Due to the administrative difficulties with Uzbekistan, the restrained funds of the national train company Kyrgyz Temir Joly and the mountainous terrain of the country, choices and alternatives for train travel in Kyrgyzstan are highly limited.
You might not find railway networks extending into neighbouring countries like Tajikistan or China.
Divisions Of The Kyrgyz Rail Network
The Kyrgyz railroad network is divided into-
- A northern part that extends from Bishkek to Balykchy on Lake Issyk-Kul.
- The southern part of the railways connects Andijon in Uzbekistan with Osh and Jalal-Abad in Kyrgyzstan.
Both the rail networks are unconnected.
Timetable and other rail info can be found on the railway website. However, it is always best is to check with the capital city Bishkek’s train station. Trains are surely not the fastest way to get around in Kyrgyzstan, but they are much more comfortable though and unquestionably tend to cost lesser than the other forms of local and international transport across the country.
Popular Rails In Kyrgyzstan-
The Moscow – Bishkek train:
The Moscow – Bishkek train travels to Kazakhstan, but not Uzbekistan.
The train also doesn’t pass Almaty.
However it goes directly to Taraz – Shymkent – Arys – Kyzyl Orda and then up to Aqtobe – Orenburg – Samara.
It arrives at Moscow Kazanski station around 3 days later.
Jalal-Abad – Andijon – Osh train:
The southern division of the Kyrgyz railroad network connecting Kyrgyzstan with Uzbekistan is not functional since the Bloody Revolution that took place in Kyrgyzstan in 2010.
Bishkek – Balykchy (Issyk-Kul) train:
It offers you an amazing scenic train ride through the mountain passes that end up at the western shore of Issyk-Kul lake. The train is slow and takes 5-6 hours to complete its journey, but it costs around 1$, which is around 10 times lesser than a marshrutka or taxi in Kyrgyzstan.
The train runs daily during summers, but not at all during winters.
Track Network and Rolling Stock
The Kyrgyz Rail network operates on around 320 km of single track lines which has a total track length of 428 kilometres. After the breaking of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyz Railways obtained a hike of 50 locomotives, 450 passenger cars and 2,500 freight cars from the Soviet railways.
Rail Links With Adjacent Countries
- Bishkek branch
- Osh branch
- China with a Break of gauge 1,520 mm and 1,435 mm
Electric Rail Lines
The Kyrgyz government in 2008 announced that the line which connects the capital city Bishkek with the Kazakhstan railway network will be completely electrified to reduce the use of depleting natural resources.