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Passengers get trains back

Opening of borders with Kazakhstan allowed resuming railway passenger transportation with Kyrgyzstan
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On June 6, Russian Railways and Kyrgyz Railways resumed passenger rail services. Three international trains returned to the schedule in early June. All previously introduced COVID-19 sanitary restrictions for citizens of Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan entering the territories of the countries were lifted, and the PCR testing is no longer required. 

"The opening of the service was facilitated by an improved epidemiological situation in Russia, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, which made it possible to open borders at the entry points," says Nikolai Kostenko, Head of Russian Railways' Passenger Transportation Department. 

In total there are three trains were returned to the schedule composed by Kyrgyz Railways with no more than 17 compartment and couchette coaches in each". 

A group of coaches in direct service between Bishkek and Kazan as part of two-group train No. 114/113 Almaty/Bishkek - Kazan departing once a week from Bishkek and Kazan were the first to go on this international route on June 6. Then, from June 8, train No. 17/18 Bishkek - Samara, departing twice a week, will start operations. Beginning from June 9, train No. 385/386 Bishkek - Novosibirsk, departing from Bishkek and Novosibirsk once every eight days, will return to the schedule.

"Tickets for the trains are already on sale," notes Nikolai Kostenko.

Ticket fares are available on the official website of Russian Railways. It varies depending on the train's point of departure and the coach class. The travel time is 31 hours.   

It should be noted that all previously introduced sanitary restrictions for citizens of the Russian Federation and Kyrgyzstan (associated with the COVID-19 pandemic) at the entry into the the countries were removed, and PCR testing is no longer required.

However, account should be taken of the fact that trains will be transiting through the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where the COVID restrictions will be lifted on June 8. Prior to this date, a certificate of PCR testing with a negative result valid for no more than three days was required to enter Kazakhstan, or, alternatively, a passport (certificate) of a complete course of COVID-19 vaccination or revaccination (with no more than six months expired after the last dose).

The international train service between Russia and Kyrgyzstan was temporarily suspended on March 17, 2020, by a notice from Kyrgyz Railways. According to Russian Railways, almost 21 thousand passengers were transported on the Russia - Republic of Kyrgyzstan route in 2019.

Tickets, fares and train schedule are available on Russian Railways' official website.

Sergey Volkov

10 june 2022

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