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 Post subject: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 29 Jul 2010 00:18 
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Overnight Trains in Ukraine

To travel in Ukraine, a country most people are surprised to find out is the size of Texas, the only comfortable option without owning a car is on the overnight trains.

Overnight trains in Ukraine are not like a Eurail sleeper, but they do give an insight into the strangely caring side of this vast country.

Otherwise seen as cold, stark and scowling to the unknowing outsider, just one ride on the overnight trains in Ukraine will leave a person in awe and respect for the people that reside there.





Ukraine Distances - How long on the overnight train?

The reason that overnight trains are the only way to really travel Ukraine is that getting from point A to B takes a very long time! Sitting in a seat for the following lengths of time can feel uncomfortable, as well as a tired waste of time, so why not take an overnight train for a more comfortable ride while you sleep?

Kiev - L'viv = ~9 hours
Kiev - Odessa = ~9 hours
Kiev - Kharkov = ~8 hours


These times are approximate because the trains vary quite a bit in Ukraine and, as with most things in this country, they move a little on the slow side.

Ukraine Overnight Train Tickets

If you're planning on buying the train tickets yourself, don't expect any help from the attendants when you have questions in English. These attendants are not expected to know other languages and, unfortunately, they are quick to let their disinterest show.

Also, don't expect to find out any train information for any trains that pass outside the country. Kiev, for instance, has one direct train that goes to Budapest, and that is the only time the ticket attendants will know anything about. However, there are many other various routes that can be taken to get to Budapest at different times and lengths of travel, but you will have to investigate those routes elsewhere.

Passports are required to book overnight train tickets.

Train tickets are usually quite easy to get your hands on except around the holidays. Those tickets will go on sale about 1.5 months in advance and they will generally sell out since everyone and their mother is going away to be with their families.

What to Expect on Overnight Trains in Ukraine

"If you were feeling like the entire Ukrainian world is a cold, old place before, you'll be feeling it two-fold at this time."

You'll want to avoid the Ukrainian train toilets!

The carriage attendants stand outside the entrance to look at your tickets before entering. The attendants are generally females, but can also be male, and they only let people on if they belong in that carriage.

Upon entering the dimly lit, brown wood paneled train, you will feel as though you've been transported back into the 1970s. Even the curtains on the window seem like they haven't changed! If you were feeling like the entire Ukrainian world is a cold, old place before, you'll be feeling it two-fold at this time.

The most common sleeping carriages on the train contain 4 beds (2 on top, 2 on bottom), which is also known as 2nd class, but some can be cheaper in a 6 bed open layout with no door,and others in 1st class can be much nicer. The 4 bed cabins will have one window and a small table to put food and drinks on. There is a nightlight on each bed along with a sleeping mat, pillow, blanket and a packet of fresh sheets. That's right - the sheets are even sealed in a plastic bag that includes a towel, soap and hand wipes! There's a little spot of sunshine in all the drabness. Not bad?

There's usually a toilet at the end of the carriage, but you'll be praying that you won't have to actually use it. Don't even bother getting up at a stop because they're fully locked when the train isn't moving, so the only way you have to deal with these prehistoric contraptions (that are sometimes overflowing or wet around the base) is when the train is bouncing you from side to side in the process.

Underneath the bottom bunk beds is a compartment to put luggage in that is somewhat secure; secure in the sense that you have to lift the bottom bed up in order to put anything in, or take anything out. For best practice, it is wise to ALWAYS keep on you what you don't want to lose or have stolen. I have personally only had positive experiences on the overnight trains in Ukraine, but there are plenty of horror stories floating around. I suggest wearing a money belt to keep your valuable safe.

Strangers on Ukraine Overnight Trains

As I said before, the overnight trains in Ukraine give an insight into the strangely caring side of the country.

Where everything leading up to the time of actually getting on the train leave you feeling like the world hates you just a little bit, Ukrainians treat the overnight train rides as a social event, showing a different side.

Because it is an overnight train, everyone likes to get into some comfortable sleeping clothes. If there are both men and women in the carriage, the men will politely step outside for as long as it takes for the women to get changed and into bed.


The carriage attendant will come around to see if you need any tea or coffee, and they will come around to each person about 20 minutes before arrival at the proper stop to wake them up. Now, that's service!

If anyone has food or drink in the room, they will most likely offer to share it with everyone else, sort of creating a communal system of feasting and sharing. Others may offer to get you tea from the attendant if they are going themselves.

Numerous Ukrainians have gone out of there way to help me if I had any questions on where I should be, or which stop we are at.
Many people will also attempt to make conversation even if it means communicating in broken Russian or English.

Overnight Trains in Ukraine - Conclusion

Overnight trains in Ukraine are not as uncomfortable as one may think from the dilapidated exterior and ancient furnishings. They are actually a nice ride, and additionally, a little view of the Ukrainian culture.


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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 29 Jul 2010 07:43 
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1 Week ago, I travelled with the Overnight-train Kiev-Simferopol - 13 Hours.

I did the 4-people private cabine this time, about 20 Euro's per person. Not expensive at all.

Although it did seem a little bit cramped at first, I actually slept good because the beds are large enough even for my humble 1.92 Meters (6'2").

