Trip Reports & Reviews

Ukraine Sleeper Train: The World’s Slowest Train?

Noel

Noel Philips

I took a Ukraine Sleeper Train from Uzhgorod to Lviv, Ukraine! This train takes over 6 hours to cover just 120 miles, giving an average speed of just 20mph as it crawls across Ukraine. The quirkiest train I’ve ever taken!

Uzhgorod station was rebuilt in 2004 but still retains its charm despite being a modern building.

There isn’t much in the way of facilities here – just a large waiting room, and a bar that was closed. There are local shops and restaurants across the road though, where I was able to get a large pizza and two beers for less than £4.

The station serves trains to stations across the Transcarpathian region, as well as long distance trains to Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, Simferopol and Moscow, as well as Lviv.

As I waited for my train it soon got dark outside, and the station emptied out ahead of the two night trains heading for Kiev and Lviv.

As the train pulled in, I found my coach and showed my eTickets to the car attendant, or provodnitsa.

I boarded the train and headed down the corridor, where I was eventually able to get into my room, once this lady moved.

We soon pulled out of the station, right on time.

I woke up with my alarm at 5:30am, after getting around 5 hours sleep.

The provodnitsa was lovely, and despite the language barrier felt like my gran looking after me. In one of the strangest coffee services I’ve had, she bought a couple of different filter coffees and asked which I’d like. This coffee service seemed to have got lost in translation somewhat, as I was bought a pack of instant coffee and some hot water!

As we got closer to Lviv the sky started to get brighter and we cruised through the suburbs of towards the grand station of Lviv.

I booked my tickets for today’s ride on the Ukrainian railways website, which is pretty easy to use. Tickets go on sale 45 days out and you really do have to book as soon as they go on sale – as they sell out within a couple of days of going on sale.

This was a pretty cool ride across Ukraine. Taking trains in this part of the world is a great way to get immersed in the local way of life. I was incredibly surprised that every single train on the night I travelled was bang on time, to the minute. The rail service here seems to be incredibly efficient.