1. Why is the new policy so hostile to international service?
    (JS, 20 December 2018 16:54)

    In short:

    - because the new EU policy requires "transparency", so the passenger service is de-coupled from the infrastructure. In the theory it is good, in the reality is very bad because there is no other infrastructure.

    Would kind of(?) work in the States where you have BNSF and Union Pacific lines competing and sometimes running parallel.

    Does not work in Serbia, France or Russia because there is only one provider, the national railway.

    - because the new EU policy demands from the passenger service to be completely self-sustaining, while hidden subsidies to airports and airlines are the norm.

    - because the railway managers are greedy and stupid

    - because in her infinite wisdom, Russia 100% follows the EU directives.

    - because some business schools around Boston love to charge arm and leg for stupid things

    - because Americans believe, trains are like airplanes, so the best is to copy-paste the airline business model, customer service and tariff. How successful it is - see the probably worst-implemented rail system (Amtrak).

    - because railway tariffs have a lot to do with mathematics and some politicians believe, mathematics is not a real science.

    There is a great solution which is known to work very well. Unfortunately in that area only Albanians knew it.

    Regarding railway tickets and math surrounding it: please bring Enver Hoxha back.
    (Ataman, 20 December 2018 21:45)

    # Comment link

  2. it was 36 degrees and the air conditioning didn't flip on until we reached the Bulgarian border. Madness!
    (JS, 20 December 2018 16:54)

    Yes, because there is no catenary from Nis up until Dimitrovgrad (Serbia) and Serbian railway did not provide Russians with generator car. The weak batteries obviously are not enough and these new Russian / Siemens cars have sealed windows.

    With Belgrade - Bar there is no such problem - provided there is no other hick-up. Which happens daily.
    (Ataman, 20 December 2018 21:25)

    # Comment link

  3. You stumbled into the tip of the iceberg.

    Technically, the Russian conductor was 100% right because the tickets are so-called "Global Price" or SCIC-IRT tickets.

    He did a favor to the station manager (and you), but according the new books he should not do that, only according the old ones.

    The root of the problem is that some idiot at Russian Railways went to the same business school as other idiot from the French Railway.

    To bad, the business school is in Boston (and we all know well, how much "smarter" Amtrak is organized - compared with either SNCF or RZD).

    In any case Americans successfully sold the "trains are like airplanes" madness to these French and Russian idiots.

    The prices of the tickets went up, the railway conductors pull their hair off (and try to find a reason how to find an excuse and accommodate extra passengers, see your case).

    The Moscow-Sofia and Moscow-Bar run was a rare exception where there is some back-door. If you would buy the reservation separately and also buy the ticket - that would work out fine.

    Travelers reported the best result with Balkan Flexipass, but even regular Belgrade-Sofia tickets + separate reservation worked out fine.

    The biggest trick was to get the proper RZD reservation discount code, the Wasteels in Belgrade did know that.

    Now all this is over, there is no RZD car to Sofia.

    How to travel in France is an other bag of tricks. No one is happy, except the guys in Boston.
    (Ataman, 20 December 2018 21:20)

    # Comment link

  4. (Ataman, 20 December 2018 10:10)

    Why is the new policy so hostile to international service?

    Two summers ago I caught the Moscow-Sofia train in Bela Palanka. The Russian conductor blocked the door and didn't want to allow me on the train because I didn't have a ticket (because they don't sell tickets at the station). The station manager argued with the conductor and after a few minutes the conductor backed down and let me on the train. He tried to push me into the old Serbian cars but I refused. I paid 20€ to Sofia. Sadly, it was 36 degrees and the air conditioning didn't flip on until we reached the Bulgarian border. Madness!
    (JS, 20 December 2018 16:54)

    # Comment link

  5. The now-common new Russian DMU-s are for secondary, non-electrified lines.
    The Russian sleeping cars to Belgrade, Bar or Thessaloniki will come back not sooner than when pigs take of from the Nis airport.
    The reason is the new policy of RZD (Russian Railways) which is as hostile towards international trains, as possible.

    I rather imagine the Austrian RJ (RailJet) cars. Not a big difference, the new gauge-changing RZD and RJ cars have similar technical background.

    But a manned Moon station will be probably sooner than these RZD or RJ cars in Serbia.
    (Ataman, 20 December 2018 10:10)

    # Comment link

  6. Can't wait to ride on this railway in nice new Russian railcars. No more delays, please! :)
    (JS, 19 December 2018 16:16)

    # Comment link