Moscow (Leningradsy train station) – St.Petersburg (Moskovsky train station)
Departure: 3:30 pm (local time)
Arrival 7:16 pm (local time)
Duration: 3h 46min
Distance: 400 mi (645 km)
Seats: 1,2 (First class)
“Sapsan Train Onboard Experience”
Do you like extraordinary experiences the way we like? If yes, check our high-speed train in Russia, which travels at a speed of about 240-250 km/h (149-155 mph) but can reach a maximum speed of 350 km/h (217 mph). This train is designed to run in Russian weather conditions and can even work in -50°C (-58°F).
Actually, this train is not constructed in Russia, it is made by Simens in Germany. It has European quality and Russian soul. This train is the most modern one in Russia, having 6 seat classes, personal TVs, Wi-Fi on board and two cars, one of which is a children zone ant the other one is for travelling with pets.
1. Train station time
As a frequent travellers, we came to the train station in advance, but the thing is that we often travel by plane, this First Class train experience was the first one in our list.
We read on the web site that First Class Sapsan passengers has a lounge, something like you have in airports. We came to Leningradsky train station and started asking stuff for that lounge, but everybody was directing us in various places. Direction from the web site didn’t work, as using it, you come to the service centre.
In 20 minutes we finally found it, but it was not, what we expected. If you have ever been in airport lounges, you wold perfectly understand us. Sapsan First and Business Class lounge was located (if it can be called like this) in one coffee shop. You just enter the coffee shop and in the and of the room there is a sign “Sapsan Business Lounge”. We asked workers once again, if there is a right place, we were looking for and everybody confirmed that.
So, the lounge is just a couple of sofas, the same as the other ones in that coffee shop, just marked by a sign “Sapsan Lounge”. You come there and order from that coffee shop menu and of course, pay for your order, as any other visitor.
Really? Have they ever heard about what the lounge is? We spent took coffee and spent the left time there, as simply had no many options in the train station. About 30 minutes before the departure we moved to our track.
To go to tracks you need to pass by a small luggage check before entering trains area. We did it quickly and easily fond our Sapsan train. Boarding was really fast, but it is not the same level as you have in First Class of airplane, not even close to that.
2. Train time
You enter the First Class car and look for your seats by yourself (being there the first time, you don’t know its configuration). By the way, in First Class car there are single seat from one side of the windows and double seats from the other side. As you could guess, we had double seats and we had it in the last row, which was called first, when we bought our tickets (our seat were 1,2).
And actually, you are not asked for a choice of welcome drink, like it usually works in First, or Business Class on board of an airplane. You sit and wait fore departure. The only time, a train staff passed by you is to give an amenity kit, which consists of slippers, shoe sponge, ear plugs and eye mask.
2.2. Meal service
In 10-15 minutes after departure, the train staff started a meal service. First of all, they pass by all the passengers with a stroller and offer one drink from the choice of: water, three types of juice, three types of sparkling sweet water and champagne (for example, one of us asked for a coffee shot, but they refused it). As an addition to this drink they offer you a cheese plate or/and dried fruits and nuts. Pouring you a drink, they offer you a menu, which we asked to leave for a time. Train stuff agreed to leave it, but later asked three times in 15 minutes, if we are ready to return it. It looked, like we asked them a brilliant jewellery to wear for some time and did not want to give back.
The thing is that many people know about Russian generosity, which did not work at all in this case with Sapsan. Continue reading and you’ll see, why this First Class doesn’t worthy at all!
Offering champagne, as a first drink with cheese and nuts appetiser, we got such small glasses that are usually served for “shot” drinks.
One way ticket for Sapsan First Class costs about 160 euro, which is ok, in terms of time spent for the trip. Travelling by train you spend time to come to the airport, registration procedure, luggage control, boarding…and you probably know the whole list. But, paying the same amount of money for a good one way business ticket, you get polite cabin crew, delicious meal with unlimited drinks choice and high quality service.
We also had a choice of three meal packages for lunch, but we took two different and both were not tasty at all, more over, we were offered only two drinks for the meal.
Train stuff was not rude, of course, but they behave like somebody made them serve us. Not even a smile on the face of both train attendants. You really feel like a little children, who made a bad thing and afraid of mum’s punishment, when you want to ask them something.
For our lunch we chose an option with fish as main course ant the other one with beef for the hot meal. To be honest, we were hungry, as it was already about 4pm and we had just cappuccino for breakfast, but we did not eat that lunch. It was so poor in terms of freshness and the way of cooking, so we decided to wait for St.Petersburg and eat there.
2.3. Car overview
When the meal time passed, we reclined our seats and decided to check all the conveniences that are provided in this train, particularly in First Class Car.
SO, you seat can not become 180 degrees fully flat bed, but it has enough recline to have a rest during the 4 hours road. You also have the simplest earphones provided by Sapsan for small TVs that you have in your seat, amenity kit that we mentioned in the beginning. You have a pillow and blanket for a comfort stay in the train, as it is a bit cold inside. And this is probably all, what you have in availability. You can put your luggage on a big shelf, which is used by all the passengers of this car and use a restroom, which is probably only for First Class passengers.
We haven’t seen the lavatory in Business or Economy Class, but our was super simple, not providing any amenities, so it didn’t give a clue for First Class salon.
3. Overall opinion
We are absolute travel lovers, but this experience disappointed us. Maybe we just had much more expectation from Sapsan First Class, which were not justified. But anyway, our personal opinion that this trip is not worthy. We would recommend Sapsan train as a fast way of Msc-SPb route, but not the First Class for sure. As we understood, it is not the airplane, where you have a wide variety of conveniences, high quality service and hospitality, it is something different. You can travel Business or Even Economy, which would be a fast and relatively cheap way for the route between Russian capital and its cultural capital.