You are currently viewing How to take the train from Poland to Uman for Rosh Hashanah 2024

How to take the train from Poland to Uman for Rosh Hashanah 2024

As Uman Rosh Hashanah is approaching, everyone knows that we still cannot fly into Ukraine. The only way into Ukraine is through land borders from countries such as Moldova, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. Last year, I took the train from Poland and this is what I learned and how it should be done:

(You will need to fly into Poland obviously. I will discuss below by each train route which airports you can fly into.)

There are two sites that you can purchase Poland to Ukraine train tickets from. I will be linking them below. They are the main Ukrainian train site and Polrail. As I will discuss below, sales for these tickets only open up 20 days before your desired travel dates and there will be a rush to buy them. The advantage of purchasing your tickets through Polrail is that they are seasoned agents who know how buy the tickets on time and they do it well. The prices are a bit more expensive with Polrail. You can actually purchase tickets on Polrail weeks before the actual sale starts and then they buy it for you when the sale opens up. However, on Polrail you can’t see the seat maps or the different stops on the route so you can use the Ukrainian site to view the seats and routes and then purchase tickets on Polrail if needed. More on this later on.

Main Ukrainian site to buy train tickets: https://booking-new.uz.gov.ua/en This is a new site that you don’t need a VPN to access. You should test if your credit card works by buying a super cheap ticket somewhere in Ukraine because not all cards are working there at the moment. You will need a valid phone number to receive a code to finish your purchase. When buying tickets on the main Ukrainian site you should pay attention to if the train is a seating train or a sleeping. A seating train looks like this:

A sleeping train looks like this:

If you are traveling by yourself, I do not recommend taking a sleeping train as certain halachic issues could arise. Anyways let’s begin:

First off, there is no guarantee that you will get a train ticket around Rosh Hashanah time. Sales of train tickets from Poland into Ukraine only open up 20 days before your desired travel dates. Since there are many people (besides Breslov Chassidim) who want to travel this way it is sometimes hard to get a ticket before they are all sold out.

Taking the train has advantages over crossing the border by private car, Uman Express or by foot. These international trains need to run on time and the checking of the passports are done on the train once you cross into Ukraine. The seats in first class are pretty comfortable, there are bathrooms and you can also buy drinks and get hot water on the trains. Instead of waiting hours to cross the border it will just take a few minutes with the train.

As far as I know there are at least five train routes that one can travel on from Poland that will make sense for Uman.

Warsaw to Kiev, Chelm to Kiev, Przemyśl to Bila Tserkva, Przemyśl to Vapniarka and Przemyśl (פשמשיל) to Vinnitsya (this last one is the most popular route).

Warsaw to Kiev Route (Landing in Warsaw Chopin Airport):

There are multiple daily trains from Warsaw to Kiev that can take anywhere between 15 to 20 hours. Tickets for this train can only be purchased on the Polrail site. This site sells tickets for trains inside Poland and from Poland to Ukraine. They are basically agents that can purchase the tickets for you and they know how to do it well. I purchased from them last year and everything worked out fine. You must take note when searching for trains about how you receive your ticket as well. In the picture below (from their website) you can see a Yellow printer symbol by some trains and a Blue ticket by others. The yellow symbol means that they will purchase the ticket for you and you can print it out and that’s it. The blue ticket means that you will have to go pick up your ticket at an office in Warsaw. I do not recommend buying a ticket with the Blue symbol. I have never taken this train but it could be a good idea for someone who lands in Warsaw and doesn’t want to travel to Chelm or Przemyśl. From Kiev you can take a bus or taxi to Uman. The downside of this route is that there probably won’t be many Chassidim going this way. If you are planning on doing this route – go with a group of friends.

