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Is travel by trains popular in Ukraine?
Railroads are very well developed and traveling by trains is the most popular kind of transport in Ukraine. Majority of the trains are sleeping trains, for distances between cities are quite big, and trains often travel overnight. There are also a number of fast trains, where you can sit and travel during the day. These trains run between the largest cities and Kiev.
Are there 1-st class and 2-nd class sleeping trains in Ukraine?
Yes, there are carriages of both classes in most of the passenger trains.
The most popular are the 2-nd class carriages, for the prices are very reasonable, and the compartments are quite comfortable. Each 2-nd class compartment has 4 beds (2 lower and 2 upper). Costs pf tickets are different, depending on the distance.
The 1-st class carriages are less popular, because of the prices (the tickets are about 3 times more expensive than the 2-nd class tickets). First class compartments have 2 beds in each; there is air conditioning system and quality of services is higher in the 1-st class carriages. Some trains have no first-class carriage at all.
If there is no 1-st class carriage in the train, you may want to buy a full 2-nd class cabin, to travel by yourself in a compartment. Otherwise, there will be three other people traveling with you, which may be uncomfortable and tiring. The cost of a whole 2-nd class cabin is close to the cost of one 1-st class ticket, which would be the best balance of cost and comfort.
Are there separate compartments for ladies and for men in Ukrainian trains?
No. All trains are unisex: passengers travel all together; the tickets are sold for men and women. If a person wants some privacy, they can purchase a whole 2-nd class compartment (4 beds) or a full 1-st class compartment (2 beds).
Toilets are not separated, either. There are two toilet compartments in the ends of each carriage. They may be locked by porters for short periods, when the train arrives to a station.
Are there smokers' and non-smokers' carriages?
No. There are no carriages for smokers or non-smokers. Those who would like to smoke, can go to the very end of the carriage, and have a cigarette in a small compartment there.
Do I need any documents to buy train tickets?
Yes, you need to show your international passport to purchase a train ticket. Train tickets cannot be reserved online; if you want to reserve a ticket, you will need to ask a local person (or service) to do this for you.
Do people transport animals in passenger trains?
This is only possible if a passenger has a veterinary certificate for the animal, takes a number of precaution measures to keep the animal separated from people on the train, and usually this passenger is required to purchase a full compartment of a 2-nd class carriage to have the animal isolated from people during the whole trip.
Is it necessary to show one's passport when buying train tickets in Ukraine?
Yes, you must show your passport to the cashier when purchasing train tickets in Ukraine. Your name will be printed on the ticket, and you may need to shoe the passport to the train porter, when he/she is checking your ticket on entering the train.
Do they serve foods in trains?
Porters always serve tea (coffee), which are very popular drinks among population. In most of the trains, a waiter from the restaurant-carriage walks along the train and offers sandwiches and simple snacks to passengers during the day. If you have no food with you, you can buy some snack in the train. You may also want to experience going to a train restaurant. Most of the trains have a restaurant-carriage in the middle of the train. They serve meat and fish courses there, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and sandwiches.
According to tradition which dates back to the Soviet time, Ukrainians prefer taking their own foods into the train. It is not unusual to see people eating traditional Ukrainian home-made foods in trains.
Please try to restrain from buying foods from private sellers who may jump inito the train during a stop on a station to sell some of their home-made foods. These foods may look very good (and probably they are), but they are not sanitary tested, and these private sellers are not registered vendors, so you would be biying these foods at your own risk.
What is the best combination of price and facilities when traveling by sleeping trains?
The first class carriages have only two beds in each compartment; they are equipped with air-conditioning system, and they are the most comfortable carriages. But the price for a 1-st class ticket is almost 4 times higher than for a 2-nd class ticket.
The 2-nd class cabins have 4 (2 upper and two lower) beds. When traveling by 2-nd class, you may want to buy a full cabin, otherwise there will be three other people traveling with you, which may be uncomfortable and tiring. The cost of a whole 2-nd class cabin is close to the cost of one 1-st class ticket, which would be the best balance of cost and comfort.
Is it a problem to purchase tickets in summer season?
Tickets purchase may become quite a big problem because of extremely high demand during summer holiday season. Advanced ticket sales start 45 days before the departure date. Railway tickets are available not only at the station. You can buy them at the advance ticket sales office in Kiev (38/40, Tarasa Shevchenka Blvd., tel.223-54-55). One of the services of DU Company: purchase tickets for you on the territory of Ukraine before your arrival here. We canl reserve and purchase your tickets beforehand, and then meet you in Borispol airport on the arrival day, to give you the tickets.