution against 'ticket touts'. On-line purchases require the entry of a passport number and generate a voucher. This voucher is NOT a Travel ticket but must be printed out and exchanged for a ticket at a ticket office.
Broad (1520 mm).
Tramway systems are mainly 1524 mm gauge. The tramways in Kaliningrad and Pyatigorsk are metre gauge.
3 kV DC and 25 kV 50 Hz. At transition points such as Vyaz'ma, Vladimir, Danilov or Balezino, the power supply to the catenary is switchable to enable locomotives of through trains to be changed.
Metro systems are 825 V dc third rail. Tramways are 600 or 550 V dc.
Rule of the road
Many cities have a “Pioneer” public narrow-gauge railway that combines a hobby activity for teenagers with practical training in railway operation. These 'Dyetsky Zelegny Dorogy' (DZD) typically operate on a few km of track in a public park on weekends between 1 May and the start of the new school year. For details, see the Web site (partly in English) railways.id.ru/towns/towns.html.
Chelyabinsk [not open before 2025], Kazan', Krasnoyarsk [construction suspended 2015], Lebedyan, Moskva, Nizhni Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk [construction stopped 2018], Samara, Sankt-Peterburg, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg.
Metro track maps are available at Popov Metro maps captioned in Russian.
Metro Track Maps are also available at the Trackmap.ru site.
Achinsk, Angarsk, Arkhangel'sk, Barnaul, Biysk, Chelyabinsk, Cherepovets, Cheryomushki, Dzerzhinsk, Irkutsk, Izhevsk, Kaliningrad, Kazan', Kemerovo, Khabarovsk, Kolomna, Komsomol'sk-na-Amure, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Krasnotur'insk, Kursk, Lipetsk, Magnitogorsk, Moskva, Murmansk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Nizhnekamsk, Nizhniy Tagil, Nizhni Novgorod (Gorki), Novokuznetsk, Novotroitsk, Novocherkassk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orël, Orsk, Osinniki, Perm', Prokop'yevsk, Pyatigorsk, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara (Kuybyshev), Sankt-Peterburg, Salavat, Saratov, Shakhty, Smolensk, Sochi, Stary Oskol, Taganrog, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Ufa, Ulan Ude, Ul'yanovsk, Usol'ye Sibirskoye, Ust'-llimsk, Ust'-Katav, Vladikavkaz, Vladivostok, Volzhskiy, Volchansk, Volgograd, Yaroslavl', Yekaterinburg, Zlatoust.
See the LRTA Russia Federation World system list covering Russia for status.
A few tram track maps are available at Popov maps captioned in Russian.
The UrbanRailNet site has basic line diagrams plus links to the local operators.
Recent and future changes
On 17 August 2018 the Ukrainian Government announced that all public transport links to Russia by rail and bus would be cut from an unspecified date.
Chelyabinsk Metro, as of 2018, an exact opening date would not occur before 2025.
Omsk Metro Construction was suspended by the government of the Omsk Oblast in May 2018.
Constriction of the Krasnoyarsk Metro was suspended in 2015 until 2020.
The introduction of high-speed 200 km/h trains between Helsinki and St Peterburg in December 2010 has reduced the capacity for freight trains. A new electrified line has therefore been constructed between Petäjäjärvi and Kamennogorsk, and much of the freight traffic diverted via the Rutshji - Petäjäjärvi - Kamennogorsk - Vyborg line.
Passenger services on the RZD railway network are either local or long distance; in principle, three classes of accommodation are available on long distance trains:
“platskarts”: equivalent to 3rd class; open carriages
“kupe”: equivalent to 2nd class; compartments for 4 people
“spalny vagon”: equivalent to 1st class; compartments for 2 people
Local services stopping at most or all stations and halts en route do not require reservations, so they have separate ticket office windows.
Long-distance services consist of several coaches divided into compartments, which can be converted into sleeping accommodation for use overnight, and hauled by locomotives.
Passenger train numbering
Throughout the broad-gauge network of the former Soviet Union, long-distance passenger trains are numbered in the range below 1000, in many cases followed by a letter. The most important trains are numbered below 100. In principle, each train whose destination is to the south and/or west of its origin bears an odd number; the corresponding return working bears the following even number. Note that some run only on alternate days (always odd or even dates at a particular station en route). The schedule for each can be consulted on-line by entering the train number. Local passenger trains are generally numbered in the 6xxx range.