|Afrosiyob High Speed Train at Tashkent Station|
Schedule (Timetable) of High Speed Trains Between Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara (as in January 2017)
Train Numbers 759 and 760
This train runs daily between Tashkent and Samarkand starting its journey in the morning with number 760 from Tashkent at 7.00am and reaching Samarkand at 9.08am. In the evening, this train operates with number 759 and starts its journey from Samarkand at 6.00pm and reaches Tashkent at 20.08pm.
Train Numbers 761 and 762
This train runs daily between Tashkent and Bukhara and stops at Samarkand on its way. The morning train operates with number 762 and starts from Tashkent station at 8.00am. It reaches Samarkand station at 10.08am. After a five minute stop there, it continues its journey to Bukhara where it reaches at 11.47am. The evening service operates with the number 761 and starts from Bukhara at 15.21pm and reaches Samarkand at 4.55pm. After a five minute stop, it again starts for Tashkent and reaches its destination at 7.10pm.
Fares and Where To Book
The official website for booking of etickets on the Afrosiyob trains is: http://eticket.uzrailway.uz/?lang=en
The official schedule (timetable) of Afrosiyob trains can be seen at this website: http://eticket.uzrailway.uz/timetable/timetable.html
But there is a problem. This official site rarely works. I have tried to access the site from India several times but never succeeded. The alternative available for the international tourists is to search on Google and get the info and booking from the websites of travel agents.
There are three passenger classes on Afrosiyob trains - VIP, Business, and Economy. The visible fares again are quoted by the agents because the official website is not accessible. However, during my trip in January 2017, the fare printed on my Tashkent <--> Samarkand tickets (purchased by my agent in Uzbekistan) was 58,000 Som for Economy and 78,000 Som for Business Class. Trying to convert these fares into a foreign currency such as US Dollar is a tricky business. A travel agent buying a ticket for you locally in Uzbekistan will pay in Uzbeki Som (UZS). The unofficial or market exchange rate between USD and UZS was 6700 in January 2017 (6700 Som for every USD) whereas the official exchange rate was close to 3300 Som for every USD. You can read more about the best money exchange rates in Uzbekistan here. Just be careful how much you pay to an agent for booking an Afrosiyob ticket for you.
Facilities on Afrosiyob Trains
|Afrosiyob Train Economy Coach|
The trains are comfortable A.C. chair cars, with the 2x2 configuration in Economy and 2x1 configuration in Business Class. The doors are automatic, and the toilets are modern and clean. At the train stations, the tickets and passport of foreign tourists are checked before entry to the stations. Railway staff again check tickets at the door of the coach and therefore, there is no ticket checking inside the train.
|Snack and Tea On Board Afrosiyob Train Uzbekistan|
Each ticket includes a small paper cup of black tea and a snack which is a cream filled bun. This bun contains eggs and hence is not suitable for vegetarians. Other snacks, coffee with milk, etc. can be purchased from the catering staff. Be careful about the prices quoted by the staff on this train. For a small water bottle, the charged me 3000 Som. Later my friend on the other seat bought the same water bottle from them at 2000 Som. We confronted them and they returned the extra 1000 Som. It is a shame that such a thing happened on an otherwise professionally run train service. By the way, this over-pricing and over-charging scam was going on at the Tashkent International Airport too.
It is a bumpy ride even when the train is going slow because the coaches are light-weight and the train does not carry too many people. During most of the journey the train operated at a speed of around 150 km/h. Only briefly it touched 219 km/h. There are LCD displays in the train that continuously show the train speed and ambient temperature. There is a separate dining car in the train but I did not see many people going there.
|Samarkand Railway Station|
Be Careful How Much You Pay and Try To Book In Advance
I can see that the fares quoted by some of the agents' websites online are outrageously high. Do a comparison and try to find a good deal. Because the official booking site may not work and/or may not be able to sell tickets to foreigners, you need to know that the tickets on Afrosiyob trains are best booked a few days in advance.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|