Train Travel in Iran for Tourists

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Traveling in Iran by Train

The best way to see Iran is not from a plane at thousands of feet but from the ground level of the Iran railway system.

With more than 13437 Km of railway, the Iranian train network is one of the trending ways to travel around Iran these days. Travelers can enjoy the scenic scenery as they pass through cities, mountain ranges, valleys, deserts, rivers, rural regions, farms, and jungles.

Moreover, most major cities in Iran are connected by railway routes (e.g., Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, etc.). There is also a railway track connecting Iran to Turkey.

Interestingly, long distances, such as Tehran to Shiraz, can be covered cost-effectively with overnight trains, saving on hotel rates.

In this article, we explain how to travel in Iran by train, the most popular and stunning railroads, the best railway companies, Iran train ticket prices, and the rules. So join us, and if you have any questions about train travel in Iran, do not hesitate to contact us.

Train Travel in Iran: Why It's A Good Idea

What is the benefit of traveling by train through Iran among all the means of transportation available?

Iran is a vast country, with hundreds of kilometers between the cities. When it comes to long-distance travel, trains are a good option.

These are some of the reasons why to use the Iranian railway system.

  • It is the safest form of transportation in Iran.
  • The train is more comfortable and environmentally friendly through long distances than buses.
  • You can take the night train for long distances to save the expense of an overnight stay in a hotel and extend your daytime sightseeing hours.
  • The natural landscapes along the Iran railway network are varied and marvelous. Of course, you will not see these scenic sceneries while traveling by airplane, bus, or car.
  • Train stations are easier to access than airports and are usually closer to the city center.
  • All Iranian Railways permit passengers to carry up to 30 Kg of luggage in their compartment, which is more than what domestic flights allow.

History of the Iran Railway System

In 1927, the Trans-Iranian Railway project was launched and completed in 1938. Construction contractors from 43 countries collaborated with the Iranian government to design and execute the project. In addition to its size, the Trans-Iranian Railway is noteworthy for its engineering achievements in overcoming two vast mountain ranges, steep valleys, and other geological obstacles. As a result, about 400 bridges, and 224 tunnels, were constructed on the Iran railway track.

In 2021, Trans-Iranian Railway was inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site.

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Iran Railway Map 2022

13437 kilometers of Iran railroads connect most parts of the country, except for Ilam, Kermanshah, Ardabil, North and South Khorasan, Kurdistan, Kohkilooyeh, and Gilan provinces.

Most Iran railroads link Tehran to other destinations such as Semnan, Shahroud, Neishabour, Khaf, Tabas, Arak, Ahvaz, Khorramshahr, Maragheh, Zanjan, Shiraz, Mianeh, Tabriz, Yazd, Isfahan, Zahedan, Bandar Abbas, Gorgan, Mashhad, etc. Notably, the Tehran-Mashhad line is the busiest Iran railroad; usually, the highest-level trains travel along this route.

Below you can find the Iran railway map.

The Most Luxurious and Best Trains in Iran

Companies that provide transportation services strive to ensure their passengers’ safety and well-being. Listed below are some of the best trains in Iran and the services they offer so that you can have a more enjoyable trip to Iran.

5-star Fadak Train
The Most Luxurious Train in Iran

Due to their comfort and safety, Fadak trains are also called 5-star mobile hotels in Iran. There are three classes of Fadak trains, i.e., luxury, business, and standard. Of course, all Fadak trains are five stars.

Each compartment in the Fadak train has four beds and two screens. You can adjust the temperature of the compartments in Fadak trains, and the attendant can be summoned at any time if you need help.

Moreover, Fadak trains have excellent customer service comparable to a good restaurant. Upon arrival, and during the journey, food and drinks are offered regularly for free. In other words, you won’t have to pay extra for services and catering.

Besides, from the time passengers are at the railway terminal to the end of their journey, headphones, newspapers, cribs, and wheelchairs are all provided on request. Moreover, hygiene packs, including toothpaste, toothbrush, slippers, blindfold, and comb, are provided in the compartment.

Occasionally, for groups of more than two people, a complimentary one-night stay in Mashhad is offered.

Fadak Train operates on Tehran, Qom, Zanjan, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Qazvin, Karaj, and Mashhad routes.

5-star Zendegi Train

The 5-star Zendegi Train, also known as Zindagi Train, is a comfortable train for a journey through Iran. This train entered the Raja Company in 2017. It is among Iran’s luxury trains that provide passengers with services equal to those provided by airlines, but it costs less than flying!

