In our world where everything is going so fast, travelling на поезде (by train) through Russia is a great experience. Imagine, it takes 9 days to go from Moscow to Vladivostok! Nine days to admire the diversity of landscapes, to get to know your fellow travellers and share with them unforgettable moments.
But you don’t have to cross the whole country to feel the atmosphere one can get on a train. And a night on the rail will give you plenty of time to realise that without the проводница (carriage attendant) or проводник (if it’s a man, which is not so common), life in the train would soon be quite impossible.
You will first meet her на перроне (on the platform) before your departure, checking your билет (ticket). She is the one who gives you your bed linen, provides you with чай (tea), кофе (coffee) and лёгкие закуски (small snacks) during your trip, wakes you upon your arrival in the middle of the night, and do the cleaning in your вагон (carriage) and the corridor during the long journey. They are usually very serious about that last point. She is also here to make sure the самовар (samovar) keeps the right temperature, and can even provide you with чашка (a cup) if you don’t have your own.
It seems that she never sleeps, as you can find her any time, but she makes sure travellers’ behaviour doesn’t disturb other пассажиры (passengers). At each stop, she also makes sure that everyone is back on board before the train leaves the station.
Remember that проводница is the highest authority on board your carriage and see how she is respected by all passengers while travelling by train. She might have an unsmiling behaviour, but she is very diligent about her work and she’ll do her best to make your trip as pleasant as possible.