Two new touristic trains with sleepers and long stops for city excursions will start soon.
Touristic trains, which were started in cooperation with Ministry of Tourism and TCDD Tasimacilik will enrich with two new trains: Vangolu and Kurtalan.
After Touristic Dogu Express, which started service on Turkey’s most popular train route, having only sleeper wagons, giving long stops on way for city excursions, having much higher ticket fares compared to classic trains, there will soon be two similar train services. Touristic Vangolu Express which will start service on 8th of June on Ankara-Kayseri-Sivas-Malatya-Elazig-Van Lake and Touristic Kurtalan Express which will start service on 10th of June on Ankara-Kayseri-Sivas-Malatya-Diyarbakir.
Both trains will run during summer, departing weekly in both directions. Touristic Vangolu Express will depart from Ankara every Wednesday, from Tatvan every Saturday and Touristic Kurtalan Express will depart from Ankara every Friday and from Diyarbakir every Sunday.
With new trains, sleeper wagons will be excluded from classic overnight trains on these two routes. Similar to Dogu Express, Vangolu and Kurtalan expresses will only have standard coaches with only seats and couchettes with 4 berths/compartment starting from June.
New touristic trains contain clues about TCDDT’s long term strategy about overnight trains. It seems touristic trains will run during high season on that route and classic overnight trains will have only standard coaches and couchettes.
Both touristic trains will be open for both tour companies and individual travellers. Requests of tour companies already collected. Online tickets will be available, but not started yet.
The long stops for city excursions not announced yet. But there are many cities on way with several attraction points such as Kayseri, Sivas, Malatya, Elazig, Diyarbakir, Batman, Mus and Van Lake.
Cover photo: Steve Hobson ©
For solo travellers this is really bad news. I will no longer will be able to travel alone unless I buy four tickets and even then I will not have the comfort of a good bed, privacy (there are wibdows to the corridor in couchette cars) or a wash basin in my compartment. Especially since the travels east of Ankara are the longer ones. This is really sad, sad news.
Just to understand correctly: Why touristic train with sleepers is not an alternative?
Because the goal of a train for me is to travel from A(nkara) to B (wherever I have to be) in a comfortable and fast way. Trains in the east are already not the fastest way of traveling, but at least they were very comfortable, still cheap and fast enough. But having a train that stands still for hours in a station where I don’t have to be is just pointless for me, yes, even stressfull. If I want to visit something I will go there and spend a day or two, finding a nice place to stay and to eat, and by the way your site is an excellent way to find out how to get to most places. Usually for these smaller sights it is enough to visit them once, and not every time but with the touristical train, it will stop at that same place every time and loose many hours…
I don’t like group travels also, and I like beeing on my own. Having my own compartiment, sitting in my underwear, emptying a bottle of wine with some cheese and olives while watching beautiful landscapes go by: lovely. In Western Europe I often pay €150 per night train while flying could get me to the same place for €30 or so. I am sure that if TCDD would still be offering sleeping car in the regular trains and doubling the price they would still be full.
Couchettes are not comfortable enough for me. I used them a lot in western Europe when I was young but now I want a real bed and not share compartiment with unknown people (kids screaming, people who snore, people who want to sleep when I am awake and the other way round…). Only offering couchettes is just giving up on the solo travelers of the working and middle class (I’m very far from rich) and certainly business travelers.
For Erzurum and Kars I am looking forward to the Azeri train, even tough it will not run daily but it will at least be as fast as the Doğu ekspres and boast sleeping cars.
I agree. Currently there are 5 trains per week from Ankara to Diyarbakir and Kurtalan and 2 per week to Tatvan all conveying sleepers, which are ideal for solo travellers. Replacing these services with a once-weekly train (probably costing 10 times as much) is no real alternative. I can understand TCDD wanting to cash in on tourist revenue, but for normal passengers the result is much worse.
It’s exciting that you have introduced the touristic trains but taking the sleepers off the classics is I agree very sad. In 2019 we were looking forward to our trip to Kars on the classic in a sleeper but unfortunately our dates coincided with the introduction of the touristic which did not fit our timetable and therefore had to book a couchette instead of our long desired sleeper journey to Kars. Surely you must be able to maintain some sleepers on the classics… after all its no longer a classic without a sleeper!
I hope, what you meant by “you” is the train operator, TCDDT, not us, the rail journal, Rail Turkey. 🙂