TRIVIA: What is the furthest you can travel all the way by train from London?

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It would probably be London (UK) to Pyongyang (North Korea). This can be done on just three trains (London to Paris then Paris to Moscow then Moscow to Pyongyang).

London (UK) to Dhaka (Bangladesh) can be done almost entirely by train. However it is necessary to cross the border between Serakhs (Turkmenistan) and Serakhs (Iran) by foot or by road as no passenger trains cross this border.
 

30907

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By the OP's definition, it has to be the far side of European Russia, a considerable way beyond Moscow.
 

MarcVD

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London (UK) to Dhaka (Bangladesh) can be done almost entirely by train. However it is necessary to cross the border between Serakhs (Turkmenistan) and Serakhs (Iran) by foot or by road as no passenger trains cross this border.
You don't need to go through Turkmenistan to go to Dhaka. You even can't. The right way is through the Zahedan (Iran) - Quetta (Pakistan) border crossing, presumably still served by two trains per month.
 
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Yes but you have to go through Turkmenistan in order to get to Iran in the first place. The Astara (Azerbaijan) to Astara (Iran) border crossing and railway line is still under construction. So the Serakhs (Turkmenistan) to Serakhs (Iran) method is the only possible way at the moment. Then once you are in Iran you can use the Zahedan (Iran) to Quetta (Pakistan) train service.
 

MarcVD

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You can go to Iran from Turkey. Seat61 says that a cross border service between Van and Tabriz has recently been restarted.

There are no passenger trains available to cross any Turkmen border, so you would need at least two short bus or taxi trips. The train Moscow Dushambe still crosses Turkmenistan but you are not allowed to get off the train.
 

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etr221

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You can go to Iran from Turkey. Seat61 says that a cross border service between Van and Tabriz has recently been restarted.
Wondering whether travel to Iran via Russia and the Caucasus is possible - there certainly are (or were) links, but whether borders are open, and whether there are services across them, I've idea.
 

etr221

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I actually came up with a itinerary for this trip. I did Japan via South Korea as well (ferries)
A not uncommon route for railers (non-fliers) used to be Trans-Siberian to Nakhodka (Not that far from Vladivostock, which was then closed to Westerners), whence there was a ferry to Yokohama in Japan - I see from the Seat 61 website it's now Sakaiminato in Japan to Vladivostok.
 

MarcVD

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Wondering whether travel to Iran via Russia and the Caucasus is possible - there certainly are (or were) links, but whether borders are open, and whether there are services across them, I've idea.
There once was a Moscow - Tehran direct train, via Sochi, Tbilissi, and Erevan. But its route is today severed in multiple places :

- In Abkhasia (separatist region of Georgia) the line is cut south of Sokhumi to the Georgian border ;

- And then it is cut again at the north border of Natchichevan (exclave of Azerbaïdjan) since they are at war with Armenia.

- The line is then cut for a third time at the south border, in the direction of Baku, but the train to Tehran doesn't go there, it goes south to Tabriz at Jolfa, where the break of gauge sits.

Today one can take a train to Baku and Astana, where rail infrastructure ends. That's the border between Azerbaïdjan and Iran. South of Astana, Iran is building a line that will reach Tehran, but it's still quite far from completion.
 
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However that Van (Turkey) to Tabriz (Iran) service requires you to take a ferry. So i am not sure whether that counts as it is not entirely by train.

There is a train service between Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan) and Tabriz (Iran) which currently operates. However this is not much use as Nakhichevan is an exclave of Azerbaijan so there is no link to the rest of the network. There are railway lines from Nakhichevan in to Armenia but these are disused as all borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan are shut.

A railway line is currently being built between Azerbaijan and Iran via Astara. So once this is completed it will be possible to travel from Moscow to Tehran entirely by train via Baku. Although i see MarcVD mentioned it is far from completion so who knows how long this will take to open. The trains from Turkey to Azerbaijan via Georgia are also due to start soon so using this route via Baku and Astara will also be another way to travel from Istanbul to Tehran eventually.

