How to Buy a Train Ticket In Ukraine
Buying a train ticket online in Ukraine is, perhaps surprisingly, very simple and easy. Train tickets can be booked up to 100 days in advance and there’s an English version of the site to use for those not fluent in Ukrainian. The site for booking tickets is http://booking.uz.gov.ua/en/.
Searching for a Train Ticket
The first thing to do is to select where you are going from and your destination. When entering your choices, you should be aware that Kiev is displayed using it’s Ukrainian name Kyiv. So, for example, select Kyiv as your ‘from’ and Lviv as your ‘to’. Specify the date and whether it is a one way ticket or a return and click search. The results will show you a list of all trains that match your search.
The first column is the train number. When you have decided on your train, remember this number. When you arrive at the train station all information will be displayed in Ukrainian and it is much easier to find a number than to translate a city name into Ukrainian!
Clicking on the train number on the search page, will bring up a table showing all the stations that the train stops at along with approximate arrival and departure times.
Clicking on the ‘train route map’ link, will show you the route that the train takes.
The second column shows the origin and final destination of each train. From the list above you can see that the 141 K train starts in Kyiv, whereas the 111 O starts in Kharkiv. This is useful for knowing if your train will already be at the platform or if it will be arriving from a different destination.
The next three columns display the date, departure/arrival time and duration of the train journey. You will notice that trains with ‘Intercity +’ under the train number are much faster trains. These are more recent trains used for the Euro 2012 football championships which tool place in Ukraine as well as Poland. The non Intercity trains are perfectly fine too though.
Selecting your train
The last column shows the different types of carriage available to book. The Intercity trains have only two options – first and second class seating. Other trains have three different types of carriage:
- Л – Spalny Wagon (2-berth compartments (1st class))
- К – Kupé (4-berth compartments (2nd class))
- П – Platskartny (open-plan dormitory cars (3rd class))
Each coach has their own attendants (provodnik/provodnitsa) who will check your ticket to ensure you are boarding the correct carriage. On overnight trains, bedding is provided for you free free.
Free hot water is available at the end of the train in a samovar so you can make tea or coffee or things like packet noodles and soups. Just remember to have a mug of your own with you! Oh and a fork/spoon!
When you select which carriage you want, you can then choose which of the carriages on the train and which specific seat that you want to book.
Purchasing Your Train Ticket
After entering your name and adding to the cart, you have 15 minutes to complete payment. You can check how much the train ticket is in your own currency by using a currency converter. Enter your email address to complete the purchase and the ticket will be sent to you to print out and bring to the station. Understanding what the ticket means is another matter as it is all in Ukrainian but I have more information on that coming up….
The best site for information on train travel around Europe is Seat 61.