In China, if the train you want to take is full such that no tickets are available, you can buy a short ticket and supplement it on board by paying the fare of the remaining section plus a small fee. This causes the train to be overloaded which generally isn't a problem except that you don't get a seat on the supplemented section, unless the train is the newest model train which isn't designed to be overloaded.

However, a recent discussion on Flyertalk suggest that this won't work on the trans-Siberian railway.

The poster needed to travel eastward between two cities along the route and all beds in the eastern direction have been sold out, and he claimed that he won't be allowed to board the train when all beds have been sold out.

He also claimed that, given the vast distance between the cities (about 2000 km), using buses, taxis or hitchhiking aren't practical, and he couldn't find any flights connection anywhere on the route, and he ended up taking a long-haul flight to Europe, and another long-haul flight back to Asia.

Therefore, I need to avoid putting myself in such situation if I need to travel on the trans-Siberian railway. My question is that, if I need to travel on the railway and find that all trains have been sold out in the direction I'm travelling and there is no alternative transport available, what method can I use to board the train while paying the train fare on board?

  • Please note that there's multiple of trains with varying route travelling on every segment of Transsib. I doubt that all of them will be booked for a prolonged period of time.
    – alamar
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 18:03
  • There are 5-6 trains and at least 3 direct flights each day on that route and the poster you are linking to didn't claim that he couldn't find any options, but that everything was fully booked. In connection with holidays or special events, that is of course not entirely unlikely. But Russia and many other European countries have compulsory reservations in long distance trains, so if the train is fully booked, you can't just hop on and travel without a seat. I would assume though, that in Russia, monetary 'contributions' to the conductor may solve many problems. Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 18:51
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo I won't count on that, first of all because you're not the only smart person in town, if there's serious clogging you can expect that any "extra" seats are taken either.
    – alamar
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


what method can I use to board the train while paying the train fare on board?

None. The poster in the forum you linked is correct. You must purchase a ticket in advance, and will not be allowed to board without a reservation (and ID corresponding to the details provided when making the reservation). If all the trains are sold out, you're out of luck.

  • 8
    According to The Man in Seat 61, there may be local trains that can get you by the choke points, even if you cannot get a through ticket. Do check whether you can do the journey using several different trains. Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 15:09

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