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Did anyone travel to Tajikistan from Moscow by train, using southern part of Trans-Siberian railway through Kazakhstan to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan rather than by hitch-hiking/shared-taxi usage through Ak-Baital pass to Murghab?

Are there any problems on that route?

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2 Answers 2

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Firstly, that's not where the Trans-Siberian railway goes. You'll need to disconnect and take the train from Nososibirsk down to Almaty (35 hours). From there you're out of luck, train-wise. You get a shared taxi or bus across the border from Almaty to Bishkek (it's very easy, the bus drops you off at the border, you cross, and it meets you on the other side).

From Bishkek, as you expect - you're going to need shared taxis. There is one train - from Bishkek to Lake Issyk-Kul, but it's slower than the bus (I tested it - took train one way and bus the other - bus is way faster).

Note that you'll need a permit to enter the Pamir area in Tajikistan, in addition to a visa.

The other way is to go down from St Petersburg through Volgograd, Astrakhan, across to Aktau/Beynou and through to Uzbekistan (specifically Kungrad) on Obshi - see my blog post on this last bit if you're interested. From there you'll train/shared taxi up to Tashkent, at which point you can get shared-taxis across to Dushanbe, then Khorog (1-2 days) and along to Murghab.

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Railway station in Dushanbe There is actually a direct train from Moscow to Dushanbe, at least in June 2014 when I was in Dushanbe. According to information on Caravanistan the train leaves Moscow at 12.08 and arrives in Dushanbe at 16.14 5 days later. They also write that you need several visa, in Addition to Russian and Tajik, a Kazakh transit visa, and a double-entry Uzbek visa. Depending on your nationality you may need fewer. No trains passed Dushanbe towards Pamir.

Route and times from Dushanbe to Moscow

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Interesting! Was the station new or anything? I'd just come from Uzbekistan when I was there (trains) and to Tajikistan there was basically no option, but I guess maybe it was the end of a rare route. I guess it's also not technically the trans-Siberian, then, as the OP was wondering. Does it follow the route they're describing it does it go through alternate major cities? I'm intrigued by the double-entry Uzbek, but can guess what dodgy bit it may go through to cause that ;) –  Mark Mayo Dec 3 at 11:42
    
The station was old, from Soviet times. I added a photo and also a photo of the display inside the station, it's a bit blurry but you may be able to make out the town along the route. –  Peter Hahndorf Dec 3 at 12:18
    
Cheers for the update. Looks fun :) –  Mark Mayo Dec 3 at 12:19
    
I think all five Soviet central Asian republic capitals had direct trains to Moscow, and they are all still running. Dushanbe seems to be the longest one. –  Peter Hahndorf Dec 3 at 12:23

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