I'll be purchasing 12 train tickets for August 2013 travel (3 legs x 4 passengers; Moscow to Vladimir probably by Sapsan, Vladimir to SPb by overnight train, SPb to Moscow by Sapsan). I was planning to use the rzd official website and ebertsj's generous guide, but I've been reading here that U.S. credit cards currently aren't working on rzd. I'm willing to pay a markup for a third-party service but am hoping to avoid the 20%+ markup on the major resellers like Real Russia, especially given my planned volume purchase.
I read on a forum post here about 4 weeks ago of a small russian travel agency that would handle ticket purchases for a modest flat fee, something like $10 US per ticket. I can't find that post (I foolishly neglected to bookmark it), and it may have been deleted as self-promotion. Does anyone either recall that post or have a recommendation for a similar service? Svezhy Veter, maybe?
Or is there any new learning on payment methods that work on the rzd official website for those who, like me, have only U.S.-based credit cards? (I have an HSBC account and presumably could get a credit card from them; anyone know whether that bank's cards work on rzd?)