As previously mentioned there are trains in Turkmenistan from Ashgabat and then Tejen to Serakhs (TM side) where you can then travel the short distance across the border by road or by foot and take a train in Iran from Serakhs (IR side) to Mashhad and onward destinations in Iran. However only freight trains actually cross the border (perhaps one day passenger trains may operate.

The problem is (as MarcVD mentioned) getting to Turkmenistan by train. The network is linked up with the Uzbekistan network but no passenger trains cross the border (it seems that it is just freight that crosses it unfortunately). Interestingly this site - https://www.openrailwaymap.org/mobile.php? - shows some other lines that i didn't realise existed. It shows a second connection from Turkmenistan to Iran in the SW and also a direct crossing from Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan in the NW. I am not sure if any passenger trains cross these borders.
 

dutchflyer

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In EURope, as the OP asks for: any of its borders, esp. those around the Urals in Rossye. Beyond:as above, check seat61. Also Morroco is still reachable this way, by ferry from Spain, though, alas, the station in Tanger is now many miles from the replaced ferryport.
 

MarcVD

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There is a train service between Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan) and Tabriz (Iran) which currently operates. However this is not much use as Nakhichevan is an exclave of Azerbaijan so there is no link to the rest of the network.

...

The problem is (as MarcVD mentioned) getting to Turkmenistan by train. The network is linked up with the Uzbekistan network but no passenger trains cross the border (it seems that it is just freight that crosses it unfortunately).

Interestingly this site - https://www.openrailwaymap.org/mobile.php? - shows some other lines that i didn't realise existed. It shows a second connection from Turkmenistan to Iran in the SW and also a direct crossing from Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan in the NW. I am not sure if any passenger trains cross these borders.
Are you sure that the train from Tabriz to Nachichevan still operates ? I saw it on the iranian railways web site a few years ago and then it disappeared. Is it back, or have you been there recently ?

There are passenger trains crossing Turkmen borders, mainly from Moscow to various cities in Tadjikistan, but getting on or off those trains in Turkmenistan is not allowed.

The north south Khazakhstan - Turkmenistan - Iran railway was built for freight and does not serve and city of importance so there are no passenger trains at all.
 
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I visited Nakhichevan in March 2018 and there was a weekly service running between Tabriz (Iran) and Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan) using Iranian stock. There is very little information available and i wasn't even aware of whether or not it was running until i got there.

There is also a daily domestic service as well within Nakhichevan using Azerbaijani stock. I took a photo of the timetable board showing both the domestic and international train times to/from/within Nakhichevan which i will try and find.

This was in March 2018 so it could have changed now.

I have found this much more recent article here - https://en.trend.az/business/tourism/2881250.html - which was posted just after i visited which says there is a direct train continuing beyond Tabriz to Tehran and then Mashhad after that. When i visited it only went to Tabriz and terminated there.

Nakhichevan is a very interesting place to visit. It's quite different from the main part of Azerbaijan and they certainly aren't used to seeing tourists there.

The closure of the Armenia and Azerbaijan border certainly makes travelling in the region very difficult. There are so many closed railway lines because of this. Also you have the disputes in Artsakh and Abkhazia and South Ossetia which further complicates things.

Hopefully railway services around the Caucasus and Central Asia regions will gradually improve in the future.
 

MarcVD

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I have seen on some forum a few years ago that the grand plan of Turkish railways to replace the Van lake ferry crossing was to build a line from Kars to Natchichevan. I suppose that it implies to modify the gauge of the line from there to Jolfa in order to have standard gauge all the way...
 

etr221

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The line through Kars was originally built pre WW1 when the area was part of Russian Empire, as a 5' gauge line; and after integration with the rest of the Turkish system remained connected to the USSR network in Armenia. But that border is now closed; and there appears to be a new line branching off it, to a link with the Georgian system at Akhalkalaki - what the status of this is, I've no idea.

Looking at the map, a line from Kars to Natchichevan would not look at all likely... although one branching off the Erzerum-Kars line further west, to head towards Iran through Ağrı would seem a possibility (but that's pure speculation on my part).
 

