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Train Travel

The best and most popular way to travel in Ukraine is by train. Trains are cheap though slow and not very comfortable. For example, a train from Odessa-Kiev cost around $10 one way, always travels overnight, and is approximately 12 hours. Prices for foreigners and Ukrainians are the same.

Most trains are overnight. Trains for inter-city travel don't have seats--they have beds on which you sit on during the evening and morning and which you sleep on at night.

Buying a ticket in Odessa
A passport is required for all train ticket purchases. The person does not have to be physically present to be issued a ticket (i.e. one person can take another person's passport to the train station to purchase tickets)

In Odessa, Tickets within Ukraine are purchased in the first room to the right of the entrance.

International tickets are purchased in a newly remodeled room on the west side of the train station ("?" on the map), there are two ways to find it:

  • As you enter the train station, turn right, in the second newly remodeled room, turn left down a corridor, walking past a pharmacy on your left. The double doors are directly in front of you. The ticket counter for international tickets is in the back of the room, cashier 5 "Мiжароднi Каси".
  • The second entrance is from the outside. As you walk into the main entrance of the train station, turn right, in the next room, go left and outside to the train platforms. Outside, go through the first door on the right into a hallway, the double doors are down the hallway and on the left. The ticket counter for international tickets is in the back of the room, cashier 5 "Мiжароднi Каси".

Advanced tickets are also purchased in this room.

For a shorter wait in line, tickets within Ukraine can be purchased in the same room as for International tickets for a small charge of around 5 Hryvna per ticket.

Four Classes of Train Travel

Train wagons (cars) have four classes:

First-class wagon
Has three names:

  • Luks (люкс)
  • spalny vag-on (спальни вагон)
  • The abbreviation S.V. (es veh/CB)

First class wagons have two people per compartment, better quality bedding, reading lamps, tablecloths, often air conditioning, and better furnishings. Not all trains have first class.

Second-class wagon, kupeigh (купе)
First class wagons have four people per compartment. Two people sleep below and two people sleep above. They are similar to first class cars but more run-down. Be warned: second class wagons usually have a group of intoxicated men who are noisy all evening.

Third-class wagons, plats-kart (плацкарт)
Third-class wagons have no closed compartments. An open hallway runs the length of the wagon with four beds on one side, and two beds on the other side, parallel with the hallway. Traveling in third class is the best way to socialize and meet new people.

Fourth-class wagons, obshey vagon (обшей вагон)
Fourth-class wagons are only available on limited routes, they have only seating and no beds.

In the second and third class wagons, it is usually best to ask for the bottom bunk.

The bottom bunk has the advantage of being able to sleep directly above your luggage in a bottom bunk and not having to struggle to climb out of bed. Although some women feel safer on the top bunk.

You can ask for the bottom bunk by saying:
Ya Hachu nejznu-yu polku (Я хочу нижнюю полку).

Because of the noise through out the night from people going to smoke and use the toilet, the worst place in the wagon is near the bathrooms, on either end of the wagon. Ukrainians know this, and these tickets are usually sold very last.

Before leaving the train station, check to make sure your ticket is correct.

Train Ticket

Odessa tickets forms are in both Russian and Ukrainian. The ticket is printed in Ukrainian. Ukrainian train tickets are ridiculously complex, filled with a lot of numbers you don't need, and so complex that even most Ukrainians do not understand.

************************************ TICKET HERE***********************

Packing for the train

Bring the following:

  • Toilet paper (usually not available in the toilets)
  • Food and beverages for entire trip. Food vendors who travel from wagon to wagon are becoming more common on train rides, but are still rare.
  • Many Ukrainians bring sandals because the floors of the toilets are usually wet.
  • Toiletry supplies
  • Comfortable clothing to sleep in.
  • Reading materials
  • Money belt or pouch

Catching the train

Allow about 30 minutes before the train departs to find your platform and wagon. Trains are usually punctual.

