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Off into Ukrainian Airspace: MUC-LWO-BUD with Lufthansa and Ukrainian Railways Sleepe

Off into Ukrainian Airspace: MUC-LWO-BUD with Lufthansa and Ukrainian Railways Sleepe

Old Jul 6, 16, 3:28 pm
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Off into Ukrainian Airspace: MUC-LWO-BUD with Lufthansa and Ukrainian Railways Sleepe

Last April I was travelling to Lvov in Western Ukraine.
This report focuses on my travel. In order to get to Ukraine, I took the plane (Lufthansa Cityline from Munich).
In order to get back into Schengen Europe I have opted to travel on the through sleeper car between Lvov and Budapest.

For those who hate trains - well, there might be better trip reports in this forum.

Here is the video of the scenic sleeper car train trip between Lvov and Budapest:





Let us start in Munich, Germany:

Mocktail at Senator Lounge at the H-gates - the new satellite terminal is not open, yet:






Appron view:





We were bussed to the plane for our brief trip (1 hour and 30 minutes) to Lvov.
Lufthansa Cityline operates a Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-900 (registration: D-ACKC, delivered July 2006).







Load is around 30% - very empty:





The windows were very dirty, making it difficult for me to take decent photos:

Taking off from Runway 08R - seeing the older MUC Terminal 1:





Non-BOB drink and food:





High Tatra Mountains of Slovakia (I almost missed them)





Border area between Poland and Ukraine; I have noticed lots of crossing traffic on the Polish side; In that sense I assume these are
all the commercial planes who avoid transiting through Ukrainian airspace:





Lvov urban sprawl comes into sight:





Super expensive and underutilized soccer stadium for the Euro Cup 2012:





Approaching Runway 31 of Lvov Airport:





Taxiing to the terminal:





Gate arrival without a gate:









Lvov Airport - landside (immigration and customs checks were painless and super quick):





Departure board - only very few flights a day:





New airport - outside:




Let us turn to the train ride between Lvov and Budapest. Although both cities are merely 271 miles apart,
the journey takes almost 14 hours. Once a day two direct sleeper cars connect Lvov and Budapest. These
sleeper cars are owned and operated by Ukrainian Railways Ukrzaliznytsia (UZ).
You cannot book the ticket online. I bought the tickets in Germany with Deutsche Bahn. It is actually three tickets: the ticket for the Ukrainian portion
between Lvov and Zahony(Gr) plus the ticket for the Hungarian portion between Zahony(Gr) and Budapest plus the sleeper car supplement reservation.
Alltogether I paid around EUR 70.

The journey starts at Lvov Railway Station. The current station building was completed in 1904, albeit the station itself was opened in 1861.
This station marks the center point of the Galician Railway of Archduke Charles Louis (k.k.priv. Galizische Carl Ludwig-Bahn). Archduke Charles Louis of Austria
was the younger brother of the Kaiser Franz-Josef of Austria.
Historically the city of Lvov belonged to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Later it was handed back and forth between Poland, Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
Since 1991 Lvov belongs to the Ukraine.





Some trains at Lvov railway station during the daytime:






The through sleeper cars to Budapest are carried by the domestic long-distance train D81 'Desna' (Kiev - Ushgorod)
between Kiev and Chop, the border town.
Here is the timetable of the direct sleeper through car Kiev-Budapest:





Train D81 'Desna' Kyiv - Ushgorod at Lvov Railway Station:







Direct sleeping car Lvov - Budapest; I had reserved a berth on the Kiev - Budapest direct sleeper:





The sleeper berth cabin:





Galley of the sleeper car Kiev - Budapest at sunrise:





Sleeper car cabin at sunrise:









Some sad reminder about the War in the Eastern Ukraine:





One of the highlights of the journey is the passing of the Carpathian Mountain Range.
The line is called the Archduke Albrecht Railway (Erzherzog Albrecht-Bahn). The section between Lvov
and the border town of Chop was completed in 1887, being built by the Austrian Railways (k.k. Staatsbahnen).
The line has a length of 256 km. Still the train D81 takes 5 hours and 23 minutes.
The Beskyd Tunnel marks the highest point in the Carpathian Mountains of the Archduke Albrecht Railway.

