Moldova - General Information

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Country Name

Moldova (Republica Moldova)

National railway system

National Railway Operator

CFM - Caile Ferată Moldova.

Language

The Constitution of 1994 states that "the national language of the Republic of Moldova is Moldovan, and its writing is based on the Latin alphabet," while the 1991 Declaration of Independence names the official language Romanian. The 1989 State Language Law speaks of a Moldo-Romanian linguistic identity. Russian is provided with the status of a "language of interethnic communication" (alongside the official language), and in practice remains widely used. Gagauz and Ukrainian have significant regional speaker populations and are granted official status together with Russian in Gagauzia and Transnistria respectively.

Currency

Moldova Leu (MDL; plural Lei), 1 Leu = 100 Bani (singular Ban). In Transnistria, a partially recognized state claimed in whole by Moldova, the Transnistrian rouble is used instead.

UIC code

numeric 23; alpha CFM.

Timetable

Journey Planner

None. However a station to station timetable facility is available at [1]. On the menu bar select Transportul de Pasageri then select Mersul Trenilor.

Downloadable Timetable

None

However, a good privately compiled timetable is available.

Printed Timetable

Probably no public timetable as such.

Engineering Information

None.

Maps

Printed Maps

  • European Railway Atlas by M.G. Ball (2008 onwards)
  • An excellent 1:200.000 Moldova map, produced by the Kiev map publishers, can be found in book shops in Chişinău or in larger Ukrainian towns. It is very like the popular Ukraine Oblast maps.

Web-based Maps

Ticketing

Opportunities to use credit or debit cards at ticket offices may be limited, particularly in Transnistria. Normally, payment is possible only in local currency. Purchase of tickets from Transnistria to Chisinau may be possible only at limited times.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure Authority

Not known.

Network Statement

None known.

Gauge

"Russian" gauge (1520mm). There is a gauge changer at Ungheni, where bogies are changed.

Electrification

None. Electrification had been planned into Moldova from the Ukraine border at Kuchurhan, and electrification masts were installed from the end of the UZ electrification at Kuchurhan through Tiraspol to Bender, but no further work has been done for many years.

Rule of the road

There is a section of effectively double track between Chişinău and Revaca (see Obscure Services), and between Cornești and Pîrlița on the line between Chișinău to Ungheni with right-hand running, but otherwise all lines are single track.

Distances

No source known

Other railways

None.

Tourist lines

None.

Metro

None.

Trams

None.

Recent and future changes

Services via Bender and Tiraspol, which are in Transnistria, continue to be affected. See Special Notes below.

Local trains between Chişinău and Bender-2 in practice only run as far as Bender-3; passengers for Bender-2 must cross the border into and out of Transnistria on foot.

In 2019 there are services through Transnistria: Chişinău <=> Moskva (daily) and Chişinău <=> Odessa (from mid September 2019 operates Fridays Saturdays and Sundays).

The Chişinău <=> Basarabeasca service via Revaca and Căinari is show on the timetable displays as "suspended", it is not known when the service ceased. However in September 2019 two daily train pairs were running between Basarabeasca and Zloți.

The Basarabeasca <=> Reni (Ukraine) passenger service ceased in 2015/2016, but in September 2019 Etulia <=> Reni saw two daily train pairs running, operated by Ukrainian Railways as the majority of the route in is Ukraine.

Services east of Bălți-Slobozia now only run as far as Rogojeni, the service beyond there to Șoldănești having ceased at an unknown date, probably in 2015/2016.

Substantial investments have been made in building new railway lines since 2003, with the goal of connecting Chişinău to southern Moldova and the Giurgiuleşti oil terminal. The first such segment was the 40 km Revaca - Căinari line, opened in 2006. The 53 km Cahul - Giurgiuleşti line, opened only in 2008, closed in summer 2012 for a period because 20 km of track near the river Prut need rebuilding owing to poor construction. A passenger service over this section ran for a period in 2013/2014, reportedly only as far as the port gates at Giurgiuleşti.

The daily Basarabeasca <=> Cahul train was reported to have been withdrawn by August 2013.

The cross-border service between Prut-2 and Fălciu CFR, re-introduced in 2010, was missing from the 2011-2012 and subsequent timetables, and by September 2019 the line had been cut at the former junction west of Prut-1.

The route between Ocnita and Chernivitsi (Ukraine) crosses the border a total of five times: most through services were withdrawn by August 2013 though overnight service 117/118 'Bukovina' (Chernivtsi-Kyiv) ran this way during summer 2014. See Border Crossings: Moldova - Ukraine for more details.

An agreement was signed in October 2015 to reopen the Basarabeasca - Berezyne (Ukraine) line, closed to all traffic in 1997 and lifted in 1999. This would have enabled traffic between the two countries to avoid passing through the breakaway territory of Transnistria. Work was supposed to start in summer 2016, but it appears that a lack of funds has meant that the project has been postponed.

Moldova is to receive €100 M in loans and grants from the EIB and EBRD. Most of this will be used to modernize the Chişinău - Ungheni line. It is said that the line will also be converted to 1435 mm gauge. This seems most unlikely as it would cut off northern Moldova from Chişinău and it is more likely that dual 1435/1520 mm is meant.

Special Notes

Transnistria, also known as Trans-Dniestr or Transdniestria is a breakaway territory located mostly in a strip between the Dniester River and the eastern border with Ukraine. It is generally recognised internationally as being the de jure government of Eastern Moldova as the Stînga Nistrului ("Left Dnestr bank") autonomous region. Since its declaration of independence in 1990, it has been governed de facto by the unrecognized Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublica (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic - PMR, also known as "Pridnestrovie"), which claims the east bank of the river Dniester and the town of Bender and its locality on the right bank of the Dnestr. The Republic of Moldova does not recognize this secession and considers it to be part of Moldova.

Travellers entering Moldova from Transnistria do not receive an entry stamp because the Republic of Moldova considers Transnistria to be part of Moldova. Until recently, this caused problems on leaving Moldova as it could be construed as having entered the country illegally. To avoid problems on leaving Moldova, it was recommended to cross Transnistria only from west to east, or to cross the whole of Moldova in the same train from Kuchurhan to Iaşi, using the Saratov – Varna summer-only train. Recent advice to westbound passengers has been to request a Moldovan entry stamp on arrival at Chişinău.

However, see the Novosavickaia CFM - Kuchurhan UZ border crossing for the situation with local services to and from Bender.

Photographers must ask permission from railway staff and police before taking pictures. Often they give permission, but do not attempt to take pictures if they refuse it.

See also