|Trains / Railway
- Kyiv Central Railway Station
One of the most comfortable and very inexpensive ways to get around Ukraine is by train. Ukraine boasts a punctual and well operated railway system which is probably one of the best travel bargains in the world.
You may purchase your ticket at the Railway Ticket Office or through different agencies throughout Ukraine. Agencies can offer ticket delivery as well. There are often huge lines at Kiev's Main Railway Ticket Office or Railway Office, so ordering your tickets through the agency will save you time and needless hassles. As a foreign traveller you could also purchase your tickets at the Pivdenny Terminal of the Central Railway Station, booth #42-43.
Usually there are smaller lines at the Train Ticket Offices throughout the city.
- Kyiv's Main Railway Ticket Office
The 22,3 km's (14 miles) of railway track link most Ukrainian cities and towns. International links extend from Kyiv to other CIS and European countries as well. There are direct lines to Warsaw (Poland), Krakow (Poland), Wroclaw (Poland), Pshemysl (Poland), Moscow (Russia), St.Petersburg (Russia), Vladyvostok (Russia), Murmans'k (Russia), Minsk (Belarus), Brest (Belarus), Berlin (Germany), Bratislava (Slovakia), Prague (Czech), Budapest (Hungary), Sofia (Bulgaria), Varna (Bulgaria), Vienna (Austria), Riga (Latvia), Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Zagreb (Croatia), Cishinau (Moldova) and others.
The Train from Warsaw to Kyiv leaves Warsaw Centralna at 9:40 p.m. and arrives the next day in Kyiv at 4:21 p.m. (It leaves Kiev at 12:34 p.m. and arrives the next day in Warsaw at 6:11 a.m.) This train has a Polish sleeping-car with 1st class 2-bed compartment with washbasin. There are additionaly several Ukrainian 2nd class sleeping-cars (coupe') with 4-bed compartments at a reduced rate. There is a buffet or restaurant car serving drinks, snacks, or meals.
The brand new luxury train that runs from Krakow, Poland to Kiev is the first to have "self adjusting" wheels that we have seen. With your documents in order, border crossings are pretty easy. The "cigarette contraband" check's by Polish authorities can be a little annoying and time consuming however.
- Pivdenny Terminal of the Kyiv Central Railway Station
Kiev Central Railway Station is located at Vokzal'na Square.
Inquiry phone: 005 / +380 (44) 503-70-05
To purchase international tickets go to Pivdenny Terminal of the Central Railway Station, booth #42-43
Web-site: www.uz.gov.ua (only in Russian and Ukrainian)
Central Ticket Office in Kiev is located at Tarasa Shevchenka Str., 38/40
Booking phone: 050 / 465-19-17 / 503-60-51
Delivery: +380 (44) 503-60-50
There is also a Ticket Office at Boryspil Airport and many of them throughout the city.
- At the platform of Kyiv Railway Station
All rail tracks in the former USSR were built wider than European tracks by about three and a half inches. During WWII this stopped the German rail cars from crossing the border. So today, when you cross the eastern borders of Ukraine, your carriage wheels will be adjusted at the border by hoisting each car about ten feet into the air and performing the re-alignment with you and everyone else on board! It's really quite interesting to experience. The re-alignment usually takes two or three hours from our own experience. (European track: 4' 81/2", Soviet track; 5')
- Coupe compartment
It can be very difficult to obtain tickets in summer, especially to the South of Ukraine. In this case you might consider booking your tickets in advance.
There are 3 different wagon's types; 1st class (2 bed sleeping compartment), 2nd class ("Coupe'"4 sleeping beds per compartment) and Economy or 3d class, (Platscart 6 sleeping beds per "open" compartment, meaning no doors.)
You may specify an "upper" (verkhnya) or "lower" (nyzhnya) bed when purchasing your ticket.
Upon departure the "Provodneek"(rus.) or "Proveednyk" (ukr.) (Steward/Stewardess) will stop by your cabin and bring you bed sheets, a little hand towel and napkins that you will use for the night. (The cost of it is included into your ticket price) They can also bring you tea, coffee, water, beer or cookies during "waking" hours for a small amount. But anyways better have your drinking water with you.
- Coupe, 2nd class compartment, hall
Your tickets will be checked before you get on the train and again at the beginning of your journey. The "Provodneek" (Steward/Stewardess) will take the tickets and give them back to you at the arrival. Usually they would ask if you need your tickets back. It will sound like: "Beelyety noozhny?" (in Russian) or "Beelety potribni?" (in Ukrainian)
Normally long distance trains have a restaurant wagon where you can purchase food and drinks. They usually stay open untill 11:00pm
Bathrooms became quite decent on the trains, but there are also some exceptions. So, a word to the wise; Bring your own toilet paper!
There are also electric commuter trains in Ukraine. They are called electychka or electropotyah. They usually feature hard wooden benches without any amenities. Usually they are very crowded, especially in summer.
- Platscart, 3d class compartment, hall
Additionaly, the new fashionable and comfortable Express Train has come into service not long ago. It's connections include such cities as Kiev - Dnipropetrovs'k (6 hour ride), Kharkiv (6 hour ride), and Moscow (9,5 hour ride). Plans to include Lviv, Odessa and Crimea are in the works as well.
- Departure board, Pivdenny Terminal of the Kyiv Central Railway Station
* Your train ticket will specify the originating city and your destination, the class of travel, the number of the train and the number of the car. This information is important if somebody is meeting you.
* At Kyiv Central Railway Station, look for the platform number to be posted on the big departure boards in the main hall or in the hall of the Pivdenny Terminal of the Central Rrailway Station or on the board at the entrance of the underpass next to the metro stop "Vokzalna". Make sure to listen to the announcements in case of last-minute changes.
* Better plan your time to get to the railway station not less than 30 mins prior your departure time, in order to find the right platform and your carriage. Show your ticket (and if necessary, your passport) to the conductor and climb aboard!
- Departure board, Kyiv Central Railway Station
- The door at the coupe compartment
* At night, don't forget to lock your compartment and lower the metal flap so your door cannot be opened from the outside. Keep your valuables in a safe place, if you leave your compartment to use the bathroom, carry your valuables with you. If you are in the compartment with locals, be prepared to exit the compartment when passengers of the opposite sex start preparing for bed and changing their clothes.
* All bathrooms are closed 15 -20 mins before and after the stops. Usually you could find the schedules of stops on the door next to the conductor's compartment or on the doors of the bathrooms.
* The conductor will usually knock on your door a good hour before arrival. She/he wants to be sure to give you plenty of time to wake up and get ready. You might also have time to drink tea or coffee (if you are not arriving too early). You will have to return your sheets to the conductor in their compartment by the toilet.
- Departure board, Kyiv Central Train Station
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