Lavochne Railway Station on the Archduke Albrecht Railway:





Archduke Albrecht Railway - North of the Beskyd Tunnel Pass:











Just leaving the Beskyd Tunnel (at one point in the early 20th century this tunnel marked the border between the Soviet Union (north)
and Hungary (south). The Beskyd Tunnel (opened in 1886) is 1,764 meters long - again, the highest point of the line





Archduke Albrecht Railway - South of the Beskyd Tunnel Pass:













Exploring a domestic Ukrainian Kupe sleeping car:






We are getting closer to the Ukrainian border town of Chop.
After stopping at the station, the Ukrainian border service collects our passports.
Immediately afterwards our sleeper car is shunted on the boogie gauge changing facility.
The wheels need to be changed. The track gauge of Ukraine (1,520 mm) and Hungary (1,435 mm) is different.
This due to the fact that the Russian Czar feared an invasion of Western powers into the Russian Empire.
Due to the various wars in the 20th centuries the track gauge was changed many times on the Archduke Albrecht Railway.


Gauge changing facility in Chop, Ukraine:







The blue poles are lifting up the sleeper cars about 2 meters in order to change the boogies.









Chop railway station (you can notice that both 1,520 boogies and 1,435 boogies can be used on this track).
After a wait of more than 3 hours, the border service agents handed back our passports.





A diesel locomotive will carry both sleeper cars over the border to Zahony, the Hungarian border town. The line is heavily guarded by Ukrainian soldiers.











Last glimpse onto Ukrainian soil (Slava Ukrayini! Heroyam slava!):





The middle of the bridge over the Tisza River marks the border between Ukraine and Hungary.





Arriving in Zahony - border station in Hungary. Our passports were very quickly checked.







Major railway line between Zahony and Budapest has been modernized at many sections:





After almost 14 hours we have arrived at Budapest Nyugati pu railway station.
This is our Ukrainian sleeper car:





The two Through sleeper cars (one from Kiev, another one from Lvov) are shunted away:





This Hungarian Intercity train has carried our through sleeper car between Zahony and Budapest:





Budapest Nyugati pályaudvar railway station:





Here is again the full video about the trip Lvov-Budapest:





All my trip reports on FT:

CFR Calatori Bucharest - Istanbul in F

United Boeing 777-200ER Houston - Newark in C

Air Caraibes Airbus A350-900 Guadeloupe - Paris in Y

United Boeing 787-9 Los Angeles - Houston in C

United Boeing 777-200ER Amsterdam - Houston in Y+

United Boeing 777-200ER Singapore - Hongkong in C

Swiss Railways Lötschberg Mountain Line Bern - Brig in F

EuroNight Jan Kiepura Cologne - Warsaw in Sleeper Cabin

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-80 Singapore - New Delhi in Upper Deck Y

China High Speed Rail Shanghai - Xiamen in F

Empty Finnair Airbus A350-900 Helsinki - London Heathrow in Y+ and AY Lounge Sauna

Caledonian Sleeper Train Inverness - London Euston in Sleeper Cabin

Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER Montreal - Cancun in Y+

Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER Cancun - Toronto in Y

Finnair Airbus A350-900 Helsinki - Shanghai in Y+

British Airways Boeing 777-300ER London - Shanghai in Y

TUI Airlines Nederland Boeing 787-8 Sint Maarten - Curacao in P

TUI Airlines Nederland Boeing 787-8 Curacao - Amsterdam in P

Asiana Boeing 747-400 Combi Tokyo - Seoul in F

Iberia Airbus A340-600 London - Madrid in Y

Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Toronto - London in Y

ANA Boeing 777-300ER Singapore - Tokyo in C

French TGV High Speed Train: Barcelona - Paris in F

China High Speed Rail Guangzhou - Shanghai Hongqiao in Y

Ukraine Railways Kiev - Budapest in Sleeper Cabin

Five Star Alliance Lounges: LHR

Four OneWorld Lounges: HKG

TBIT Star Alliance Lounge: LAX

Virgin Trains West Coast London - Glasgow in F



Enjoy!

