Friday, December 22, 2006 at 8:44 am

Platzkart: Russian Third Class

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Platzkart corridor “Traveling by train in Russia is usually a very rewarding experience,” writes Gadling’s Neil Woodburn, who knows whereof he speaks, “unless you happen to be traveling third class.” And he links to a harrowing tale of a 17-hour platzkart journey from Izhevsk to Moscow, an unpleasant, crowded, smelly ordeal during which the author was suffering from food poisoning, to boot. Platzkart crams 54 berths into a single coach, with no concessions to privacy. Its singular virtue is its inexpensiveness: Moscow to Vladivostok, a week-long journey, costs the equivalent of $50. And I thought overnight coach on VIA Rail was something.

1 Comment

  • Platzkart ain’t so bad. I travelled Platzkart for the 26 hour journey from Moscow to Ufa on more than one occasion, and got by just fine. It’s just a big travelling bunkhouse. I almost prefer it to Kupe, because if you get stuck sharing your four-berth Kupe apartment with a chatterbox, drunk, or freak, they are going to be right up in your face the whole trip. In Platzkart, any unpleasantness gets spread around. Now, if you want real suffering, try taking a ten-hour night train through the Urals in hard class (hard as in sitting on a hard wooden bench; hard as in bonking your head into the bench in front of you every time you doze off.)