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The train from Ankara to Tehran runs once a week. I was unable to get a ticket from outside Turkey and it seems it is fully booked for weeks. What are the chances that a place in the sleeping cars becomes available on the morning of departure and in such case, can I get on the train at the last minute without buying a ticket in advance?

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I don't know how you could check their availability because as I know there is not online booking option for those lines or if there is, it must be very weak and unreliable. Let me know if you checked in Internet or an agency.

Another point, there are also buses going to Tehran from Turkey, mainly from Istanbul but I'm sure there are some from Ankara. Why not using them instead, if the trains are really full. They go faster than train however some parts of the road are freaky (you are the only car in the street and as long as eyes work there is still road to go). I took the path from Istanbul to Tehran (twice, both in winter), it took ~36 hours to reach Tehran. I can say it was memorable but I'm not sure if I try it again. :)

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I met someone who tried to take the train a few weeks ago. At the stations in Turkey he was told the train was fully booked for weeks ahead. I rather not take the bus, sleeper on the train is much more comfortable. –  Peter Hahndorf May 4 at 18:38
    
I don't know really, seems odd. There must be some empty seats in those trains. This should be the one you are mentioning in the Turkish national railway website; tcdd.gov.tr/tcdding/ortadogu_ing.html / There is an Email address down there maybe it worth asking them. Also please look at the travel detail once more; it takes almost 60 hours with some stops which last even some hours. :) –  Hatef May 4 at 19:28
    
I'm not travelling to get somewhere quickly but to enjoy the trip and I prefer 60 hours on a train broken up by a ferry ride to 30 hours on a bus. Thank you for your input. –  Peter Hahndorf May 5 at 18:55

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