Ultimate Guide to Ukraine: Train Travel

Ultimate Guide to Ukraine: Train Travel

Travelling by train is one of the easiest and the most comfortable ways to explore Ukraine. Train connections unite all corners of the country, from the smallest towns and villages to the biggest cities like Kyiv, Odesa and Lviv.  Of course, travelers who are new to Ukraine have numerous questions about Ukrainian trains. How to book train tickets in Ukraine? Which type of tickets to choose? Which kinds of trains and types of carriages exist in Ukraine? In our article, we give the answers to the most important questions about travelling by train in Ukraine.

How to Buy Railway Tickets in Ukraine
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The most obvious way to buy a train ticket in Ukraine is to go straight to a ticket desk at a railway station or to find a ticket office in the city. However, foreigners who do not speak any Ukrainian or Russian, often face communication problems while talking to a salesperson at a ticket desk. Therefore, booking railway tickets in Ukraine online may sound like a better option for foreign guests.
Read: International Train Destinations From Ukraine
In Ukraine, there are many online services offering to buy railway tickets. However, if you want to buy train tickets in Ukraine online with no risks, it is highly recommended to choose two of them: https://booking.uz.gov.ua/en/ (official service of Ukrainian Railways Office) and https://gd.tickets.ua/en. Both websites are reliable and have English interface. The process is quite simple: to book train tickets in Ukraine online, a passenger has to enter his/her name, to choose date, destination, type of carriage and seat in it (if available), and then he/she just needs to pay for the ticket by card. After that, a passenger receives boarding document by e-mail.
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If it is a document with special QR code, a passenger just have to print it, and then conductor will scan it with special device when a passenger will be getting on a train. If a document received by e-mail does not have QR code, it means that you will have to change it for a paper ticket in a ticket office at railway station 15 minutes before your train leaves at the latest. Please note that you must have passport or other identity certificate to get on a train (this rule does not apply to suburban trains).
If you need a ticket to a train with international connection, you have to buy it at the international ticket desk at a railway station. The tickets for the most of international trains in Ukraine are not available online.
Read: Free of Charge Railway Services in Ukraine
Types of Trains in Ukraine
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The variety of Ukrainian domestic trains can be subdivided into four main categories: intercity trains, regional trains, night trains and suburban trains. All these trains have different kinds of carriages with various levels of comfort. Let`s consider each kind of trains in Ukraine in more detail.
Intercity trains, introduced in Ukraine in 2012, are day speed trains connecting only big cities of Ukraine: Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Sumy, Kherson, Pokrovsk, Kryviy Rig and Kostyantynivka. These trains make stops only in big cities or on railway junctions, which explains their ability to reach destination in the shortest terms, usually in 5-6 hours. Intercity trains offer the 1st and the 2nd class sitting accommodation. However, lever of comfort in both classes meets appropriate standards.
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Regional trains are local day trains. A trip in a regional train usually takes few hours. Such trains offer carriages with sitting accommodation of the 2nd and the 3rd classes with possible inclusion of the 1st class carriages. Of course, the higher the class is, the better comfort you will have. However, level of conveniences also depends on the model of train. For example, if you are lucky to travel in a new two-floor Skoda train (for example, in direction Kharkiv-Vinnitsa), you will surely find it more comfortable than riding on an old train of Soviet times.
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Night trains are local night trains with places for sleeping. A journey in such a train can take more than 10 hours. Night trains offer three types of carriages with different kinds of accommodation: lux (“SW”), compartment (“coupe”) and open-plan (“platskart”). Lux carriages include separate cabins with two or three soft places for sleeping. Compartment carriages offer separate cabins with four soft places for sleeping. Open-plan carriages have no separate cabins. The places for sleep in such carriages are arranged in a following way: four hard berths on one side of a carriage and two similar berths sideways. In total, there are around 45 berths in one one-plan carriage. Of course, if you value your comfort and privacy, booking a ticket in lux “SV” or at least in compartment “coupe” carriage will be the best choice. Note that in night trains bed sheets and tea are included into a ticket price.
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Ukrainian suburban trains, that usually make stops in every village and town on their way, are extremely cheap, but surely cannot boast high level of comfort. Typically, these are old trains with only sitting accommodation, often crowded with many people. Tickets to suburban trains are usually bought at the ticket desk shortly before the departure.
Explore the country fast and comfortable, travelling by trains in Ukraine.
Photo source: shutterstock.com. All photos belongs to their rightful owners.

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