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Trains

If there's a more relaxing and enjoyable way of getting around than train travel, we've yet to discover it.

2-berth Compartment on the Trans Siberian Railway and the 'Baikal' train from Irkutsk to Moscow

Great train journeys have an appeal that is absolutely unique. Aboard our many great train journeys you will be sleeping in comfortable 4-berth compartments unless you request and pay for 2-berth when you book (please note that this option is not available on all routes - see 'Essentials' on each itinerary page for further information). These are not chartered trains (except on Private Trains & Premium Tours) but rather local services that allow you to see the passing parade of local life unhindered by tourist influences. 

  Luggage storage, attendants, facilities and clean sheets - Trans Mongolian Railway 

Clean linen including sheets, blankets and pillows are provided and each cabin has ample room for storing luggage. Our carriages usually contain nine compartments, and are serviced by two attendants (conductors) who keep things tidy and look after the general welfare of their passengers. There are facilities to provide hot water for drinks and snacks (see above) and a basic but adequate bathroom is located at each end of every carriage. 

  Food on-board the Trans Siberian Railway and the Trans Mongolian dining car

If you are looking for a change of scene, then the dining car is always the focal point of life on board, offering meals, snacks, drinks and a place to relax during the day. This is often the best place to meet friendly local travellers and perhaps pass some time in a game of cards or chess.

Compartments contain 4 comfortable berths, with ample room to stretch out or sit up. There is a small table in the middle under the window, individual reading lights for each berth and on Chinese trains there are often thermos flasks of hot water also. In each compartments there can be a mix of group members and local travellers, the perfect opportunity to experience daily life aboard a trans-continental train.

Your carriage attendants are there to provide information, make sure the hot water is available, keep communal areas clean and tidy, and shepherd passengers back on the train when it's ready to leave. Although they rarely speak English, they are adept at sign language and great fun! Without doubt they are one of the most important elements of your rail adventure.

Life on board - following the map, Kiosks in Russia and the Trans Mongolian Railway

Lifting up the two bottom bunks, you'll find storage areas for luggage (see above). The metal bins are
large enough to fit most backpacks/rucksacks, soft bags and medium sized rigid suitcases - we strongly recommend you pack light for your travel. There are additional storage areas between the metal bins and the window area, and also above the door. It is advisable to pack a smaller bag with essentials for the train journeys, so you can leave your bags unopened and stored safely while on the train.

The bathrooms are small but adequate, containing a sink with running water and a toilet (western-style mostly, or squat-style on some Chinese trains). In our experience, the bathrooms are spacious enough to
have a strip-wash and also to wash your hair if you wish. Most trains do not have shower facilities and you should expect to go without showers on all train sectors. Hot water is always available, although you might want to bring your own plug for the sink!

The corridors of the train are another area to socialise,  or perhaps spend a solitary moment contemplating the countryside flying past. There are small fold-down seats, and depending on the season you are travelling, the windows may open or be sealed to accommodate the air-conditioning and heating systems.

For most travellers, the dining car becomes the centre of life on board. Apart from the meals - a combination of standard fare and locally sourced produce - this is the place to socialise between meals, meet other travellers and practice your language skills. Meals, snacks and drinks are available all day and into the evening, with waitress service and take-away options available. Vegetarian options are also available. The food available reflects the country you are travelling through, and what is available to purchase locally - for this reason the quality of cuisine can be very variable!

There are also plenty of opportunities to purchase snacks at the station kiosks and from platform vendors. Many local travellers bring picnics from home, and it is common practice to share provisions and create an impromptu feast in the compartment.