(a) Overnight trains are great in Russia – even in the lowest class carriages you will get a proper bed. This is a great way to experience travel
(b) Trains are also very warm so in winter it will be -30C outside and +30C inside – take clothes for warm weather and even flip flops so you can strip down for comfort!
(c) Get to the train station and there are no more seats on the train you wanted to take? Not that I would recommend making a habit of bribing, but if you can’t miss it, just head to the platform and have a friendly conversation with a carriage steward (each carriage has their own steward).
They won’t speak much English, so you can just make it clear you want to get on the train, say no ticket, and then offer an amount reasonably over what the ticket would have cost if you’d bought it at the station. Pay attention to whether it’s a first (coupé) or second class carriage – the costs and comfort/privacy will vary. They will have conveniently saved a place for you.
Contributor: Joe Wareham