In this page I’m going to tell you what type of classes exist in Ukrainian trains and which one is the best for your journey.
There are following classes in Ukraine railway train system:
Long distance and night trains:
SW (СВ) – 1st class, sleeper;
Coupe (Купе) – 2nd class, sleeper;
Platzkart (Плацкарт) – 3rd class, sleeper;
Seater (Сидячий) on day time fast trains.
NOTE, that Ukrainians use class names (e.g. Coupe, Platzkart) and not 1st, 2nd class indications.
The same applies in ticket office.
Suburban trains (Elektrychkas):
1st, 2nd and 3rd class (common). Let’s begin with long distance and night trains as you will mostly use them travelling between main destinations and big cities.
As distances in Ukraine are pretty long (e.g. Lviv-Kyiv 600 km, Kyiv-Simferopol 900 km)and journey takes usually more than 8 hours, slepeer is essential.
Thus almost every train in is equipped with sleeper train cars which can be divided in the following way:
SW (СВ) – 1st class
…where one compartment is shared by two people. Sleeping benches are located on the side one above another oppose to water sink while bathroom is common for the whole wagon (train car).
Cost of SW ticket is almost 3 times higher than next Coupe (2nd class) which is absolutely unreasonable as for me.
Plane tickets can be bought for the same price or if you really want to go by train and feel private, it’s cheaper to buy all 4 tickets in coupe compartment 2nd class carriage.
Coupe (Купе) – 2nd class
Pretty decent choice and the most popular among travelers and business people travelling from one place to another. One compartment with four sleeping benches and one table in the middle. It is separated with a door from the coridoor and there is enough place to store your luggage inside.
Costs are almost never more than 200 UAH (18 EUR) for the longest train ride possible and it’s a good choice travelling a company out of four people. Bathroom is common for pasengers of the whole carriage.
Platzkart (Плацкарт) – 3rd class
If you want to have fun, see what real Ukraine train ride is, take platzkart.
This is a real hostel dorm on wheels with open space and sleeping benches all around. You will hear the guy snorring, baby crying, some friendly chap will offer you a drink while conductor (train stewardess)will serve passengers with a tea.
I personally love platzkart because there is always a chance feel local flavour and have fun.
Costs are also people friendly making it the best choice for backpackers.
Common (Загальний) – 4th class
It is the same platzkart wagon but without seat resevations. It means that everybody coming on board will stay inside.
Just once in my life took that ticket because there was no alternative and I finally finished on the third floor bench occupying place for luggage.
It’s very unlikely somebody will hop on Common wagon because they are endangered species already.
Seater (Сидячі місця)
Recently Ukraine train system started improving by adding few express fast trains connecting Kyiv and some big cities with day time seater trains.
They connect Kyiv with Lviv, Krarkiv and Dnipropetrovsk in 5-6 hours.
Cost for such places are the same as for platzkart and makes it a good values for money as well.
Suburban trains (Elektrychkas) – Електрички
Elektrychkas serve on short distances connecting main Ukraine train hubs with surrounding villages and towns.
Longest rides are usually limited to a few hundred kilometers and only seater places are available.
1st and 2nd clases are usualy equiped with soft seats while the 3rd class (on photo) consist of wooden benches and tickets are sold without seat numbers.