Pic’ in the Picture: Moscow time please!

This picture was taken in Moscow, Russia and shows the one and only so-called “Moscow Time”. Russia is a country so big, that it incorporates 11 time zones: from GMT+2 to GMT+12. Therefore, in order to keep track a bit, and to make it easier for everybody (somebody in Moscow certainly thought), trains tables, departures and arrivals are always indicated with the Moscow time. So if you are in Irkutsk and your train ticket says a departure at 17h15, this means in reality a departure of 22h15 local time as Irkutsk is 5 hours ahead of Moscow. However, keep in mind that trains that don’t cross time-zones (local trains), go on local time! So if your ticket says 17h15, it is indeed 17h15… Easy once you understand it, but until then, you might be in for some surprises.
Moscow Time!

Moscow Time

As such, we met some travellers who had been waiting 10 hours for a train in Irkutsk. A slight miscalculation made that they were at the railroad station 10 hours before the actual departure of the train: they thought Irkutsk was ahead of Moscow, therefore thinking their train, leaving at 7h00 Moscow time, would leave at 2h00 in the morning, whereas it actually only left at 12h00…

Another funny side-effect of this time-zone crossing, is that while you are in the train, nobody knows the actual time. Some people are on Moscow time, some other on Irkutsk time, still others have the time of Novosibirsk on their watch and some others already changed their watch to show the time at Beijing. :-) The only ones keeping track of time were the train attendants, present in each wagon and following a strict “Moscow time plan”. :-)

As we considered ourselves absolutely capable of missing a train due to time-zone issues, we solved the problem by keeping our watch on Moscow time during our complete stay in Russia until we crossed the border with Mongolia. Not very practical in everyday use, but we never had problems catching a train at the right time!

Vera & Jean-Christophe

One Comment

  1. Posted September 12, 2008 at 20:44 | Permalink

    Comment font les Américains ? Chacun son fuseau, non ? Mais est-ce mieux, vous qui avez expérimenté les deux pays ?