Train Moscow to Tashkent

The Silk Road by train. Experts: Milad, Provodnik
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Train Moscow to Tashkent

Post by H_Phil »


On the Train in Uzbekistan page (as well as the most recent lonely planet) it says that the train from Moscow to Tashkent (the № 006Ф) snakes into Kazakhstan then back into Russia, and then into Kazakhstan again. It also says that you don't need a double-entry visa.

In my paranoia about this I looked at the various stops on the route and looked at the path of the tracks and it doesn't look like it does at any point go back into Russia at all. These are the various stops according to

Samara - Buzuluk - Sorochinskaya - Orenburg - Sol- Iltesk - Sagarchin - Yaysan - Aktyubinsk - Kandagach

I'm having trouble getting a double entry visa for Russia (the three days on a train seem to confuse the hell out of the visa company in London) so I'm just trying to get as much reassurance as possible that we're not likely to be kicked out of a train on the border at 4.30am!

Any guidance (or anyone's personal recent experience) would be very welcome indeed.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Train Moscow to Tashkent

Post by steven »

Sorry for the late reply here. Cannot give more reassurance than what I mentioned on the website, have no recent personal experience. Please let us know how it went for the next person trying this!
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Re: Train Moscow to Tashkent

Post by Lubylu »

Train report 006 Uzbek Railways Moscow to Tashkent

Took this train leaving Moscow 22.40 1st September arriving Tashkent 16.50 local time 4th September.

Accurate information about stops can be found on Russian railways website or tutu rail in advance. The train kept to perfect time at every station stop other than the final arrival at Tashkent about 20 minutes late due to delays at Uzbek customs. We left Russia once for Kazakhstan, remained in Kazakhstan before entering Uzbekistan for Tashkent (no double entry).

Train comprised of 11 sleeping carriages and one restaurant car towards the back of the train.
We stayed in 1-cl spalny wagon (2 berth kupe) and there seemed to be mainly Russians in our carriage who kept themselves to themselves.

We had one charging socket in our cabin which worked fine, met some travellers in kupe who also had a socket between 4 in their cabin. Fresh linen and a (very small) towel was provided after the train left Moscow. Extra blankets found in the storage in our cabin softened what was a pretty lumpy bed. There was a tv above the window in every cabin in our carriage, we didn't test ours but several of our neighbours used them to watch fairly terrible looking Russian soap operas late into the night, so they definitely worked!

There were two toilets at the end of our carriage only one of which actually locked. The toilets were pretty basic as you might expect. There was always toilet paper but soap hit and miss.

Our provodnista was an Uzbeki lady who was brilliant, she spoke some English and her friendly and cheerful demeanour really made our trip.

Black or green tea was constantly available free of charge from the provodniki from the hot water urn at the end of the carriage, teapot and tea cups provided (not sure if the free tea would be the case in other classes of travel). We brought bottled water with us to drink.

We mainly ate in the restaurant car, there was no menu but the waitress would explain what was available at that time - generally plov (pretty good), lagman (also pretty good), soup (average) and occasionally borscht (did not try). Two plovs and two teas cost 400 roubles.

I think you would be ok paying in tenge, rouble or som but rouble seemed to be the standard (presumably as the train originated in Moscow). Definitely cash only.
If you don't want to eat in the restaurant - and given that there were often only 4 or so others in there with us, I presume most do not - but still want to buy food on board the chefs are frequently running a delivery service through the corridors - the same hot food as in the restaurant, and some other snacky items, also soft drinks and beers etc.
This latter point proved an issue for us in Kazakhstan - we'd bought a beer from the chef and had it on the table in our cabin when 2 Kazakh police did their rounds. They pointed at it & speaking in Russian were clearly telling us it wasn't allowed (the chief even waved his rulebook around). Acting clueless and not understanding we asked for the provodnista to help translate, she arrived & from my limited Russian I think she was nicely telling them not to give a bad image of Kazakhstan to tourists. After she left they were attempting to ask us to pay a fine but started drafting it themselves on a plain piece of paper - they obviously weren't going to put it through the books. I think eventually our tactic of smiley apologetic cluelessness wore them out and they gave up & left with us promising to throw it away, which we did.

I'm still unclear whether it is illegal to drink in your cabin in Kazakhstan - but having bought our beer from the train chef and seen pretty much everyone else doing it openly it's clear we were targeted as tourists to pay up. Thankfully I think the presence of our provodnista meant they didn't try too hard to fine/extort us, but hopefully this is a useful warning to others unaware like us this could be an issue - I'm sure we aren't the only ones who've fancied a beer watching the sunset over the Kazakh plains!

Other than that we found it a pretty straightforward journey, tickets bought online via Russian railways and easily converted to paper tickets at the station counter Moscow, boarding efficient and smooth at Moscow, generally well looked after on board. Yes the train is old and fairly noisy but has everything you need for a few days, and pretty good value for what is a long old journey.
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Re: Train Moscow to Tashkent

Post by Milad »

Thanks for your report. Two notes:
not sure if the free tea would be the case in other classes of travel
It wouldn't. However, hot water is free in all classes and tea still very cheap (don't know exactly, certainly less than 0.5 USD)
I'm still unclear whether it is illegal to drink in your cabin in Kazakhstan - but having bought our beer from the train chef and seen pretty much everyone else doing it openly it's clear we were targeted as tourists to pay up.
It is illegal to drink on a train outside the restaurant car in most/all CIS countries, however, it is usually not enforced in kupe (2nd class sleeping car) and lyuks (1st class sleeping car) since the doors close and no one outside sees what's going on. The main exception is probably someone drinking in kupe and someone else in the compartment complaining with the provodnik.
Usually, the rule is enforced by the provodnik in platskartny (and they don't want a fine, but take your alcohol and throw drunks out at the next station if they pose a danger)

That's the first time I hear about police checking on this. I also assume that they just tried to make some money.
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