Last edited by warakorn; Jun 29, 17 at 9:19 am
warakorn is offline  
Old Jul 7, 16, 3:45 am
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A great trip report, thanks! It was fascinating to read not only about the history of the western part of Ukraine, and of course get a peek at a Ukrainian sleeper!
ABax is offline  
Old Jul 7, 16, 4:31 am
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Very very interesting. thanks!
jpetekYXMD80 is offline  
Old Jul 7, 16, 10:25 am
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Very nice trip report!
Iamspecialized is offline  
Old Jul 7, 16, 12:29 pm
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Great report! I would be interested in doing the opposite trip. Want to make it back to Budapest, and would love to see parts of Ukraine.

Interesting that you note that tickets could be bought through DB. Do you know if non-Germans can do that? When I have looked into trains in Central/Eastern Europe in the past I have been discouraged by lack of consistent information and resources. Working through DB as a broker would make that a lot easier.
arlflyer is offline  
Old Jul 7, 16, 3:10 pm
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Very enjoyable and different TR - I quite fancy that trip myself now
our_kid is offline  
Old Jul 8, 16, 9:08 am
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Cool report! Thank you for sharing. The train looks awful. I forgot when was the last time I took one but nothing changed for the past 10-15 years :-)
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Old Jul 8, 16, 2:54 pm
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Great report, good detail. I particularly liked the first person point of view - that one where you can look down the tracks.
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Old Jul 11, 16, 3:33 am
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Interesting that you note that tickets could be bought through DB. Do you know if non-Germans can do that? When I have looked into trains in Central/Eastern Europe in the past I have been discouraged by lack of consistent information and resources. Working through DB as a broker would make that a lot easier.
These are some of my recommendations for booking trains.

- Tickets for domestic journeys within the Ukraine or from Ukraine to Russia or Belarus, I highly recommend http://booking.uz.gov.ua/ (very easy to use system)
- Tickets for domestic journeys within Russia or from Russia to the EU, I point to pass.rzd.ru (complicated to use; but you do not have to pay commission)
- Tickets for journeys from Hungary -> http://elvira.mav-start.hu/elvira.dl...dex?language=2

Deutsche Bahn (German railways) reservation system can issue tickets for a lot of journeys (also between countries, not touching Germany). However, the reservation agent often cannot properly handle the reservation system.
That's why these to agencies in Germanys: Gleisnost http://www.gleisnost.de and Bahnagentur Schöneberg bahnagentur-schoeneberg.de most often can issue tickets for very exotic routes.
warakorn is offline  
Old Jul 11, 16, 4:21 pm
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Thanks for the info and resources! I'll definitely check those out next time I'm headed over that way.
arlflyer is offline  
Old May 24, 17, 5:48 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn
Historically the city of Lvov belonged to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Later it was handed back and forth between Poland, Soviet Union and Nazi Germany
Seriously?
Historically Lvov belonged to the Austrian-HUngarian Empire for 120 years.
To whom did Lvov belong for 500 years before that?

Last edited by abeyro; May 24, 17 at 5:54 am
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Old May 25, 17, 3:11 am
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Lvov belonged to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire (Habsburg Monarchy) between 1804 to 1918.
The mentioned railway line between Lvov and Chop was built during the reign of Austria-Hungary.
Could you specify to me why Lvov only belonged to Austria-Hungary only for a couple of days.
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