Introduction

Last update: 2015-11-22
 

Uzbekistan has many things to offer for tourists. The towns on the ancient Silk Road are famous: Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

Uzbekistan railways offer a comfortable, reliable and cheap way to explore the touristic highlights of the country. Alltough shared-taxis and buses often provide a more frequent means of transportation, I recommend to travel by train. Several new express trains have been introduced since 2004.

Since 2012 Spanish-built highspeed trains (called "Afrosiab") are operatring between Tashkent and Samarkand at top speeds of 250 km/h.
In 2015 the service was extended to Karshi, and probably in 2016 or 2017 these trains will also run to Bukhara (Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara).

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Some photos of the "Afrosiab"-train, taken from http://www.parovoz.com/newgallery/?LNG=EN:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

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MAIN SERVICES

Tashkent - Samarkand is served by 2 daily highspeed-trains, which cover the 350 km long route in just 2h10min. One of these trains continues beyond Samarkand to Karshi.
In addition there is a daily (twice daily on fridays and sundays) express train Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara (named "Sharq"). Travel time Tashkent - Bukhara (~600 km) is about 6,5 hours. The trips Tashkent - Bukhara and Bukhara - Samarkland take just over 3 hrs each.

Tashkent - Bukhara can also be done by overnight train. A daily overnight train offers the possibility to travel during the night and win one day. Comfortable sleeping cars allow a good sleep.



Overnight trains also run from Tashkent and Samarkand to Urgench (daily) and to Nukus - Kungrad (3 times weekly), so it's also possible to travel to Khiva (30 kilometers from Urgench, taxi/bus available) or to the Aral lake (Moynaq, 70 km from Kungrad) by train.


ROUND TRIPS

I have also included some suggestions for round-trips by train:
Tashkent - Bukhara - Samarkand - Khiva - Tashkent in 9 days
Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara - Tashkent in 7 days
More details about round-trips


INTERNATIONAL TRAINS

International trains are available to Almaty in Kazakhstan, Moscow, Saratov, Volgograd, Ufa, St. Peterburg, Novosibirsk in Russia (so you can link to the Transsiberian railway).
From Almaty connecting trains are provided to Urumchi in China.

With only one change of trains in Moscow you can travel overland from Central and Western Europe (Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Helsinki, etc.) to Tashkent and v.v..
More details about international trains


With this website I want to make it easier for tourists to use rail services in Usbekistan. I myself travelled by train through Usbekistan and it was a great experience.

I hope you like the website. It is still under construction, and if you find a mistake or have any idea to improve something, please feel free to contact me: helmut.uttenthaler@gmx.at


Helmut Uttenthaler
Vienna - Austria






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18 comments:

arabella said...

thank you for the great website!!

Jojo said...

This is great information, thank you so much.

Do you think it is dangerous for a woman (late 20s) to travel alone in Uzbekistan, including trains? What is your opinion on the safety on trains in ex USSR in general?

I speak a little Russian, enough for very simple conversation.

(I simply can't find a woman friend who wants to travel in this part of the world at all, and I currently have no boyfriend.)

Esteban said...

I heard that some trains goes over to Turkmenistan border, so you need visa also for that country.
Is it true?

Helmut said...

Hi Esteban!
Only trains from Karshi to Termez go via Turkmenistan. For this you'll need a Turkmen transit visas and a 2-entry Uzbek visa.

But trains to Urgench (station for Khiva), Nukus, Kungrad etc don't go via Turkmenistan. Earlier they indeed went via Turkmenistan, but a new railway line avoiding Turkmen territory was opened in ~2003.
There are some older travel guide books with wrong information regarding that.

Trains between Tashkent, Samarkand and Buchara also don't go via a 3rd country.

However, trains to the Ferghana valley cross via Tajikistan.
For trips to the Fergana valley or to Termez a bus (or taxi) might be preferable to avoid additional visa hassle...

somyot said...

To Jojo: I've traveled by myself in Uzbekistan, & I found that it's generally safe (the trains were full of women & children).
I did get 3 men trying to break into my hotel room (1 succeeded, but he left without a ruckus after I told him to get out), but other than that people were very sympathetic.

Shamsul Yunos said...

Great website, please read my new blog on Malaysian trains

http://malaysiarailfan.blogspot.com/

smctiver said...

Thanks for great info on train travel in UZ. We will use your info for our trip planning. We will be primarily in Eastern Uzbekistan

Pedro said...

First of all, thank you for all the info you´ve included. I think is the best (if not the only one) page with complete UZ train info.

I am doing a research work regarding railway technologies and communication between Asia and Europe, and UZ is in the middle of it.

I have been looking for Sharq and Registan info. The only point is still pending (because I found nothing) is the signalling and control system used between Taskent and Samarkand... do you know something about that?

Thank you in advance!!

Helmut said...

Hi Pedro,
sorry for the reply. Unfortunately I don't know any technical details about the signalling system. Maybe someone can help you at the Russian forum at http://forum.railwayclub.info/index.php (You might ask your question also in English).
Greetings
Helmut

PS: Thanks to everyone for the kind feedback - I really appreciate it!

Rogelio said...

good blog
greetings from Spain

Darvesh said...

Hi Helmut, thank you for your very usefull and helpfull blog!!! But I have been checked your trips and there were no information about your trip to Uzbekistan? I am owner of travel agency in Uzbekistan and I would like to offer also for interested travelers my services too!! I can arrange your all required travel arrangements in uzbekistan, turkmenistan and tadjikistan!!! Thank you and confirm beeing at your disposal in case required any information and service arrangements. For more information about our services and info please visit our web at: darveshtours.com
Dilshod Azizov

Jan-Erik said...

Hi - great site - a lot of interesting stuff

carla said...

Hi Helmut

I am planning to go to Uzbekistan soon. I have a back problem and can't take the roads (they told me they ate not in very good conditions and it's bad for me if they are bumpy). So i was thinking of taking the train. Do you know how bumpy are the tracks? I am not expecting a smooth ride but if they are very bumpy, it will be bad for my back.Thanls in advance for your help!

Helmut said...

@Carla: Sorry for the late reply, I was travelling in summer (also to Usbekistan). The tracks are OK. At higher speeds it's not always the smoothest ride, but nothing really bad.

Market Research said...

Your blog is good source of knowledge as well as helpful for my Rail Transport Market Research and Development.

crane rail clips said...

what a great blog, i find it very interesting..the train looks good, they should not use trains that are already rusty..

Anonymous said...

Hello Helmut :)
Your article about trains in Uzbekistan has been some time ago, but nonetheless I wish to ask you something, in hope, you still have a look here sometimes ;-).

Someone already posted the question, if it is safe to travel alone as a woman, I am especially concerned about night trains, since some people do not recommend that for women traveling alone.

What is your opinion about that? The alternative wouls be to take a plane (samarkand-urgench), but the plane arrives so late in the afternoon, whereas the train is already arriving at 10am. That's why I am wondering, if it is a problem for a woman alone in the night train?

Thank you!
Jacqueline

Railway News said...

Thanks for your good informations..