The 4-bed compartments of this train are suitable options for family trips. Among the services that are provided on Zendegi trains, there are two 18-inch monitors in the compartments, an advanced audio and video system, an air-conditioning system, Wifi, a welcome drink and snack, a small souvenir shop, etc. Moreover, the restaurants on this train serve various Iranian and international dishes.

Finally, the Zendegi train is currently operating on the routes of Tehran-Mashhad, Mashhad-Shiraz, Tehran-Shiraz, Tehran-Isfahan, and Mashhad-Isfahan.

Ghazal Bonyad VIP Train

With its luxurious and well-equipped compartments, this train is another top train in Iran. 

With ten 4-seater compartments, the total capacity of the Ghazal Bonyad Train is 40 passengers. The facilities in the Ghazal Bonyazd VIP trains’ coupes include audio and video systems, comfortable seats, adjustable beds, and an air conditioning system. It should be noted that Ghazal trains are available in coupe and bus types. Moreover, many Iranian railway companies, such as Safar Rail, Raja, Bon Rail, Safir, and Vania Rail, use this train in their rail fleets.

Each wagon has a compartment for the attendants, with amenities such as a microwave, refrigerator, and telephone for passengers. In addition, wheelchairs are available upon request.

Note that the 4-star Ghazal train includes two main trains called Ghazal Bonyad Train and Ghazal Bonyad VIP Train, which are sometimes confused. Actually, there is no difference between standard and VIP compartments; only the quality of service is higher in the VIP class.

Also, there are two other trains in the Ghazal train company providing similar services, called Soroush and Parastoo. However, the Soroush train only travels between Qom and Mashhad.

In total, Ghazal trains operate on the routes of Tehran-Mashhad, Tehran-Bandar Abbas, Tehran-Kerman, Mashhad-Yazd, Mashhad-Isfahan, Mashhad-Kerman, and Mashhad-Bandar Abbas.

Nour al Reza Train

Noor Al Reza Train is one of the leading railroad companies in Iran, which started its operation in 2006.

As one of the trains in the VIP category, the Nour al Reza Train offers special services to its passengers. It has 64 4-seater compartments.

This train has an advanced brake and wheels system, sound and heat insulation system, anti-fire seats, and updated audio, video, and ventilation system.

Besides, UIC international standards have been fully implemented in 85% of the electrical equipment used in this train. So, because of these factors, trains operated by Noor Al Reza are safe and comfortable. Tehran-Mashhad, Tehran-Shiraz, Karaj-Mashhad, and Isfahan-Mashhad routes are served by this train.

The Most Stunning Railways in Iran

A considerable portion of Iran is inhospitable, with high mountains, vast deserts, and dense jungles. Interestingly, Iran’s railroads pass through a number of these pristine regions.

Below we introduce some of the most beautiful railways in Iran.

Tehran-Sari Railway
The Bride of Iran's Railway Routes

Tehran-Sari railway track is one of the most beautiful rail routes in Iran. Along the route, there are 24 different stations. However, until Garmsar station, there are no scenic views. But after Garmsar Station, you must keep your eyes glued to the window to catch every glimpse of the scenery. The railway track enters forest and mountainous areas after crossing Pol Sefid (white bridge). You will also visit Javaarem Forest and Lofur Dam along the way. 

It is a common practice to buy a two-way ticket from Tehran to Sari and then to Mashhad to experience the lush landscapes of the north.

Moreover, one of the prominent attractions on this railroad is Veresk Bridge. Before World War II, this bridge was constructed on the Veresk River in the vicinity of Savad Kooh. It is 110 meters high with a 66-meter arched span. In fact, it is one of the masterpieces of engineering of the northern Iran railway track.

The Gadook Tunnel is another attraction along this railway route. This tunnel is 2887 meters long and is the longest tunnel in Iran. Gadook tunnel is 6 meters wide, and at the end, it becomes the highest tunnel in Iran. The tunnel has been in service for nearly 90 years, and it takes four minutes to pass it.

Consequently, the Tehran-Sari railway route can be considered the bride of Iran’s railway routes.

A Ride in the Lush Landscapes on Mashhad-Sari Train

On this route, the train passes through virgin forests in northern Iran. You will be on the railroad for about 14 hours to reach your destination. On the way, you will see unique forests and mountains, which are an inseparable part of the trip to The North. There are several stations on the Mashhad-Sari route, including Kashmar, Esfaraen, Shahroud, Damghan, Semnan, Garmsar, Firouzkooh, and Ghaemshahr.

In addition, the villages along the Mashhad-Sari railway are so lovely that you would like to spend the night in one of their cottages.

Qazvin-Rasht Railway
A Route through the Heaven

The Qazvin-Rasht train route is so beautiful that it competes with the Tehran-Sari route. Tourists believe that this route is one of the most beautiful railways in Iran. There are forests, paddy fields, and rivers as far as the eye can see. 

