Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

The Silk Road by train. Experts: Milad, Provodnik
smlby17
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby smlby17 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:39 am

Thanks pikdonker, I now booked the train via https://tickets.kz/en/gd (like you did) and had no problems booking the train vom Tashkent to Bishkek for 2 people in platskart with my British Visa card, very smooth process and better website (my opinion) than the russian rzd.ru.
Can only recommend it if your are able to pick up the ticket in Kazahkstan!
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pikdonker
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby pikdonker » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:37 pm

Thats not the official kazakh railway website though. That's railways.kz. Their website is a little worse than rzd.ru.. tickets.kz does have the best website, but they charge more than the official railways. Checked two tickets I've already booked: for the fast Astana - Almaty train they charge 66% more (12000 kzt vs. 20000 kzt).. For Urgench - Atyrau the difference is much smaller ( 16000 kzt vs. 17300 kzt ).. Don't know if they have variable prices (the astana-almaty train is much more popular) so YMMV..
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TParrott
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby TParrott » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:24 am

Hi, has anyone picked up their tickets for a train booked through tickets.kz in Almaty yet?

I booked the Bishkek to Tashkent train through tickets.kz and took along a print out of the attachment they emailed me to Alma-Ata 2 station, but was told the print out was the ticket and they couldn't help me.

Has anyone else found this, or were you able to exchange the print out for an actual ticket?

update

I went back to Alma-Ata 2 for the second time to try and collect the tickets. All of the self-service machines were off, so I asked a further 4 people and only 1 had any vague idea of what I needed to do, unfortunately the window I needed was closed that day, so I left empty handed again.

This may be possible to collect in Almaty, but there was confusion over collecting tickets not stating in Kazakhstan.

Final Update - we got the train - 08/09/18

Whilst in Bishkek we went to the Station a week before the train to try and get tickets. It may have been our broken Russian, but we were told you could only get the tickets on the day by the staff. Someone else told me you got the tickets from the post office, but in the end we used the travel company Advantour, who booked the tickets for us, at a charge of $15 USD for the two tickets. Their office is opposite Bishkek Place, so easy to find, and all we had to do was go in, pay them and collect the tickets - much easier if you're Russian isn't great.

As is mentioned in the below post, the service was mostly empty and some friends we made whilst traveling were able to upgrade by paying the guard - despite Advantour (who they also used) being told the train was full.

The train itself was fine, we left Bishkek at 09:51 local time (06:51 Moscow time), and there were lots of staff on-hand at Bishkek Station to help. The only downside is that you cross the Kazakh - Uzbek border between 2 and 4 am, so it's not the best night's sleep, especially when a friendly train guard challenges you to a game of chess at 2:30am! I get the feeling of the time was adjusted to do the border a few hours later, and it was more widely publicised it would be a more popular service, as all travellers I have met have said they wish they'd known about the train.
Last edited by TParrott on Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Milad
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby Milad » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:42 am

Took the train yesterday. It's an Uzbek train, 10 cars, 1 lyux, 6 kupe, 2 platskartny, 1 restaurant car.

I had a ticket for Platskart, a provodnik offered me an Upgrade to a private compartment in Kupe for 15 USD, I haggled him down to my remaining 50000 UZS + 5 USD. There were very few passengers, I'd estimate the load factor at around 20%, which might mean that the train will not be continued next year.

There is a restaurant car, the menu is limited though, they only have lagman ($3). It's quite good however.

The train arrives in Bishkek at 19:03 local time. If you read 16:03 somewhere, that's Moscow time, which is still used by Kyrgyz Railways sometimes. Sometimes they use local time as well, it's very confusing, if you're leaving from Bishkek, be sure to ask at the station which time zone they currently use to be there at the right time.

A quick note on the train Bishkek-Balykchy: It runs daily until the 10th of September this year, leaving Bishkek-2 station (the main station) at 06:40, taking 5 hours. The schedule says 03:40, that's Moscow time. If you read 06:25/03:25 somewhere, that's the time it leaves the station Bishkek-1, which is outside of the centre of Bishkek. Note that the train station of Balykchy is called Rybach'е (Рыбачье).
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pikdonker
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby pikdonker » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:01 pm

TParrott wrote:Final Update - we got the train - 08/09/18

I was on the same train. (Did we play cards together?)

I booked my ticket through railways.kz, had to pick it up in Kazakhstan. Which I did in the Astana station. The ticket area has three different kinds of machine:
- a machine to get a number in the queue which was in Russian or Kazakh only (I guess you have to indicate why you are there, I couldn't figure it out)
- a row of machines to buy tickets. These are in English, but can only be used to buy a ticket, not for a reservation
- two machines to print reserved tickets. These are in the back.. I didn't notice them at first, but after some wandering around I found them. They are in English as well.. After putting in your order number (14 digit number marked Номер заказа) and passport number, it prints your ticket.

That ticket got me on the train without any problems in Bishkek. Btw, the train left Bishkek 9:51, so the 6:51 was Moscow time.

As the previous posters have said, the train was quite empty. The provodnik directed me from the berth I booked (which was taken by someone else, friend of the provodnik I guess) to an empty kupe next to it (without asking for money). The guy from the restaurant car came by and offered lagman, so I asked for a beer, and he delivered both to my kupe, very nice. And I could pay in Kyrzyg som and get change in Uzbek som so I could buy a metro token in Tashkent without having to find some exchange early in the morning which was nice as well..

All in all a nice train, although the border crossing in the middle of the night was annoying.. Didn't get any chess offers from the guards though.. :)
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thelaama
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby thelaama » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:08 am

Hello,

Does anybody know if this train runs in February? Any of the websites cannot find this train anymore :(
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Milad
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby Milad » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:59 am

It doesn't.
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Milad
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby Milad » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:28 am

It's now being reported in some train geek forums that the train will run again in summer, as before once weekly. No official confirmation yet though.
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leyla19
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby leyla19 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:10 am

Do you know if it operates in April?
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Milad
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Re: Bishkek-Tashkent train: reports and Q&A

Postby Milad » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:38 am

I don't know (yet).
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