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The Russia Federation are kindly providing free train travel between host cities for spectators with match tickets, Fan ID and Passport for this summers World Cup.

I am trying to get from Volgograd to Nizhny Novgorod between 18th and 24th June

I am a little late to the party and thus in booking a train due to last minute match tickets but it appears all trains are now sold out.

I am a novice to Russian trains (Trans-Siberian express Moscow-Beijing only) Do Russian trains sell out? (I.E there is a limit on people allowed on the train) Or is it similar to the UK where there does not seem to be a limit of number of tickets sold for a train service. I do not mind paying for a ticket if all free tickets are gone.

Documentation provided by Russian authorities is limited and confusing to say the least. My source so far has been this supposedly official site https://tickets.transport2018.com

Are there any other Russian train ticket sites available in English or further advice on purchasing train tickets in Russia without being scammed?

I believe there is no direct train between the two cities. All trains are via Moscow?

  • I suggest you add the exact dates when you need to travel, because availability of tickets definitely depends on it. – Petr Jun 12 '18 at 14:40
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    Generally, this is the official site for ordinary (ie paid) tickets: pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en and there is a direct train, at least on some dates. – Petr Jun 12 '18 at 14:43
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    Please note that even if trains are sold out, some reservations are typically cancelled 7 days before the departure. Be sure to check later. Example of tickets for June 19. I am linking a third-party site which is easier to use, reliable, but has a higher ticket cost than rzd.ru – svavil Jun 12 '18 at 18:50
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The tickets on all long-distance trains in Russia are tied to a specific seat (or, well, bunk in a sleeping car); this is similar to what is called "mandatory seat reservation" in Europe. Therefore the trains can be sold out.

However, on ordinary trains (not special free-of-charge trains for World Cup fans) there are different classes of tickets, and usually the most expensive are available up to the very departure.

You can look up and buy tickets on the official site of Russial railways. Note that the interface can be sometimes difficult to comprehend (in particular due to poor English translation sometimes). You need to select the departure and arrival station from the drop-down lists that appear as you start typing. Select "Volgograd 1" or "Volgograd 2" for the departure station (this apparently are two different stations in the city; some trains may call at one station and some trains may call at another; some may call at both; so you might need to try both). Select "Nijnii Novgorod Moskov" for the arrival station ("Moskov[sky]" is the name of a particular station in Nizhny, this is the only station used for long-distance trains).

UFS Online is an official ticket-selling agency of Russian Railways and probably you will find their site easier to understand. Apparently they allow to look for trains from any Volgograd station at once (i.e. not specifying whether you need Volgograd 1 or Volgograd 2). However, they charge additional fee (several hunderds of rubles, I guess).

There is a direct train service that apparently runs every second day. I can see tickets available for June 19 and 21 and 23, for about 2500—3000 rubles, the ride takes 1 day 3 hours. Also, you can find a lot of options with a change in Moscow (but you will have to buy two separate tickets and most probably change the stations in Moscow).

Note that the direct train seems to be not a very comfortable one with old rolling stock ("Service class: 2Л" is the most basic one); the price also suggest this (3000 rubles for a 2-nd class ticket for more that a day trip is really cheap). For example, you might find that the toilets are closed during the (long) stops.

Note that also there are direct flights between the two cities by Utair and Aeroflot, and surely there are plenty of flights via Moscow. They are somewhat more expensive (Aeroflot seems to start from 6000 rub), but much faster.

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    Great answer! I'd just like to link some pictures of the model and the model cars, respectively designated as "economy sleeper" and "compartment", in order to understand what a weary traveler may be getting into. Personally, I absolutely adore cheap train travel, but if you're intolerant to body odors, smell of smoke or alcohol, noise, or dirty restrooms, it may not be the best means of transportation. – undercat Jun 12 '18 at 19:47
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    Thanks for the answer. I am checking out alternative non World Cup trains now. I did not know these were special fan trains. Flying is my last resort. I want to see the Russian countryside and I am in no rush between these two games to get to Novgorad. – davidb Jun 13 '18 at 10:01
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    @davidb, btw, note that there are two Novgorods in Russia: Veliky Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod, and when you say just Novgorod, everybody will assume you mean the former, not the latter. For the latter you can use Nizhny as shortened name. – Petr Jun 13 '18 at 10:03
  • @Petr Gotcha! Funny how FIFA and all other World Cup sources, media etc are referring to it simply as Novgorod for the tournament. – davidb Jun 13 '18 at 10:06
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Do Russian trains sell out?

As a rule, long-distance trains do: there's usually a limited amount of passengers allowed inside a passenger car (36, or 54, or 18 in sleeping cars, probably more in those with seats only.) Local suburban trains usually do not, but it takes some time to travel a long distance by suburban trains (years ago, it took at least three weeks to get from Moscow to Vladivostok.)

I tried to click all the Volgograd-related matches on the page you provided the link to, apparently all the free tickets are sold out. Chances are, the trains are full.

(Some thirty years ago it was not very uncommon to find passengers illegally riding trains, usually those who had reached an agreement with conductor; I don't really think something like this still exists.)

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