Numbers for the cars/wagons are listed in either the first or last window of the each car.

You must show your ticket to the conductor at the foot of the stairs. Occasionally he will ask to see your passport.

Be careful to watch your items in the wagon before the train leaves.

On the train

Shortly after departing the train station, the conductor will come into your compartment and ask for your ticket. She will usually tear a small part of the ticket and then put the ticket in a pouch. She will then collect money for sheets. Sheets cost around 5-10 Hryvna. After collecting all of the money and tickets, the conductor will return with your sheets. Sheets have a top sheet, bottom sheet, pillowcase, and towel. You then make the bed with the mattress and pillow that is already in the compartment. First class already has the bed made for you. If a blanket is not available, you can ask for one.

Often the conductor will return and suggest tea, available for less than a Hryvna.

Windows are usually sealed shut permanently. Occasionally the conductor can open the windows with a special key.

Toilet facilities

Because the waste from the toilet drops directly on the tracks, the toilet is usually locked for the first and last 15-30 minutes of the journey. The toilets are also often locked when approaching most train stops and will remain locked for 5 to 10 minutes after stopping.

Most wagons have two toilets on each end. Toilets are often dirty, and by the end of a journey the floors are wet with water.

The sink's on-switch is located below the spout. To turn on the faucet, press the lever upward towards the spout.


  • Share your food and beverages with others.
  • Leave the compartment if people of the opposite sex are changing.
  • Ukrainians are very persistent when the want you to drink with them. But if you do not feel comfortable drinking, don't.

Safety Tips

Lock the door below the handle. Some compartments have a metal flap, located near the top of the door. When you lower this flap, it makes it nearly impossible to open the door from the outside.

Use a money belt or pouch under your clothes and keep your passport, money, and credit cards with you at all times.

If you feel uncomfortable in a compartment, do not hesitate to ask the conductor to move you.

International Travel

When traveling to a neighboring country, the train usually stops for up to an hour on both sides of the border. Often you will be singled out as a rich foreigner by being harassed to purchase unneeded health insurance (when entering Ukraine) or asked to pay a bribe (when leaving and entering Ukraine and Moldavia). When leaving and entering the CIS the train wheels are switched to a different track size. [The different track size was intentional, it was set up to prevent invasions by railway.]

Wakeup Call

The conductor will usually knock on your door around an hour before arrival. Usually the conductor offers tea again. Fold up your mattress, pillow, and blanket and return the sheets to the conductor' compartment, located in the front of the wagon, next to the toilet.

Train Schedule for Odessa, Ukraine

Below is the train schedule that was accurate for January 2002. Train schedules change extensively from one year to a next, so these schedules should be seen as a rough guide only. Many trains may pass through the town that you want to travel to. For example the Moscow train which passes through Kiev. When buying a ticket the rail station cashiers usually do not give this information unless asked.

In Odessa, call 005 for exact times.

