Kiev Train System
Train classification in Ukraine differs from the European one. Carriages and cabins do not have the usual European or American traveler amenities.
These are the best trains, usually going overnight between large regional centers of the country. These trains make quite a few stopovers en-route, have carriages of good quality and service. Express trains usually have 1st, 2nd and 3rd class carriages. Some of these trains include 1st class carriages for peak seasons, and exclude them for the rest of the year. Express train numbers are numbered from 001 to 149.
These are very slow trains, making numerous stopovers. Traveling might take up to 30 hours for long-distance routes. The quality of a train depends on a route and may vary from good to barely acceptable. As a rule, these trains have 2nd, 3rd and 4th class carriages. Passenger train numbers are numbered from 171 to 699.
There are two sorts of these trains: electric and diesel. The trains travel within a region's limits or between two regions close to each other. The quality of the trains is very low and the trains are extremely slow. They are usually overcrowded, especially in summer, and have no sleeping berths. Short distance travel might take up to 6 hours, while going by car would cut the time in half.
Carriage classification in Ukraine differs from European standards. There are 5 types of carriages on the trains in Ukraine: SW (sleeping wagon), Coupe, Platzcart, Common Wagon (with numbered reserved seats), Sit Up (on suburban trains).
1st Class Sleeper (SV)
This is the best type of carriage in Ukraine. Every carriage has 9 cabins, 2 berths in each cabin. Beneath the lower berth's is a box for luggage, which can accommodate 1-2 medium bags. Bigger storage for luggage is in the niche above the door. There is a small unfolding table by the window. Every cabin has a door lock and can be locked from inside.
There are two models of 1st class cabins:
- with horizontal berths (two berths on the same level)
- with vertical berths (one berth is above another, those cabins usually have a wash-stand under unfolding table lid)
Each carriage has WCs with wash-stands, 2 per each carriage. 1st class cabins are air-conditioned in the summer time. Air-conditioning is functioning while the train engine is working. Therefore it might be rather hot in the first hour or so of the trip and when the train is making stopovers. One or two stewards serve every carriage.
2nd Class Sleeper (Coupe)
2nd class is usually an acceptable type of carriage. The quality depends on the train. Each carriage has 9 cabins, each cabin has 4 berths - 2 lower and 2 upper ones. There are boxes for luggage below the lower berths. Bigger storage for luggage is in the niche above the door. There is a small unfolding table by the window. Every cabin has a door lock and can be locked from inside. 2nd class cabins in Express trains are usually air-conditioned. Each carriage has WCs with washing-stands, 2 per each carriage. One or two stewards serve every carriage.
3rd Class Sleeper (Platzcart)
Not the best choice. Each carriage has 54 berths, among which 36 berths are of the normal type (in cabins) and 18 side located (along the passageway). Berths are in two levels. Cabins have no doors. There are boxes for luggage below lower level berths in cabins, and small luggage niches. Under the upper level berths there are small berths for storing the luggage. Each carriage has WCs with washing-stands, 2 per each carriage. One or two stewards serve every carriage. In spite of very low quality of 3rd class carriages, they are popular in Ukraine, the reason is their low tickets price.
4th Class (Common Wagon)
Totally un-acceptable option. Actually, this is a 3rd class carriage, for which tickets are sold without assigning exact berth numbers (or just with symbolic number of a seat ).