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  #1  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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Taking a bike on the train from Irkutsk to Vladivostok

Hi guys,

I am currently in Irkutsk with a broken BMW that I need to get to Vladivostok so I can ship it back to Australia. Reading reports on HUBB and blogs I was under the impression that such an option wouldn't be too painful but after attempting to talk to cargo receptionist at the station today (I have next to no Russian) I have been told that they can't ship the bike till 10 days time and it may take longer than that again for it to arrive.

I'm trying to track down a translator to try again and make sure of the dates but if they are true I am looking at a long wait. If there is anyone who has put their bike on the train in Russia before that can give me an idea of how long in should take?

Cheers
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  #2  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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Bike on a Train

Quote:
Originally Posted by bens109 View Post
Hi guys,

I am currently in Irkutsk with a broken BMW that I need to get to Vladivostok so I can ship it back to Australia. Reading reports on HUBB and blogs I was under the impression that such an option wouldn't be too painful but after attempting to talk to cargo receptionist at the station today (I have next to no Russian) I have been told that they can't ship the bike till 10 days time and it may take longer than that again for it to arrive.

I'm trying to track down a translator to try again and make sure of the dates but if they are true I am looking at a long wait. If there is anyone who has put their bike on the train in Russia before that can give me an idea of how long in should take?

Cheers
Several Korean riders have done this.
Just behind the Irkutsk train station is a cargo station. They simply box it up and charge something like usd 1.5 per KG plus boxing fee.
I have posted this with photos some where here.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...z-moscow-60933

The cargo train schedule is seperate from the passenger, unless you can bribe the loaders to put it on the same train. Irkutsk being major hub to Vladivostok,, don't understand why 10 days. You can hire a translator in Irkutsk,, look up craiglist Russia, Irkutsk under services. They charge 10 euro per hour or so.
Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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Look at post #10 in this thread:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-irkutsk-71393

The link shows the location for the truck depot in Irkutsk. I'm not sure if the trucking company ships all the way to Vladi, but I expect they do.

To get the bike on the train, I think a translator will not be very helpful--at the first bureaucratic obstacle most of them will tell you that it is simply impossible to ship. Your best bet would be to track down a local biker or two to see if they can help. I know there were one or two biker clubhouses in Irkutsk, although IIRC one or both have since closed. Do a search here and on ADVRider for more info.
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  #4  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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Bike is on it's way!!

For future reference it can be done easily, it just helps to have more than 5 words of Russian! After my miserable failure on the first day I recruited one of the staff at the hostel I was staying, by this stage I was a little sceptical but she was confident we could get it done, I liked her attitude! I'm not sure I would have gotten it done without her but even she was surprised by how helpful the station staff were when they realised what a poor stupid foreigner I was

We turned up at the main station entrance where the 'long distance' ticket booths are and confirmed that I could get a ticket on a train for tomorrow. I'm not 100% sure on this but if you want to trade on the same train as the bike you need to go by one of the higher number trains 010 and above. These are apparently older trains, not as comfortable, stop at more stations and take a few hours longer (73hrs v 68hrs in my case), the upside is they are normally a bit cheaper which was fine by me! Don't book your ticket just yet until you can confirm you can get your bike on the train.

From here we were pointed in the direction of the cargo station which is about 200meters to the right of the passenger terminal. Walk past the blue postoffice building with all the post trucks, through the alleyway and you will come out with some containers on your right and the goods station or your left. Take a hard left back the way you come and you will enter the cargo tickets area. The booths here are for people booking extra luggage and the like, you want to go down the corridor on the left and take the first door on the right. Tell the guy here you want to ship your bike, the weight and the train you want to travel on and he will look up a table and give you a very cheap price, unfortunately it's only half the cost. If you have the bike with you take it up to the guys milling around goods station and tell them which train you want it on. There appears to be the railways owned cargo handlers it the first bay who will refuse to take your bike as it's too large and will direct you to the bay at the end of the station where there is a private shipping group who will crate the bike up for you. If you're in doubt try to find one of the older women who don't speak English but who everyone else is afraid of and will get things moving for you. Again it helps to have a translator so they can yell at each other for a few minutes while you stand by sheepishly.

The guys in the end cargo bay will have you ride the bike up the ramp at the end of the platform to so they can weigh the bike and give you a docket to take back to the first guy in the office. Confirm with him which train the bike will be going on and head back to the passenger terminal and buy yourself a ticket. By the time I had done this the train I wanted to go on had sold out (if you had more time it might not be a problem but I wanted to travel the next day). I ended up getting a ticket on a faster train 008 (Novosibirsk - Vladivostok) at the same price, the downside is I would be getting in at 8pm while the bike wouldn't arrive till 1am. Once you have your ticket go back to the guy it the cargo office, give him your ticket and packing docket, he will make up a few forms for you to sign and give you a final price. In my case this was 5,400 Rubbles for 178kg (their scales where shorter than my wheelbase so I think I shaved off a couple of kg!). Take the final form back to the guys who weighted your bike and show it to them, shake their hand and say good bye to the bike. As an added bonus your translator might even refuse payment and let you take her out for dinner!

