1
season
174
day
18248
km
Lost between infantile and senile, travelling around the world never to find the age of reason.
A Turan Express coach
A Turan Express coach
The map: the ex-USSR railway network today.
The map: the ex-USSR railway network today.
The station seen from the pedestrian bridge over the railway
The station seen from the pedestrian bridge over the railway
The wall along the railway next to the station
The wall along the railway next to the station
Local inspiration from the real life...
Local inspiration from the real life...
Graffiti on the railway wall
Graffiti on the railway wall
The square and Bishkek II railway station
The square and Bishkek II railway station
The desert platform, view to the east
The desert platform, view to the east
The desert platform, view to the west
The desert platform, view to the west
Kyrgyzstan railway 'network'
Kyrgyzstan railway 'network'
Bishkek II: The station
Bishkek II: The station
The square outside the station
The square outside the station
The waiting room, with a large map of the railway network in the ex USSR countries
The waiting room, with a large map of the railway network in the ex USSR countries
The Eagle, a national symbol
The Eagle, a national symbol
Kyrgyzstan railway 'network'
day
93
Kyrgyzstan Monday 27 August 2012 at 13:57
Posted in Season 1
Kyrgyzstan: a Train Fan Disappointment

While travelling to lake Issyk Kul, I had notice the rail track along the road. On my way back, I saw a passenger train circulating. This tickled my curiosity. What’s the railway situation in Kyrgyzstan? To find the answer, I decided to visit the station in the capital: Bishkek-2.

The station itself is a decent building. The main hall has six ticket windows, four of which where open when I visited. It was all very quiet. Hardly anyone, not much activity. I went to the only platform. No traffic. There were a few coaches parked on the secondary tracks.

Back to the main hall, I tried reading the many papers posted on the walls. All in Cyrillic, I didn’t understand much, but I could only find out about the Bishkek-Moscow train. According to the Wikipedia article on Bishkek, there are only one train to Balikchi (by the lake Issyk Kul, the train I saw) and long distance trains to Almaty, Moscow and Siberia.

I then went to the waiting room and discovered a huge railway map of the ex-USSR. Stunning. A combined map and train lover like me is in heaven in front of such a wonder. I tried to get a good picture but the light was very low, and there was no point flashing because of the covering plastic. Focussing on Kyrgyzstan, I found out why the station is so quiet. There are only two bits of railway in the country. One coming from Kazakhstan to Bishkek and ongoing to Balikchi. The other one coming from Uzbekistan and reaching Osh in the south. That’s it! It’s perfectly understandable when you know the topography of the country: 95% are mountains… Transportation in general is difficult here.

Browsing the map to the extend of Siberia and western Russia was fascinating. I could have spent hours looking at it. With the names in Cyrillic and a few close-up insets on the main cities (including Moscow), the map is big, and rich in details.

If you want a higher resolution of the map, get in contact with me!

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