Chelm to Kiev Route:

Chelm is a city in Poland and from there you can take a train directly to Kiev and from there bus/car to Uman. This train also stops in Berdichev. The two closest airports to Chelm are Warsaw Chopin and Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport. It’s about a 2 hours and 35 minutes drive from each of those airports. You can also fly to Krakow but its more than 4 hours to get to Chelm. When buying your train tickets and plane tickets you need to make sure that you will have enough time to make it to your train after landing. It’s best if you give yourself more than a few hours from landing to when your train leaves if you can. You are expected to show up at least one hour before the train leaves. When buying a ticket on this route make sure to check if it’s a sleeping train or a seating train as well. You can purchase tickets for this train on Polrail and on the main Ukrainian site (both links posted above). It is possible that this train is only a sleeping train and the journey is close to 13-14 hours.

Przemyśl Routes:

Przemyśl aka פשמשיל is the train station that is closest to the border of Ukraine and most of the trains leave from there. Here is the location of it on Google Maps – https://maps.app.goo.gl/qbanX8dpSFcrAQLMA. The actual trains that go from Przemyśl into Ukraine leave from one of the platforms a few minutes walk from the main train station. All you need to do is arrive at this location and wait on line to be allowed on to the platform. There is a small passport check as you are leaving Poland but it doesn’t take long. It’s good to get there early.

 

Most Breslov Chassidim who are taking trains will be there. You can fly into Warsaw Chopin, Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport or John Paul II International Airport in Krakow and make your way from those airports to Przemyśl. The best best option for any Przemyśl route is to fly to Rzeszow-Jasionka (1 hour away from the train station by car) but not all flights go there and tickets to there are usually very expensive. Last year, people did different things to get to Przemyśl from different areas. I took a taxi with a friend from Warsaw which was very expensive but we stopped off at some holy sites along the way so it was worth it. Some people rented cars.

There are also trains inside Poland but the train from Warsaw to Przemyśl can take between 5 to 8 hours and also involves changing trains. There is a bus from Warsaw to Przemyśl but that also can take 8 hours. If you fly into Warsaw, make sure you have a plan to get to the train station. If you land in Krakow you can take a 2-3 hour train to Prezmyl.

Site to buy train tickets between cities INSIDE POLAND: https://www.intercity.pl/pl/

Site to by bus tickets all over Ukraine, Poland, etc: https://infobus.eu/en

You should also take note of the time zones. Poland is one hour before Ukraine and the times on the tickets show the timezone of which country the train is leaving from. If it says 11:30 pm from Prezmyl then it means 11:30 pm Poland time..not Ukrainian time.

Prezmyl to Bila Tserkva Route:

Bila Tserkva is a city in Ukraine and it is about 1 hour 40 minutes away from Uman. You can take a train from Prezmyl aka פשמשיל to there. You can buy tickets for this train ONLY on the main Ukrainian site. I believe there is only a sleeping train option for this route and the journey is about 9 hours long.

Prezmyl to Vapniarka Route:

Vapniarka is about 2 hours from Uman and you can take a train to there from Prezmyl. You can buy tickets for this train ONLY on the main Ukrainian site. I believe there is only a sleeping train on this route and it takes about 12 hours.

Prezmyl to Vinnitsya Route:

This is by far the most popular route. You can buy tickets for this route on the main Ukrainian site and on Polrail. On Polrail there are only trains from Prezmyl to Kiev listed however upon further investigation one can realize that it’s the same train number as the train from Prezmyl to Vinnitsia and the train continues on to Kiev. Therefore , one can buy a ticket from Prezmyl to Kyiv on the Polrail site and just get off at Vinnitsya. From Vinnitsya, you can take a taxi to Uman which is about 2 hours and 20 minutes from there. I did this last year with no issue. The only issue with this way of purchasing was that on the way back out of Ukraine my ticket was listed as leaving from Kiev and I did not know if I would be able to get on in Vinnitsya. Many people said it would be fine but I was nervous so I went to Kyiv and got on there. Other people who had same tickets as me got on at Vinnitsya and it was all fine. The travel time on this route is around 8 hours and there are a few trains a day. Mostly seating trains but there is one sleeping train on this route as well.




Leave a Reply