Moscow Rail Terminals
Moscow rail terminals basically make Moscow a capital of our country. Without them, all the life in our city would cease, as there would be no inflow of goods – and no workforce to make the city “tick”. You see, just like any other big city, Moscow isn’t run by its residents alone. The city requires huge masses of people to move in and out on the daily basis, and there’s no better way to do it than by rails.
In fact, railways are not only crucial for Moscow, but also for the entire Russia. We are very different here from our eternal rival, the US. In America, you either travel by car or by air, as there’s a widespread network of local airports and interstates. This approach has a lot of advantages – riding your own car is much more comfortable, and if choose to take a flight – you will be in your point of destination in no time.
In addition to that, US fuel prices are significantly lower than in Russia. I know you’re going to ask how come that in Russia, one of world’s biggest exporters of oil, the gasoline is so darn expensive? Well, if you ask me, the situation is caused by Russian oil companies that have long ago formed an oligopoly and can now set whatever prices they want.
The government has tried to drive the prices down many times, but their efforts weren’t very successful. Frankly, I don’t believe it tried so hard, because, as you know, the bureaucrats are the same in every country.
The lovely "Kievsky" Moscow rail terminal.
Anyways, even without fuel price, the "roads + planes" approach is doomed in Russia. First of all, roads are our country’s eternal problem, even a curse. There’s a saying that goes “Russia’s got two problems – fools and roads”, and it surely applies even today. Russian roads are terrible, except in certain regions like Moscow.
If you wish to travel by car even to St. Petersburg, it’s going to be one long ride, at the end of which you will probably have to replace some parts of your vehicle. Needless to say, going further is a much tougher challenge.
OK, but what about going somewhere by airplane? Well, first of all, not many Russians can afford taking regular flights – after all, air travel is quite expensive. Second, during the Communist times air travel was not considered too important, because Russia had a developed network of railroads.
The planes were only used for travelling abroad or when the railroads couldn’t compete in terms or time or reach. In any other case, trains were a preferred alternative, and therefore the air travel infrastructure is not too good in Russia.
Also, don’t forget that Russia is much bigger than the US, and even if we preferred the planes over any other options, our expenses would be significantly higher! Therefore, railroads remain the best means of transport so far.
Currently, Moscow has 9 rail terminals that connect the city to nearly every corner of Russia. Namely, they are:
- Belorussky vokzal
- Kazansky vokzal
- Kievsky vokzal
- Kursky vokzal
- Leningradsky vokzal
- Paveletsky vokzal
- Rizhsky vokzal
- Savelovsky vokzal
- Yaroslavsky vokzal
, that serves the north-west bound railways. From there, you can get as far as Belorussia.
, that serves south and south-east destinations. Was previously called “Ryazansky vokzal”.
will help you get to Ukraine should you wish to do so. Also serves “AeroExpress” to Vnukovo airport.
is bound south. You can get to Ukraine from there as well, specifically the resort city of Krym. Going to North Caucasus? Chances are you’ll be leaving from Kursky rail terminal as well.
– connects to St. Petersburg, as well as numerous other destinations.
– very useful when you need to get to “Domodedovo” airport by “Aeroexpress”. Serves several important destinations, like Kazakhstan, Caucasus and Central Asia.
– apart from local destinations, there are trains leaving to Riga, the capital of Latvia. Not very much to tell apart from that.
– is strictly due north. If you need to get to the city of “Dubna” – get to Savelovsky, can’t miss. This Moscow rail terminal also partly serves the destionations of “Belorussky”.
– going to China, Mongolia or North Korea? Planning to visit Ural, Siberia or Russian Far East? Think you can take 9300 kilometers of travel in Russian train? If the answer is “yes” – welcome onboard!
The city's rail terminals literally cover any possible destination you could think of. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people use them to get to work – or simply visit the capital of Russia. Frankly, I can’t think of any other possible solution to that tremendous transportation task.
You see, even though all world’s capitals have a lot of out-of-city workers, Moscow is probably the leader in terms of the ratio. All of this happened because current Moscow flat rates are through the roof, and you can only afford to live in Moscow if you have a very decent income.
However, even if you do have a decent income, you would probably not want to spend one third of it on a flat somewhere far from the city center. Therefore, renting or buying a flat in Moscow region would still be a good option to consider.
