The Eastern Express(Doğu Ekspresi) is the name of the train which travels on one of the oldest railways in Turkey. The original name of this destination is actually the famous Orient Express, yes the one in Agatha Christie's novel, which would connect Istanbul to Europe as the first express train of the 20th century. Later on, when the interest to railways declined significantly, this railway has changed its destination between the eastern cities of Turkey and Istanbul. The Eastern Express journey today, starts from the Capital of Turkey, Ankara but you can also catch a train from İstanbul to the starting point, but just bare in mind that the journey until Ankara will be with a modern train. The last stop of this magical route is Kars, which offers a living history lesson to its visitors alongside the bone freezing cold weather:) The list of the stops throughout the journey are: Ankara – Kırıkkale – Kayseri – Sivas -Erzincan – Erzurum – Kars
The Eastern Express, like I said, is one of the oldest rail destination in the Republic of Turkey as well as the Kurtalan Express which has its own story, and has been used by many important public figures and of course the good old train lover writers over time. The scenery that will catch your gaze while traveling in this old locomotive will definitely make you understand the inspiration behind the lines written on this journey! And many people who had travelled this destination says that “it is like being in an old war film with the smoke coming out of the train and the sliding door in front of the little cubicle sleeping spaces”.
I must say, the best time to travel with the eastern express is winter or late autumn, as the snow covered landscape makes everything seem more magical. However, the service runs all year long.
There are many blogs available online as the journey has became popular after many years with the improvements made to the train and the sleeping compartment.
It is advised to buy the tickets as earlier as possible because the bedded compartments fill up first and to be honest those are the ones you would want to travel in. The coach style seating is also available within the train but thinking of the fact that the journey takes 24 hours, you might not want that. The price for the coach section is 46 Turkish Liras and for a little roomette the price goes up to 116 Turkish Liras but there are discounts available for students!
For the food, the service in the dinner compartment is not running at the moment so you will need to do your grocery shopping before getting on and there are also takeaways available in the stations the train stops at, you just need to make your order before the train gets to the platform which I thought was amazing !!
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