37201xoIM

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While when I did it (in 2007), there was no railway across the Bosphorus in Istanbul so the (urban!) ferry might break the OP's criterion, it was possible to go Istanbul - Adana - Fevzipasa - Meydan Ekbez - Aleppo - Damascus, and until it ceased running you could continue on by the narrow-gauge Hedjaz railway once or twice a week to Amman (changing at Der'aa onto a Jordanian train). Beyond Amman there hadn't been a regular service for a long time, although some of the line southwards gets traversed by various tours from time to time; I don't think there is however contiguous track all the way to the port at Aqaba any more, let alone on the old alignment across the border into Saudi Arabia.

Not that any of this is in Europe...
 

MarcVD

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I was in Jordan in 2017 and had the chance to see preparation moves for one of those specials. Needless to say, it left me green with envy. But yes, there is still track continuity between Amman and Aqaba. North of Amman is another story.

And in 2015 I was in Israël and found back the remnants of the Haifa branch of the Hedjaz railway... including the bridges that have been blown up before the independance war in 1947.
 

Taunton

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The railways in Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, etc, are Soviet 5'0" gauge, while Iran is standard gauge, so nothing actually crosses the border by rail, which is probably the main reason why these routes have fallen into disuse. Road transport has taken over completely, generally with secondhand trucks from western Europe. The Azerbaijan-Armenia border is closed but in best Caucasian fashion through traffic just routes via third countries alongside.

Iran is wholly in Asia (likewise Turkmenistan etc), so outside the scope of the question.
 
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MarcVD

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You would be surprised by the volume of freight transported by rail in central asia. You see much more traffic than in some western Europe countries.

In caucasus, the state of disuse of the rail lines is mainly of political origins, with several borders blocked.

And, by the way, there is a sizeable goods traffic between Turkmenistan and Iran at Serakhs, despite the gauge change. Enough for them to decide to build a second border station and a new line for north south freight.
 

geoffk

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I was in Jordan in 2017 and had the chance to see preparation moves for one of those specials. Needless to say, it left me green with envy. But yes, there is still track continuity between Amman and Aqaba. North of Amman is another story.

And in 2015 I was in Israël and found back the remnants of the Haifa branch of the Hedjaz railway... including the bridges that have been blown up before the independance war in 1947.
Chris Tarrant has covered the remaining part of the Hedjaz Railway from Wadi Rum, Jordan to Haifa. It was shown on C5 this week but not sure if it was repeat. The Israeli part has been competely rebuilt as a standard gauge line. Chris had to walk through the border post and reach Beit She'an by road as, not surprisingly, Israel has no cross-border trains!
 

STEVIEBOY1

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It would probably be London (UK) to Pyongyang (North Korea). This can be done on just three trains (London to Paris then Paris to Moscow then Moscow to Pyongyang).

London (UK) to Dhaka (Bangladesh) can be done almost entirely by train. However it is necessary to cross the border between Serakhs (Turkmenistan) and Serakhs (Iran) by foot or by road as no passenger trains cross this border.
Is there a through train from Moscow to Pyongyang?
 

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Gag Halfrunt

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Here's an old thread on that very subject. They actually travelled in 2008.

 

dutchflyer

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So the same correction as was made by the writers after:
no, they were not the first non-locals to go that way. In fact North-Korea has allowed sympathetic western visitors long before and at that time (think of the 80ies/90 ies in last century) this train was then the common way-once a week. It might even have been kind of congratulations trip for devote communists at that time. Only later on the (then of course Russian built) plane from Beijing was used instead. As such it does not differ that much from the week on the train (sometimes also described ´ an overheated Russian prison on wheels´) from Mockba to Beijing or then Vladivostok/Nakhodka for the Japan ferry.
I think as for the current pandemic times all visits to this country of a dear/beloved/overfat/long overdue leader are out of bounds.
BTW; the currently under protest also against a leader on overtime Byelorus is also extremely clean, well kept, organised to the tiniest details. Can vouch for that from a short visafree visit last year. One would have to pass that (but no stops allowed due to stringent visa-regulations) on the way to Mockba-in normal times.
 

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