What are the types and classes of Ukrainian trains?
There are two types of trains which, in our opinion, are the best for foreign tourists.
Intercity Express trains
Hyundai express trains are the fastest and the most comfortable vehicles on Ukrainian railway at the moment. The duration of the journey is between 5-7 hours, depending on the direction. The thing which gives comfort to the travelers on this trains – cafe and attendance on the train. As on a plane you can buy snacks and drinks right from the truck of conductor or can go to small cafe to order coffee and sandwiches.
Which class to take?
It depends only on the level of comfort you prefer.
The difference between the classes in the Intercity Express trains is described below:
The second class – regular size of the seats, 5-6 seats in a row (2 or 3 seats from each side), 1 plug per 3 passengers.
The first class – seats are wider and more comfortable, only 4 seats in a row (2 seats from each side), plugs for every passenger.
The best way to get an interesting local experience – ride on an overnight train. Despite the duration of journey is longer, the main advantage of this train is a bunk bed the you get. The level of comfort of the bunk bed depends on the class of the wagon.
Ukrainians are used to travel by trains and sleeping trains are the most popular, so that is a good opportunity to get in touch with locals and learn the culture more. These kind of trains are in great request because of good schedule: usually the train leaves in the evening and arrives to the destination in the morning, so you do not spend day time on the road, have a possibility to sleep and save money for 1-night accomodation.
Big disadvantage for you can be non-acquaintance about the conditions inside the wagon. Some are new and modern, with plugs and lightning above each bunk, some are old and does not have facilities for comfortable stay.
There is a subtype of the overnight trains where they use mostly new and comfortable wagons, but still you never know if you will get the old wagon or not.
It depends on a lot of factors and the decision is made by Ukrainian railway company. Unfortunately, they do not warn passengers about the type of the wagon, so it is a possibility to try your luck!
The photos below will help you with understanding the difference between old and new kupe wagons.
One more interesting thing about overnight trains – the water closet. There are only 2 of them for the wagon, so be prepared to wait in the lines for it in the morning. It is not a fully equipped bathroom, but give an opportunity to relieve and do the morning procedures. Do not panic if it gets closed during the ride. Sometimes the conductors closes the toilets when the train comes to the towns and cities.
Which class to take?
Let’s see what is the difference between first and second classes in the overnight train:
Kupe (the second class) – 4 bunk beds in the compartment, passenger has to make his bed up by his own. Interesting thing – there are 2 levels of the bunks: lower and higher. The higher bed does not have such space above it. Pay attention to this while buying the tickets online. It is easy to understand which bunk bed you choose while buying the ticket: the even numbers go to higher bunks and the odd numbers go to the lower bunks.
Lux (the first class) – 2 bunk beds in the compartment, the bunk bed is already made up, beds are more comfortable.
The beds located on the lower level, so you don’t need to worry about it while buying the ticket online.
Where to buy the train tickets?
You can easily buy train tickets on the official website of Ukrainian railways.
Pay attention, it is only possible to buy tickets for domestic journeys. Tickets for international trips can only be purchased at the cash desk on the railway stations because you will need the original of the ticket to get on a train (not a printed one).
When is the right time to buy tickets?
While early planning your travel around Ukraine ( for instance a few months prior your arrival), you can face the problem that there are no train tickets available. Don’t be afraid, we will explain why.
Ukrainian railway starts selling the tickets in 30-45 days before the departure day. It depends on the popularity of the route and quantity of trains on this route.
So if you plan coming to Ukraine in July, you will not be able buy the train tickets for July’s dates in January. Just remind yourself to buy them in the end of May or beginning of June.
What are the prices for tickets?
The average price for the Second class tickets for Intercity and sleeping trains are quite the same – around 550-650 UAH (19-23 Euro or 21-25 US Dollars).
The average price for the First class ticket may vary depending on the route and the train type – from 1100 to 1450 UAH (39-51 Euro or 42-55 US Dollars) for Intercity Express trains and from 1350 to 1750 UAH (47-61 Euro or 51-66 US Dollars) for sleeping trains.
It’s only you to choose the type of the train and the class you prefer. The most important thing is to meet your needs and the level of comfort. We believed this article will make the process of booking the train tickets easier and dispel the myths around Ukrainian railway system.