These long-distance trains are warm, comfortable, and offer a great insight into the people and their way of life. The journey tends to be slow and very gentle, with the train stopping for hours in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.
The compartments are small but not cramped, bedding is provided, and each carriage is serviced by a guard. There is always a samovar (a Russian kettle) in each carriage with a constant stream of boiling water for tea, soup or other hot drinks.
You will usually find a restaurant carriage on board, but it is always worth taking supplies. Vegetarian options are very limited. At every station you will find little kiosks and locals selling home produce.