Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

All about Kazakhstan. Experts: Julia, walkingalmaty
woshju
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Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

Postby woshju » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:41 pm

Planning a trans-Siberian trip this winter, and was looking at trains from Moscow to Almaty (around Dec 16) and from Almaty to Urumqi (around Dec 21). Couldn't find much information that I'm sure is accurate, so I'd like to know where I can find accurate schedules for the trains (maybe someone could search for me in Russian)?

I'm pretty sure there isn't a direct train from Moscow to Almaty anymore, and the only booking site that comes up with a result when I put in the route is https://tutu.travel (with one transfer). Does anyone know if this site is reliable? Please recommend other sites where I could find schedules and book tickets, even if they're in Russian.

Almaty-Urumqi is even more confusing. Found this (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3625) post but not sure how accurate it is now. Tutu.travel says that there's a weekly direct train 013X from Almaty to Urumqi that takes 30 hours, but I've read elsewhere that there's more than that, with travel times of less than 24 hours? I'm struggling to find up-to-date information on this. Also had a look on ctrip but no luck there either.

Could anyone advise me on finding current schedules, and when/where to book tickets online. I've always used seat61.com for trains but it's not been too helpful this time - RealRussia.co.uk doesn't work for my routes.

Thanks in advance!
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Milad
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Re: Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

Postby Milad » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:40 pm

I always use pass.rzd.ru, the official website of Russian Railways. The direct train Moscow-Almaty has indeed been cancelled a few years ago, change in Nur-Sultan or Petropavlovsk. This page might not find the train to Urumqi though, however I'm unsure what's the best way to book this one as I never used it.
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woshju
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Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:37 pm

Re: Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

Postby woshju » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:11 pm

Milad wrote:I always use pass.rzd.ru, the official website of Russian Railways. The direct train Moscow-Almaty has indeed been cancelled a few years ago, change in Nur-Sultan or Petropavlovsk. This page might not find the train to Urumqi though, however I'm unsure what's the best way to book this one as I never used it.


Thanks for the reply. I've had a look at the website and put in Moscow to Almaty. However, it yielded no results for both direct trains and trains with transfers. Do I have to book trains separately? i.e. Moscow-Petropavlovsk and Petropavlovsk-Almaty and then self-transfer? It's doable with pass.rzd.ru but it's obviously not ideal. Is there a better option?

Also, do you know what time tickets start being sold on that website? As in how many days before departure. Thanks again.
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Lubylu
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Re: Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

Postby Lubylu » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:29 pm

Hi there
I found pass.rzd.ru incredibly easy to use and book tickets with. The man in seat 61 website has a good section on how to use it if you're unsure.
Moscow to Almaty train indeed has stopped but I believe it's pretty easy to change at Astana.
To get an early heads up on tickets I've used tutu rail - If you enter your route & dates but tickets haven't been released yet you can use their notification function and they will email you when they are released. Then buy on rzd.pass.ru directly.
Hoping to get the Almaty to Urumqi train myself in a few weeks - will write a report if I manage it! Really hoping someone on here can provide an update on this route before I get to Almaty but otherwise I'll wing it & see what happens...
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Milad
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Re: Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

Postby Milad » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:34 am

woshju wrote:
Milad wrote:I always use pass.rzd.ru, the official website of Russian Railways. The direct train Moscow-Almaty has indeed been cancelled a few years ago, change in Nur-Sultan or Petropavlovsk. This page might not find the train to Urumqi though, however I'm unsure what's the best way to book this one as I never used it.


Thanks for the reply. I've had a look at the website and put in Moscow to Almaty. However, it yielded no results for both direct trains and trains with transfers. Do I have to book trains separately? i.e. Moscow-Petropavlovsk and Petropavlovsk-Almaty and then self-transfer? It's doable with pass.rzd.ru but it's obviously not ideal. Is there a better option?

Also, do you know what time tickets start being sold on that website? As in how many days before departure. Thanks again.


The option "with transfers" is indeed pretty useless. You can use bahn.de to find journeys with transfers though (no joke) as they get all timetable data from RŽD and have a great search engine, although you can't book there (and sometimes the time to change trains is unrealistically short).
The sale starts 90, 60 or 45 days before departure, depending on the train. Russian domestic trains usually start 90 days before, international trains 45 days.
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woshju
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Re: Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

Postby woshju » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:50 am

Milad wrote:
woshju wrote:
Milad wrote:I always use pass.rzd.ru, the official website of Russian Railways. The direct train Moscow-Almaty has indeed been cancelled a few years ago, change in Nur-Sultan or Petropavlovsk. This page might not find the train to Urumqi though, however I'm unsure what's the best way to book this one as I never used it.


Thanks for the reply. I've had a look at the website and put in Moscow to Almaty. However, it yielded no results for both direct trains and trains with transfers. Do I have to book trains separately? i.e. Moscow-Petropavlovsk and Petropavlovsk-Almaty and then self-transfer? It's doable with pass.rzd.ru but it's obviously not ideal. Is there a better option?

Also, do you know what time tickets start being sold on that website? As in how many days before departure. Thanks again.


The option "with transfers" is indeed pretty useless. You can use bahn.de to find journeys with transfers though (no joke) as they get all timetable data from RŽD and have a great search engine, although you can't book there (and sometimes the time to change trains is unrealistically short).
The sale starts 90, 60 or 45 days before departure, depending on the train. Russian domestic trains usually start 90 days before, international trains 45 days.


Thanks, the bahn.de search engine is very useful for looking up the timetables.
https://imgur.com/8L8SO99
This is ideally the train I'd like to book but the schedule for Dec 2019 (https://imgur.com/fGqUIwt) isn't looking very good (I'd like to leave moscow around 16 Dec)

Good thing is that I've managed to find this train on RZD in Russian, Москва Казанская (Казанский Вокзал) -> Алматы 2, which is really good, as I now have this bahn-rzd method to find train times then book tickets. I'll keep an eye out on the schedule for the train through Petropavlovsk, and if it doesn't run on the day I'm leaving moscow I could consider other trains and book them through rzd. Hopefully this method will work!

I can understand a little Russian so I might be able to manage to book through rzd in Russian. Is it better than using the site in English or does it not make a difference? Also any more tips on using pass.rzd.ru? I've never used it before.

Thanks a lot for your help Milad!
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Milad
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Re: Need advice for trains between Moscow, Almaty, and Urumqi

Postby Milad » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:35 am

Dec 14/15 is the weekend of the big yearly international timetable change, meaning that I (and neither anyone else) won't be able to tell you what train connection you should take before approx. mid-October (when the new schedule is released) for a journey after this date.
The language you use pass.rzd.ru in doesn't make any difference.
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