The Russian Railways’s train from Moscow to Paris, often dubbed the Transeuropean Express. Here at Paris Gare de l'Est station (photo © hidden europe).
The direct rail service from Paris to Moscow is run by Russian Railways (RZD) using their sleek modern sleeping cars. It is, we think, one of Europe’s most interesting trains — and, for those who want to splash out on the top-of-the-range luxury sleepers, one of the most comfortable train journeys in Europe. For those with lesser budgets, there are of course cheaper options. It is possible to just buy a single berth in a shared compartment.
The train schedule is shown in Table 24 of the latest edition of the European Rail Timetable. In that timetable, the train is even graced with a name, the Transeuropean Express, though this is not a name that is routinely used in marketing the train.
Indeed, some may query whether it is really an express at all. It is after all the slowest direct train from Paris to Strasbourg that you’ll find in current timetables, taking well over four hours for a journey that other trains complete in two hours and twenty minutes.
The full journey from Paris to Moscow takes 37 hrs 30 mins. This is a train where one should sit back, relax and watch Europe slip by beyond the carriage window. And of course, there is an excellent restaurant car on board. True, we found it slightly on the pricey side when we used the train. But there are times when it is worth splashing out.
RZD’s Paris to Moscow train normally runs thrice weekly in each direction for much of the year, but with additional journeys during the summer season. So this year there will be five journeys per week in each direction from the start of June until early October.
The route of the train is as follows:
Paris – Strasbourg – Mannheim – Frankfurt – Hannover – Berlin – Poznan – Warsaw – Brest – Minsk – Orsha – Smolensk – Vyazma – Moscow.
Track work in France and Germany this spring means that the Paris – Moscow train will be operating less frequently than the normal timetables would suggest.
Direct trains from Moscow to Paris will leave from Russia on the following days in the month of May:
Thursdays 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 May AND Saturday 31 May.
Direct trains from Paris, Strasbourg, and Berlin to Moscow will depart on the following days in May 2014:
Saturdays 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 May.
Thereafter the service reverts to its normal summer schedule with five trains per week in each direction.
Passengers using this service over the next couple of months would do well to check the exact schedules prior to travelling.There are a number of occasions in March and April when track maintenance work means that the train will deviate from its normal route.
By way of example, eastbound trains from Paris to Moscow are serving Frankfurt-am-Main less often during this period. The train will next stop at Frankfurt-am-Main on 29 March, and in the weeks thereafter only on Saturdays.
On a number of days in the coming weeks, the departure time from Paris Est is up to 80 minutes earlier than usual. There are also a number of occasions when the train will not serve Berlin Hauptbahnhof at all, stopping instead at Gesundbrunnen and Lichtenberg stations in Berlin.
About The Authors
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Nicky and Susanne manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers and the authors of the book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide. The 17th edition of that book will be published in mid-April 2022. You'll find a list of outlets that sell the book on this website.