Train No
DEP Odessa
Train No
ARR Odessa
Russian Name
Baku, Azerbaijan* 638 Every Tues and Wed 18:30 4:05 637 Every Wed and Sat 20:05 6:32 Баку, Азербайджан*
Balta, Ukraine 816 Everyday 9:31 13:35 815 Everyday 14:21 18:29 Балта
Bapnyarka, Ukraine 830 Everyday 18:39 0:39 829 Everyday 2:43 9:20 Вапнярка
Baranovichy, Belarus* 94 Check Schedule 16:34 21:06 93 Check Schedule 4:04 10:47 Барановичи, Беларусь*
Belgarad-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine 606 Check Schedule 6:43 8:33 6341 Check Schedule 5:07 7:32 Белгород-днестровский
Belgarad-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine 6304 Check Schedule 8:48 11:11 6343 Check Schedule 8:10 10:28 Белгород-днестровский
Belgarad-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine 6306 Check Schedule 11:25 13:37 605 Check Schedule 11:42 13:36 Белгород-днестровский
Belgarad-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine 6308 Check Schedule 13:28 15:37 6347 Check Schedule 14:45 17:09 Белгород-днестровский
Belgarad-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine 6310 Check Schedule 17:29 19:57 6349 Check Schedule 17:22 19:47 Белгород-днестровский
Belgarad-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine 6312 Check Schedule 20:43 23:06 6351 Check Schedule 19:32 21:46 Белгород-днестровский
Berezino, Belarus * 686 Check Schedule 14:50 21:30 685 Check Schedule 23:53 6:42 Березино, Беларусь *
Berlin, Germany* 662 Every Wed and Sat 18:12 6:56 35 Every Wed and Sun 21:38 12:16 Берлин, Германия*
Chelyabinsk, Russia* 232 Check Schedule     231 Check Schedule 3:55 11:39 Челябинск *
Chelyabinsk, Russia* 290 Check Schedule 15:22 11:40 289 Check Schedule 11:52 4:50 Челябинск *
Cherkassy, Ukraine 696 Even Days 20:06 5:56 695 Even Days 18:13 4:30 Черкассы
Chernigov, Ukraine 14 Everyday 21:56 12:22 13 Everyday 18:42 9:39 Чернигов
Chernovtseigh, Ukraine 252 Odd Days 16:44 11:32 251 Odd Days 14:27 9:48 Черновцы
Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine 64 Everyday 19:39 8:02 63 Everyday 18:14 6:13 Днепропетровск
Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine* 630 Check Schedule 17:01 8:48 629 Check Schedule 13:55 5:53 Днепропетровск *
Gdeighnya, Poland* 108 Check Schedule 19:57 9:21 107 Check Schedule 19:17 10:17 Гдыня, Польша *
Gomel, Belarus* 94 Check Schedule 16:34 9:55 93 Check Schedule 16:58 10:47 Гомель, Беларусь*
Gorky, Russia* 312 Check Schedule 23:07 13:30 311 Check Schedule 0:55 13:09 Горький *
Harkov, Ukraine 60 Everyday 18:48 9:30 59 Everyday 17:30 8:30 Харьков
Harkov, Ukraine 232 Everyday 11:59 8:40 231 Everyday 15:00 11:39 Харьков
Hmelnitsky, Ukraine 100 Check Schedule 19:48 4:27 99 Check Schedule 20:44 5:35 Хмельницкий
Hristinovka, Ukraine 610 Everyday 22:06 6:48 609 Everyday 19:19 5:08 Христиновка
Ivano-Frankovsk, Ukraine 236 Even Days 12:51 10:10 235 Even Days 11:20 8:39 Ивано-Франковск
Izmail, Ukraine 686 Everyday 14:50 22:19 685 Everyday 23:06 6:42 Измаил
Jzitomir, Ukraine* 158 Check Schedule 22:57 8:58 157 Check Schedule 22:50 9:29 Житомир *
Kaliningrad, Russia* 94 Check Schedule 16:34 7:47 93 Check Schedule 14:52 10:47 Калининград *
Kiev, Ukraine 6 Everyday 21:20 7:29 5 Everyday 21:40 8:02 Киев
