Friday 19 May 2017

Eastern Sleeper: Night Train from Kiev to Warsaw

I paid for my own train fare from Ukraine to Poland.

In June 2016 I caught the night train from Kiev, Ukraine to Warsaw, Poland.

This was a full overnight journey (and then some). I boarded at 16:48 at Kyiv-Passazhyrsky station and alighted at 09:10 the next morning at Warszawa Centralna.

It was what you might call old-school European train travel. I'd paid extra to have a 'single', ie the whole compartment to myself.

My bunk was in a sealed sleeper car (with no connection with the rest of the train, and no dining car). My carriage attendant was an impressively tall Ukrainian woman with no English who made me a cup of tea while I dined on sandwiches bought at the station in Kiev.

Then there were the theatrics along the way. A couple of hours waiting at the border in the dim pre-dawn light while Ukrainian border guards searched for smuggled cigarettes, and loud clanking sounds accompanied the adjustment of the train's wheels from the Ukrainian to Polish gauge. Loads of atmosphere!

Despite all this I did get some sleep, and attendant Natasha as I came to think of her (I never did get her name) happily posed for a photo on the platform at Warsaw.

I heartily recommend the Kiev-Warsaw sleeper or its shorter Krakow-Lviv counterpart if you yearn for a little of that old-fashioned night train travel with a dash of intrigue.

Here's a selection of photos I took on the journey:



As it's not possible yet to book these trains online, a reliable service I'd recommend to book these services ahead on your behalf is Polrail. Bon voyage! Or as the Ukrainians say, Щасливої подорожі!

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