Leningradsky Moscow rail terminal
Another reason to use Moscow rail terminals is to travel through Russia. Sure, you can get to Khabarovsk or Kamchatka by plane, but that wouldn’t be fun, would it? Imagine riding the train from Moscow through the entire Russia. Sure, it would take you probably a couple of weeks, but think of all the impressions you would get!
However, if you don't want to leave the city, there's much more to Moscow rail terminals than a mere railroad stations!
Apart from serving the passengers, Moscow "vokzals" have always been a major center of city's life. No wonder, since they always supplied a steady inflow of travelers and common Russians who wanted to settle in the capital.
These days, some Muscovites complain there are too many newcomers in town. They see the terminals as the "root of all evil", the "hell gate" that constantly spawns more and more people.
However, they forget the fact that without Moscow rail terminals the city would either die out, or forever remain just another Russian province. There's no way to build a thriving, successful city without attracting more and more people every year, and old Moscow governments realized that very well.
By the way, did you know that Moscow has not always been a capital of Russia? That's right, up until Bolsheviks revolution St. Petersburg was the center of our country. However, when comrade Lenin decided to relocate to Moscow, having good railways surely helped a lot. Who knows what city I would be telling you about now if Moscow wasn't so well connected to country's railroads!
Forget about Lenin, however. When I'm talking about the history of Moscow, he's truly the last person I'd like to talk about. Instead, let's go back a little bit further, to the time of Tsars, when communism was just another "buzzword" that many laughed at.
Back then, Moscow rail terminals were just being built, but they were always considered very important, and there's a very simple proof to my words.
Just look at their marvelous design. Thanks to Yuri Luzhkov, most of them were more or less restored to their original looks. This is how they were built back then, using the best designers the country could find. Aren't they just lovely?
Now ask yourself this – do you feel lucky today? Ahem, I meant – would they invest the time and money into something insignificant? Surely they wouldn't! So, all of this amazing decor means one thang, and one thang only – the authorities placed a lot of emphasis on the terminals.
When 173 years ago, at the end of October 1837, the first steam train departed from St. Petersburg to the town of "Tsarskoe Selo", people (and many government officials), saw railroads as something extremely exotic that will never make its way in Russia. However, the highest-ranking decision makers, including Tsars, already understood Russia does not really have a future without those clumsy steam monsters.
Yaroslavsky rail terminal
Here's another fact that many communists don't like – did you know that during the Tsar times more railroads had been built each year than during the reign of Bolsheviks? I'm not kidding, even Stalin wasn't a match for Tsarist Russia!
It's not a big surprise, though, because while Russian Empire was relying on foreign capital to do the job, the communists decided to go their own special way that just wasn't good enough.
Neither violence nor volunteers helped, and at the end we have a lot of Russian cities that absolutely need a link to country's railroad system – and don't have it simply because they were not considered important back in communist times.
Not only that, but the communist government wasted gazillions of rubles on projects like "BAM" ("Baikal-Amur Mainline") that till this day lie dormant, because nobody really needs them. However, this is the main problem of centralized planning – you just don't see all the details, and therefore bound to make a mistake.
If the October Revolution never came, I think we would have a much better railroad system...in fact, I think pretty much everything would be much better, but what done is done.
Ahh, enough with my pessimism. While Russia may have problems here and there, Moscow surely doesn't lack railroad connections! Moscow rail terminals proudly connect our city to the most remote destinations in Eurasia, and serve as the major transportation hubs inside the city.
Just look at Moscow metro map, and you will see that all of the terminals are directly connected to Moscow metro stations that sit right on the ring line to allow better passenger throughput. They provide the "blood" that runs the city, and there's no arguing about that.
In addition to that, Moscow rail terminals are simply a work of art. Take a look at, say, "Kievsky" and "Belorussky" – aren't they magnificent? And the wonderful "Komsomolskaya ploschad" , the one we call the "Three Stations Square"?
Don't worry, I'll be writing additional pages dedicated to each one of them, and you'll be sure to know more. Meanwhile, take my word for it – they are well worth to have a look at!
Ahh, the history...the link between generations....by the way, recently I read how the cabbies were cheating the innocent out-of-towners back in the 19 and early 20 century. What they did is take them from, say, "Yaroslavsky" terminal to "Kazansky" (both sit right across the square), go around in circles for about an hour, and charge a significant fee.
....I guess that times never change