Train Travel in KZ

I am curious about train travel in KZ. Most of the info is in Russian, and is not translated online into English.

Most of us are curious about it too ... however, my relatives have banned me from undertaking any train journeys here, again preferring to drive rather than going by train.

Perhaps if you are an inveterate trainspotter, then it may hold some interest ...

Because of the great distances, the trips tend to take around 24 hours to get anywhere (it kinda explains why Air Astana has a vice-hold on flights here).

One niece does use it to get from Novosibirsk to Ust-Kamenogorsk and back, but only when her father cannot drive the 2 400km twice round trip to bring her back ...

I use the trains a lot and find the journeys ok, although it does take time to get to places. I travel from taraz to Almaty and often take the night train arriving in Almaty at 9am. So far it has been a good experience.
There is so website in English but you will have to book your ticket either at a travel agent it at the railway station. Look for kazakhstani railways in google.

For me, train travel is a great cultural experience in KZ. It does tend to be slow but I like the chance to drink tea and eat dumplings and reflect on life while cruising the countryside. Most trains have 3 classes, Lux, Kope, and Pluscard.

There are "Spanish trains" aka the Talga that is an express train, much smaller cabins but get you there in half the time most journeys.

Lux is two people to a cabin, kope is four, and pluscard is just rows of beds. Some trains are a lot nicer than others, for example, I have been on some Mangastau trains that are extremely modern and updated. On the other hand some older have trains have been old and a bit ugly, however, life on the train is comfortable and relaxing. It can be a crapshoot regarding bunkmates, you might get drunk guys or crying babies and they mix it coed with no real rhyme or reason. So I know some female travelers have needed to exercise caution.

Kazakh families on the train if I am alone have adopted me for many journeys making sure I am well fed and drinking enough tea.

Travel between cities via car is my last choice for mode of transport in general and that goes for the majority of Kazakhs that I have met. However, this depends on the road. For example, Astana to Kokshetau, 8 lane highway and super fast and efficient, I prefer taxi over the train for this journey, same for the Karaganda to Astana trip. However, Akobe to Uralsk, on a map it looks like 4 hours but can take 10 or 12 due to the road conditions. Many of the northwest roads are like this, however, it is improving. Aktobe to Orenburg Russia is now a few hours shorter I guess because of road improvements. Consult those in the know before going by car and get a driver that works that road specifically who knows it well.

I'd suggest that you try to experience some things for yourself in KZ.  Some expats find so much wrong with everything here that I wonder why they even stay.

Also if you are an NIS teacher which I think you are, you have a DP and TL that should be in touch with you. Current teacher emails are also a great way of finding out about experiences in Kazakhstan specific to our schools and cities. If you need help facilitating this, let me know.