Due to the mountainous terrain in Tajikistan, the difficult relations with Uzbekistan and the underfunding of the national train company, taking the train in Tajikistan is not popular. It’s scenic, but very slow.
The Tajik board of tourism also warns travelers to “sit with their back to the engine, as throwing rocks at the windows of passing trains seems to be a popular pastime among local children.” However, this shouldn’t stop you from taking a local train, where plenty of opportunity exists for a friendly chat with the locals and relaxed sight-seeing.
For more on what to expect while traveling by train in Central Asia, check out the overview page on the Silk Road by train, which includes more info on seats, route planning and timetables.
About railways in Tajikistan: two separate networks exist that are not connected to each other. The northern network joins Khojand with Uzbekistan, and a southern network spreads from Dushanbe to Kulob, Qurgonteppa, to southern Uzbekistan and to the border with Afghanistan at Nizhnij Pyanj.
All international trains from Dushanbe go south to Termez in Uzbekistan, before climbing up again.
Dushanbe – Moscow: The train is filled with Tajik migrant workers on their way to try their luck in Moscow. For non-CIS-passport holders, this train is not the best idea, since you will need a Russian visa, a Kazakh transit visa, a double-entry Uzbek visa, a Turkmen transit visa and a Tajik visa to complete this journey.
If you’re still interested, the entire route takes 5 days.
Khojand – Samarkand – Saratov: Train 335 departs from Khojand in Tajikistan at 20.03 and arrives in Samarkand, Uzbekistan at 3.35 3 times a week. In the other direction, it leaves Samarkand at 6.46 and arrives in Khojand around 15.00.
Dushanbe – Khojand – Konibodom: Train 367 & 368 have stopped running since March 2011. It became unprofitable since the new Dushanbe – Khojand highway opened. By car it now takes 5 to 8 hours, while the train route took 32 hours in the past, including a part in Uzbekistan.
There has been talk about a new, straighter Dushanbe – Tursunzode – Khujand, but we’re not holding our breath.
Domestic routes: There is very little demand and very little information about domestic routes, but have a look at the Central Asia railway map, there are definitely places to go in the South. Shaartuz – Qorghanteppa takes around 3,5 hours for instance. Go for it, and let us know how it was.Comments have closed. If you have questions or remarks, head to our forum’s transport section.