Kiev, Ukraine 662 Everyday 18:15 6:54 661 Everyday 17:29 6:22 Киев
Kiev, Ukraine 860 Check Schedule 8:31 17:22 859 Check Schedule   14:58 Киев
Kirovograd, Ukraine 606 Everyday 14:40 21:17 605 Everyday 23:20 6:02 Кировоград
Kishinev, Moldova* 310 Check Schedule 3:39 16:15 309 Check Schedule 22:25 3:19 Кишинев, Молдова*
Kishinov, Moldova 642 Everyday 11:40 16:38 641 Everyday 6:32 11:15 Кишинев, Молдова
Kishinov, Moldova 658 Everyday 17:57 22:36 657 Everyday 12:50 17:28 Кишинев, Молдова
Kovel, Ukraine 84 Even Days 15:31 9:13 83 Even Days 15:44 9:29 Ковель
Krakow, Poland* 108 Check Schedule 19:57 18:55 107 Check Schedule 9:00 10:17 Краков, Польша *
Lugansk, Ukraine 190 Odd Days 13:50 15:06 189 Odd Days 9:31 10:08 Луганск
Lviv, Ukraine 26 Everyday 19:30 8:00 25 Everyday 19:35 9:12 Львов
Lviv, Ukraine* 128 Check Schedule 16:44 5:26 127 Check Schedule 20:30 9:48 Львов *
Minsk, Belarus 94 Check Schedule 16:34 15:28 93 Check Schedule 11:22 10:47 Минск Беларусь
Mogilov, Ukraine* 20 Check Schedule 17:48   20 Check Schedule   9:56 Могилев *
Moscow, Russia 24 Everyday 13:01 15:14 23 Everyday 20:30 19:56 Москва
Moscow, Russia 34 Even Days 22:48 4:28 33 Everyday 10:30 13:58 Москва
Moscow, Russia 36 Check Schedule 0:45 4:08 35 Check Schedule 12:27 12:16 Москва
Moscow, Russia 194 Check Schedule 15:49 20:55 193 Check Schedule 1:14 4:59 Москва
Omsk, Russia* 272 Check Schedule 15:22 5:54 271 Check Schedule 14:57 4:50 Омск *
Pshemieghsl, Poland 108 Everyday 19:57 12:01 107 Everyday 17:15 10:17 Пшемысль, Польша
Riga, Latvia* 94 Check Schedule 16:34 12:40 93 Check Schedule 18:35 10:47 Рига, Латвия*
Rostov 234 Odd days 13:10 14:32 233 Odd days 17:24 16:24 Ростов
Saratov, Ukraine* 272 Check Schedule 15:22 12:37 271 Check Schedule 10:16 4:50 Саратов *
Shevchenko, Ukraine* 194 Check Schedule 15:49 0:28 193 Check Schedule 21:30 8:30 Шевченко *
Simferopol, Ukraine 650 Everyday 18:06 8:13 649 Everyday 16:54 6:51 Симферополь
Simferopol, Ukraine* 310 Check Schedule 11:16 15:38 309 Check Schedule 22:00 10:56 Симферополь *
St. Petersburg, Russia 20 Check Schedule 17:48 6:26 19 Check Schedule 23:36 9:58 Санкт-Петербург
Sumeigh, Ukraine* 194 Check Schedule 15:49 12:40 193 Check Schedule 5:55 4:59 Сумы *
Truskavets, Ukraine* 252 Check Schedule 16:44 11:37 251 Check Schedule 14:29 9:48 Трускавец *
Ufa, Russia 272 Check Schedule 15:22 3:35 271 Check Schedule 21:25 4:50 Уфа
Ujzgorod, Ukraine* 128 Check Schedule 16:44 15:30 127 Check Schedule 10:36 9:48 Ужгород*
Vapnyarka 626 Everyday 6:33 13:30 625 Everyday 15:22 21:56 Вапнярка
Vapnyarka, Ukraine* 826 Check Schedule 6:33 12:28 825 Check Schedule 15:19 21:28 Вапнярка *
Warsaw, Poland 108 Even Days 19:57 20:50 107 Odd Days 8:06 10:17 Варшава, Польша
Yasinovataya, Ukraine 192 Check Schedule 18:57 19:08 191 Check Schedule 11:05 12:50 Ясиноватая
Zaporojze, Ukraine 618 Everyday 13:19 7:22 617 Everyday 12:45 5:26 Запорожье
Znamenka, Ukraine 638 Everyday 18:30 6:08 637 Everyday 19:00 6:32 Знаменка

*During the trip, the wagon that the passengers are in will be disconnected from the original train, then reconnected to another train.

Russia (Rossiya/Россия) Ukraine (Ukraina/Украина)