Day 126: First class travel

Almaty Travel Blog

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The fast 'Spanish' train

Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Nicolas (France), Vladimir (Kazakhstan)

When I booked my train tickets almost all the trains to Astana were already full. The only train I could get was the expensive, first class, Spanish-built 'Talgo' train. Whereas the normal train takes nearly 21 hours to travel from Almaty to Astana, the Talgo does this trip in almost half the time. The reduced travel time easily made it worth the extra money.

Unlike regular trains a compartment in the Talgo only has 2 berths. Great if you are travelling as a pair, but as a solo traveller I actually prefer compartments with four people.

None too shabby, first class travel
It somehow feels safer when you have to go to the toilet and leave the train at a stop, to know that several pairs of eyes will watch your bags. Not that I had much to worry about theft on this train. The kind of people that can afford these kind of trains are not very interested in stealing from backpacks.
My room mate was an elderly man called Vladimir, who smelled of cigarettes and had more than a healthy interest in my work on my laptop. When our conversation had exhausted his English and my Russian vocabulary I switched on my laptop to work on my blog a little and edit some photos. For the rest of the journey Vladimir would look over my shoulder, following my every move with great interest.

The train itself was wonderful. I noticed how travelling on this train is a much more social event. On regular trains the restaurant carriage is usually empty, usually only staff eats at the restaurant.
Even the provodnitsas look better on this train!
On the Talgo there's both a bar and a restaurant and both were absolutely packed. Though it might have something to do with the fact that this is the only place on the train where you can smoke.

Our compartment had its own shower and toilet, now how cool is that? The beds were larger and more comfortable than in regular trains, although it has to be said that sleeping is more comfortable on the other trains. On a regular train you travel with speeds of no more than 50, 60 kilometres an hour, gently rocking along the uneven tracks. With the high speed Talgo you actually feel each and every bump on the tracks and the train had to brake hard quite often, which nearly caused me to fall out of bed.

That said, I slept perfectly, arriving the next morning in Astana wholly refreshed and ready to explore...

sylviandavid says:
I enjoyed reading this.... sounds like fun to travel first class....
Posted on: Sep 23, 2010
Biedjee says:
haha, compared to the 30-50 km/h reached by other trains in Central Asia that is definitely high speed! :-)
Posted on: Sep 22, 2010
ratu says:
Good entry!

But Talgo is not a High speed train, only reach 200-250Km/h
Posted on: Sep 22, 2010
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The fast Spanish train
The fast 'Spanish' train
None too shabby, first class travel
None too shabby, first class travel
Even the provodnitsas look better …
Even the provodnitsas look better…
photo by: Alfiya