I'll let you know how the other end works in a few days!!
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  #5  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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haha, good write-up, and helpful, and a great price.
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  #6  
Old 1 Aug 2013
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Bike on a Russian Rail System

Good job ,,
Easy as eating a piece of cake,,,
Where else ,,, to truck ,, you have to take the bike to a place where they pack ,, then deliver to the trucking company. There are several cross continental trucking companies ,,last year I saw a crashed BMW 650 out of Kemerov ,,boxing was crude at the most then it was loaded onto a van, in order to be delivered to the trucking company. It was all Russian bikers doing it. That's three step logistics hassle.
Train stations in every town and villages.. easy to find ,, you can use animation to get the point crossed. There are packers and unpackers right at the station.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bens109 View Post
Bike is on it's way!!

For future reference it can be done easily, it just helps to have more than 5 words of Russian! After my miserable failure on the first day I recruited one of the staff at the hostel I was staying, by this stage I was a little sceptical but she was confident we could get it done, I liked her attitude! I'm not sure I would have gotten it done without her but even she was surprised by how helpful the station staff were when they realised what a poor stupid foreigner I was

We turned up at the main station entrance where the 'long distance' ticket booths are and confirmed that I could get a ticket on a train for tomorrow. I'm not 100% sure on this but if you want to trade on the same train as the bike you need to go by one of the higher number trains 010 and above. These are apparently older trains, not as comfortable, stop at more stations and take a few hours longer (73hrs v 68hrs in my case), the upside is they are normally a bit cheaper which was fine by me! Don't book your ticket just yet until you can confirm you can get your bike on the train.

From here we were pointed in the direction of the cargo station which is about 200meters to the right of the passenger terminal. Walk past the blue postoffice building with all the post trucks, through the alleyway and you will come out with some containers on your right and the goods station or your left. Take a hard left back the way you come and you will enter the cargo tickets area. The booths here are for people booking extra luggage and the like, you want to go down the corridor on the left and take the first door on the right. Tell the guy here you want to ship your bike, the weight and the train you want to travel on and he will look up a table and give you a very cheap price, unfortunately it's only half the cost. If you have the bike with you take it up to the guys milling around goods station and tell them which train you want it on. There appears to be the railways owned cargo handlers it the first bay who will refuse to take your bike as it's too large and will direct you to the bay at the end of the station where there is a private shipping group who will crate the bike up for you. If you're in doubt try to find one of the older women who don't speak English but who everyone else is afraid of and will get things moving for you. Again it helps to have a translator so they can yell at each other for a few minutes while you stand by sheepishly.

The guys in the end cargo bay will have you ride the bike up the ramp at the end of the platform to so they can weigh the bike and give you a docket to take back to the first guy in the office. Confirm with him which train the bike will be going on and head back to the passenger terminal and buy yourself a ticket. By the time I had done this the train I wanted to go on had sold out (if you had more time it might not be a problem but I wanted to travel the next day). I ended up getting a ticket on a faster train 008 (Novosibirsk - Vladivostok) at the same price, the downside is I would be getting in at 8pm while the bike wouldn't arrive till 1am. Once you have your ticket go back to the guy it the cargo office, give him your ticket and packing docket, he will make up a few forms for you to sign and give you a final price. In my case this was 5,400 Rubbles for 178kg (their scales where shorter than my wheelbase so I think I shaved off a couple of kg!). Take the final form back to the guys who weighted your bike and show it to them, shake their hand and say good bye to the bike. As an added bonus your translator might even refuse payment and let you take her out for dinner!

I'll let you know how the other end works in a few days!!
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  #7  
Old 12 Aug 2014
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Just a follow up on this post from my trip last year. The bike arrived safely in Vlad. I didn't stay around to collect it, my train got in at 8pm and the bike at 1am, went out and found a few bars instead. The next morning Yuri (who arranged the shipping of the bike back to Australia) picked me up in his van and we went back to the station. He called someone, I assume the stationmaster, and quoted the number on the receipt I had. We then walked amongst the carriages until we found the one with the number we were looking for.

Traveling on the train for the last 4 days it seemed that each goods carriage had at least one person in it at all times acting as a guard / unloader, I guess it helped with the unemployment situation. The time it took us to find the carriage seemed too short for the station master to have sent anyone to help, but lo and behold there were 2 suitably attired Russian men there to greet us and point out my bike in it's crude crate. Having been around railway stations before and considering the scale of the Russian railway system in Siberia, I assumed that someone would turn up with a forklift and lower the bike to the ground. It didn't take long however to realise that not how it's done. A 500rub note later and the two guards helped us to half lower, half drop the bike to the platform. From here we smashed the crate apart with a small axe and I could ride the bike across several sets of tracks to a ramp up to the street!

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