03.03.2016 - 03.03.2016
After passing through most of the way through Poland the train made it to Warsaw. This was the last stop in the EU. The next stop will be Brest in Belarus where the bogies on the train are changed over to the Russian track gauge. This will also be where the Belarus password control and customs takes place.
Polish / Belarus border
At the border first the Polish border guards got on the train and checked everyone’s paperwork, this included making sure we all had Belarus visas. Apparently if you enter Belarus without a visa you will be arrested and can spent time in jail whilst they decide what to do with you. The couple that I was sharing the cabin on the train had had their passports stolen in Germany and the replacement paperwork from their country, Chechnya, did not show their visas. This meant they had to get off the train and remain behind whilst the Polish checked into their status.
After this the train moved forward 500 meters into Belarus. Here their border guards and customs officers got on. The border guard asked me if I was flying home from Moscow, I said no I am leaving Russia from Vladivostok. He replied that I was nutty and found it very funny when I agreed.
Once all this had been completed the train went into a large shed where each carriage was jacked up and the train bogies changed to suit the Russian gauge which is 85mm wider. We then started the journey through Belarus. After a quick meal I went to bed. However, as the rail track were the most uncomfortable of the whole trip it was not a solid night’s sleep.
When I awoke in the morning we had already crossed the border into Russia and were pulling into Smolensk station. This was a place I was looking forward to seeing, abet from the train window as the battles in 1812 and 1941 are of interest.
As the train got closer to Moscow we passed through the town of Borodino and the fields were both the 1812 battle of the same name took place and the 1941 attack by the Germans as part of the battle of Moscow.
A couple of hours later the train pulled into Moscow. I had a car booked and was in my hotel room an hour after getting of the train.