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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 22 Feb 2011 18:46 
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The longest train journey in Ukraine that I have done is 17 hours from Lviv to Mykholaiv, so not all of that journey was overnight, but as Luckyspin rightly points out train journeys in Ukraine aren't as daunting as they may first seem and you will probably be offered some vodka by the other passengers in your compartment. [biggrin.gif] I've travelled on trains a few times in winter over there and even though it's freezing cold outside it can get really hot in your compartment and you may want to step outside in the corridor to cool down a bit. Wiz is right about the toilets they are locked at stations and for about 15 minutes before arriving and leaving the station in what is known as the sanitary zone, the reason being that the contents of the toilet are emptied directly on the track below, they are flushed by stepping on a pedal below the basin. If you can go 9 hours without going to the toilet then good luck to you Luckyspin especaialy at your age, lol. [biggrin.gif] I was once on a train from Budapest to Lviv with my wife, at the border the wheels must be changed, because Ukraine and the rest of the FSU use a different gauge than the rest of Europe which involves lifting the carriages in the air with passengers still on board, my poor wife was desperate to go to the toilet, but had to wait one and a half hours until everything was complete.


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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 22 Feb 2011 19:35 
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I've done the Dnpr to Kiev route a few times and all was swell. Take your own food and drink though.

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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 22 Feb 2011 19:58 
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ukraina wrote:
The longest train journey in Ukraine that I have done is 17 hours from Lviv to Mykholaiv, so not all of that journey was overnight, but as Luckyspin rightly points out train journeys in Ukraine aren't as daunting as they may first seem and you will probably be offered some vodka by the other passengers in your compartment. [biggrin.gif] I've travelled on trains a few times in winter over there and even though it's freezing cold outside it can get really hot in your compartment and you may want to step outside in the corridor to cool down a bit. Wiz is right about the toilets they are locked at stations and for about 15 minutes before arriving and leaving the station in what is known as the sanitary zone, the reason being that the contents of the toilet are emptied directly on the track below, they are flushed by stepping on a pedal below the basin. If you can go 9 hours without going to the toilet then good luck to you Luckyspin especaialy at your age, lol. [biggrin.gif] I was once on a train from Budapest to Lviv with my wife, at the border the wheels must be changed, because Ukraine and the rest of the FSU use a different gauge than the rest of Europe which involves lifting the carriages in the air with passengers still on board, my poor wife was desperate to go to the toilet, but had to wait one and a half hours until everything was complete.
Wiz

Has not posted on this thread yet...... Do you mean Luckyspin?

Why are you referring to wiz or you still remember my travel report from Simferopol to Odessa?

My experience was not that pleasant when we left Simferopol because the chap I was sharing the cab went to sleep at 7 PM and he was snoring so I had to stay out till midnight and in Nikoaev I was offered another cabin just before entering the station, to be alone after bribing the old babouska......... but then I had to share the cab with a nice ... person.... chatted all night..... and had too much to drink! [biggrin.gif]

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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#6  PostPosted: 22 Feb 2011 21:29 
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wiz wrote:
ukraina wrote:
The longest train journey in Ukraine that I have done is 17 hours from Lviv to Mykholaiv, so not all of that journey was overnight, but as Luckyspin rightly points out train journeys in Ukraine aren't as daunting as they may first seem and you will probably be offered some vodka by the other passengers in your compartment. [biggrin.gif] I've travelled on trains a few times in winter over there and even though it's freezing cold outside it can get really hot in your compartment and you may want to step outside in the corridor to cool down a bit. Wiz is right about the toilets they are locked at stations and for about 15 minutes before arriving and leaving the station in what is known as the sanitary zone, the reason being that the contents of the toilet are emptied directly on the track below, they are flushed by stepping on a pedal below the basin. If you can go 9 hours without going to the toilet then good luck to you Luckyspin especaialy at your age, lol. [biggrin.gif] I was once on a train from Budapest to Lviv with my wife, at the border the wheels must be changed, because Ukraine and the rest of the FSU use a different gauge than the rest of Europe which involves lifting the carriages in the air with passengers still on board, my poor wife was desperate to go to the toilet, but had to wait one and a half hours until everything was complete.
Wiz

Has not posted on this thread yet...... Do you mean Luckyspin?

Why are you referring to wiz or you still remember my travel report from Simferopol to Odessa?

My experience was not that pleasant when we left Simferopol because the chap I was sharing the cab went to sleep at 7 PM and he was snoring so I had to stay out till midnight and in Nikoaev I was offered another cabin just before entering the station, to be alone after bribing the old babouska......... but then I had to share the cab with a nice ... person.... chatted all night..... and had too much to drink! [biggrin.gif]

Sorry it was my fault I just saw that it was posted by the moderator and assumed it was you. [embarrased.gif] Substitute luckyspin for Wiz in that message. [happy.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#7  PostPosted: 23 Feb 2011 01:41 
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Ukraine and trains, as other have mentioned they are not too bad unless:

1. You are in third class on an overnight train and surrounded by gypsies.
2. You are on the train during a long day light segment, during the summer, with others who do not use deodorant. [bad.gif]
3. You are thinking about going first class as then it's usually better to fly as the price is not so much different.

OK, now to my first train journey in the Ukraine. I had spent the afternoon getting introduced to my former FSUW who came down from Moscow and then we caught the overnight train to I-V. We were in second class and I had purchased all four tickets for the compartment so we were alone, we had our tea and then she gets up looks around and asked if I was ready to start communicating (I'll leave the extent of that communication up to your imagination) and from that day on I came to realize that FSUW really like to communicate on trains. [tonque.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#8  PostPosted: 23 Feb 2011 05:18 
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wicheese wrote:
...... from that day on I came to realize that FSUW really like to communicate on trains. [tonque.gif]
Oh yes they like such communication... [thumbs.gif]

... problem is, it' a bit narrow on space..... and baboushka, next door complained for the noise, ........ [lol.gif]

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 Post subject: Re: Overnight trains in Ukraine
Post Number:#9  PostPosted: 26 Feb 2011 07:24 
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Luckyspin wrote:
Passports are required to book overnight train tickets.
They no longer are. This requirement was dropped years ago.

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