Currently in Almaty, was planning on using the answers in Bishkek (or Almaty) to Novosibirsk next week to go to Novosibirsk, but have heard about this 'Talgo train' to Astana. It's meant to be overnight but I can't find a timetable or prices for it, just some un-cited references in Wikipedia. Can anyone help for this?
Talgo train has been operating in Kazakhstan since 2002 year, for now there are 5 trains in Kazakhstan, and the route Almaty - Astana is #0101ТЦ (TTZ), and, according to the most popular train schedule site in Russia, it goes every day.
According the official site of Kazakhs railways (sorry, only in Russian and Kazakh, to search, use
АЛМАТЫ 2(Almaty) to
АСТАНА(Astana)), the first available tickets for this are on August, 2nd.
And this site also claims that this train goes every day, so you can try to get last-chance-tickets (some tickets can be returned by people who change their minds about using this train).
There are other trains on this route, if you want to get to the Astana earlier than this variant.
I found this thread on tripadvisor: express train Almaty to Astana. Nothing official, but it may help.
In summary: as of 2008, there were two trains from Almaty to Astana in the winter.
- A “fast train” leaving around midday and taking 20 hours.
- An express train, officially called Tulpar, but in practice known as “Ispanski” (i.e. Spanish) or Talgo. This train leaves in the afternoon and takes only 12 hours.
There may be more trains in the summer. The train is most heavily booked on Sunday in the Almaty to Astana direction.
Seat 61 cites Chris Nuttall, who traveled in autumn 2009:
I departed Almaty 2 station at 19:28 on the daily Talgo overnight train to Astana (train number 1 / 2) and travelled in Platskartny which consisted of 4 berth compartments, the same as the 'Tourist class' on the Spanish railways own Talgo sleeper trains, rather than the usual Russian semi-open carriages. According to my sister, who lives in Almaty and has used this train on a number of occasions, this service has a reputation for arriving punctually, unlike many other trains in Kazakhstan.
The news suggest that this train is still operating.
Real Russia doesn't find this train every day; the first day after today on which it returns train 001 is 2011-08-01. (Could mean the train is full or they've run out of allotted seats.) Their price is about 3 times the price of the slower trains. It'll undoubtedly be much cheaper if you buy locally.