Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

The Silk Road by train. Experts: Milad, Provodnik
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aboutian
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Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by aboutian »

I have seen that there was a means of travel from Samarkand to Dushanbe by train via Termez. Is that still possible? If so, what are the costs, schedule and how to book?
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steven
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by steven »

That train is out of order. The uzbeks blew it up a couple of years ago. http://www.eurasianet.org/node/64628
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Provodnik
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by Provodnik »

Steven, the articel from 2011 doesn't concern the line from Termez to Dushanbe, but the southern line from Termez towards Kurgan-Tjube.

There are still international passenger trains to Dushanbe. These trains (3 times weekly) are coming from Moscow and are routed via Volgograd, Atyrau, Kungrad, Karshi, Termez.

However there are two problems with these trains:
- they have no public stops in Uzbekistan (only technical stops, tickets cannot be bought to/from stations in Uzbekistan; only trips between stops in Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are possible)
- they don't use the new line from Karshi via Kumkurgan towards Termez (entirely on Uzbek territory), but the old line via Turkmenistan, so a Turkmen transit-visa as well as a double-entry visa for Uzbekistan are necessary.


To get from Samarkand to Dushanbe, I'd recommend to take the train Tashkent - Samarkand - Sariasija (close to the Tajik border at Tursunzade) and then make your way by taxi to Dushanbe. The train runs every other day. The trip Samarkand - Sariasija takes 10h47min, departure time from Samarkand is 01h08 in the night on even dates.
There is also a train Tashkent - Samarkand - Kumkurgan - Termez. This train runs daily and one can get off at Kumkurgan and get a taxi from there to the border. Kumkurgan is not as close to the border as Sariasija, so if the days of running of the Sariasija-train match your plan, I'd choose the Sariasija-train.

Timetable: http://fahrplan.oebb.at/bin/query.exe/en?
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steven
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by steven »

Thank you Provodnik, excellent info! Really great to have a train geek on board!
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Wolkman
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by Wolkman »

Dear fellow-travellers,

At the moment I am planning my trip and routes from west Uzbekistan to west Tadzjiskistan (Dushanbe/ Fan mountains), and from there then to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.
Some questions regarding this:

- I am planning to travel by train. Is it possible to travel by train from Samarkand to Sariasija (without going into Turkmenistan), and from there to Dushanbe?
At http://fahrplan.oebb.at you can find these trips, but strangly I cannot find any of these in routes in (for instance) Lonely Planet. This goes for many other train connections as well: while LP says there is only one weekly train from Urgench to Bukhara, fahrplan.oebb.at claims there are many more connections (often part of international routes). What is your experience regarding this? And how to buy tickets for trains that are shown at fahrplan.oebb.at? Online purchase is not possible, so how to obtain tickest for these (international) trains for Ubzek domestic travel?

- From Dushanbe to Bishkek, is there an (easy) way to travel this without entering Uzbekistan again, or easier to go through Tashkent? I would love to see the scenery of Kyrgyzstan, so rather not go over north from Tashkent - Kazakhstan - Bishkek.

Thanks so much already!
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Milad
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by Milad »

I don't know if there are domestic Uzbek trains from Samarkand to Sariasija. However, there are NO trains at all that you can use from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan, while there are a few trains (mainly the Moscow<>Dushanbe ones), they do not stop for passengers in Uzbekistan.

However, the relations between the two countries seem to get better: recently, the Uzbek government announced that they want to reopen the Galaba – Amusang railway, which was closed and partially lifted in 2011, this may as well be an indication that the Moscow<>Dushanbe trains may also be used by passengers going from or to Uzbekistan in the future (yet, only speculation!).

Edit: The direct train from Urgench to Bukhara is only weekly, but there should be more (probably daily) alternatives involving a change of train in Samarkand.
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steven
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by steven »

Wolkman wrote: - From Dushanbe to Bishkek, is there an (easy) way to travel this without entering Uzbekistan again, or easier to go through Tashkent? I would love to see the scenery of Kyrgyzstan, so rather not go over north from Tashkent - Kazakhstan - Bishkek.

Thanks so much already!
Milad answered your other question already very well. About this one: Dushanbe to Bishkek is quickest via Khujand and Osh overland, or the long way round along the Pamir Highway to Osh.

https://caravanistan.com/border-crossings/tajikistan#kg
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Provodnik
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by Provodnik »

Wolkman wrote:Dear fellow-travellers,

At the moment I am planning my trip and routes from west Uzbekistan to west Tadzjiskistan (Dushanbe/ Fan mountains), and from there then to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.
Some questions regarding this:

- I am planning to travel by train. Is it possible to travel by train from Samarkand to Sariasija (without going into Turkmenistan), and from there to Dushanbe?
Yes.
There is a train Tashkent - Sariasija every 2nd day. You can take this train and then continue by taxi.
If the dates of running of these train doesnt suit you, you can take the daily Tashkent - Termez train to Kumkurgan and take a taxi from there (~50 km more by taxi then). That's what I did in sept 2016.
At http://fahrplan.oebb.at you can find these trips, but strangly I cannot find any of these in routes in (for instance) Lonely Planet. This goes for many other train connections as well: while LP says there is only one weekly train from Urgench to Bukhara, fahrplan.oebb.at claims there are many more connections (often part of international routes). What is your experience regarding this?
LP only lists direct trains, whereas oebb.at also shows connections with changing trains (eg in Navoj).

Usually timing on oebb.at are valid, but in case of timetable changes it might take some time untill the data at oebb.at is updated:
The timetable data for Uzbekistan finds its way to Austrian railways webiste via Russia and Germany: The Uzbek railways deliver the data to RZD (Russian Railways), they provide timetable data for most of the former USSR to the Europaean timetabla data server in Frankfurt. And from there OeBB takes the data for the oebb.at website. Each data transfer is done every few weeks, so in some cases it might happen, that recent changes appear in the oebb.at-database with some delay.
It always makes sense to double-check data closer to the source. You can for example double-check the data at https://pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en
And how to buy tickets for trains that are shown at fahrplan.oebb.at? Online purchase is not possible, so how to obtain tickest for these (international) trains for Ubzek domestic travel?
At the train station in Uzbekistan.

Theoretically also online at http://railway.uz/en/ but till now I never got the booking page working on my PC...

Online booking at Russsian Railways webiste https://pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en seems also possible, but only an option if you visit Russia before, as the booked tickets have to be exchanged to "real" paper tickets at any train station in Russia before travelling (Uzbek railways doent accept [email protected] onlinetcikets by RZD).
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Wolkman
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by Wolkman »

Hi all,

Thanks for your answers, really helpful.
So basically the dates and times on http://fahrplan.oebb.at are valid in principle (but sometimes slightly outdated).

And I can just buy train tickets at any Uzbek railway station for such trains, correct?
For price indications, can I just look at the prices that are listed in Rubels at the Russian Railway website, or are the 'local' prices, when buying at an Uzbek station, very different? I wish I could look up the ticketprices at the Uzbek Railways website, but somehow that website doesn't really load...

Actually I just saw that the border crossing Samarkand-Penjikent has just reopened since a few days. If this is really the case, then also my train journey from Samarkand to Sariasija is not necessary any more, as I can now go direct from Samarkand to fan mountains/Dushanbe...Hope anyone can confirm the opening of this crossing.

Thanks again!
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steven
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Re: Train Samarkand to Dushanbe

Post by steven »

Yes I confirm the opening of the Penjikent crossing.
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