Also, there are 52 tunnels and 17 km of bridges on the 164 km railway route from Qazvin to Rasht. 

In addition, the biggest railway bridge in Iran, Manjil Bridge, with 1430 meters, is located along the Qazvin-Rasht railway.

Visit the Pristine Regions through Tehran-Ahvaz Railroad

Traveling by train in Iran is not limited to railways deep in the forests. Tourists interested in roaming Iran by train can view spectacular natural landscapes nearby Iran’s western border through the Zagros Mountain Range.

There are stunning waterfalls, rivers, valleys, and other natural sights in provinces such as Lorestan and Khuzestan, even though they are rarely visited. We suggest having a train ride from Tehran to Ahwaz to enter a world of recalcitrance, a journey that leads you to ancient Mesopotamian plains.

Finally, it is better to choose your departure time so that you pass through Lorestan during the day.

Lorestan Tourist Train

Lorestan Province, with its spectacular views and beautiful scenery, is one of the most stunning places to visit in Iran. 

The Lorestan Tourist Train travels along a 74 railroad, starting from Drood city and ending in Keshvar Station. It was constructed only for tourism purposes, so the stops at several stations are relatively long so passengers can enjoy the natural scenery more.

Along the way, you will visit various tourist attractions such as Sulfur Spring, Bisheh Waterfall, Aab Garm Waterfall, etc.

Notably, you can either purchase the train ticket or the complete tour package. The full package includes staying in eco-lodges for four nights and all meals. If you don’t want to stay in a lodge, you can opt for a package including meals without accommodation.

Explore the Desert on Tehran-Zahedan Train

Two huge deserts cover over 10% of Iran’s total area in the central and central-eastern parts.

Some major Iran railroads pass through the mentioned deserts to connect Tehran with cities in the east and southeast, including Mashhad and Zahedan. A train journey between Tehran and Zahedan, passing through the main deserts of Iran, gifts you a closer look at the Dasht-e Lut, one of the hottest places on the planet and the UNESCO site.

So, if you’re interested in getting around Iran by train, you cannot miss traveling through this railway track.

Iran – Turkey Train

There is a weekly train connecting Iran with Turkey from Tehran to Ankara. First, you ride the train from Tehran to Tabriz, and from there, you will head to the Van Station in Turkey. After reaching Van Lake, you will be transferred to the Tatvan Port by ferry. Finally, you will travel from Tatvan Port to Ankara by Turkish train.

Currently, the Iran-Turkey train can only be booked by travel agencies and local train stations.

Railway Companies in Iran

There are currently 12 train companies in Iran, offering railroad transport to many destinations throughout the country. Iran train companies include Raja, Fadak, Bon Rail, Noor al Reza, Joopar, Rabad, Pars, Kosar Mahtab, Saba, Hastia, and Vania Rail. Raja is the oldest, and Fadak offers the most luxurious services. Also, some companies provide rail freight services, such as Joopar.

Notably, the railway companies in Iran offer different services according to the volume of passengers on each route. For instance, one of the country’s busiest routes is the Tehran-Mashhad route. As a result, when buying a train ticket on this route, you will encounter different trains and services, making it difficult to choose one.

Hence, if you plan to travel by train to Iran for the first time, it is better to get information about all the trains operating on your desired railroad. Because, you may buy a ticket, but not be satisfied with the quality of services, and later discover that other train companies provided better services.

Iran Train Ticket Price on Different Routes

In the table below, we have mentioned the origins and destinations of Iran’s main railway routes, the most important train companies active on these routes, the train ticket price, and the travel duration.

How to Book Iran Train Tickets

Generally, if you want to travel in Iran by train, you must buy your tickets in advance, like two or three weeks before departure. However, book at least a month in advance for public holidays like Nowruz or Ashura.

Please note that the reservations of train tickets may not open until a few days before departure. In that case, you will need to stay alert since as soon as the reservation sites open the possibility of ticket train booking, they get fully booked.

In contrast, trains to smaller destinations do not get booked up in advance; Like the train from Mashhad to Sarakhs.

Another problem is that Iranian train tickets are written in Farsi.

Hence, we recommend contacting an Iranian travel agency to ensure you can reserve your train ticket in time.

Train Rules in Iran

To avoid getting into trouble while traveling by train in Iran, you should follow the following rules.

Rules for Boarding the Train

  • People under 17 can only travel in Iran by train with their parents.
  • You must be at the station an hour before the departure of the train. Also, ten minutes before departure, the train doors will be closed.
  • According to the Iran railway rules, the passenger is required to present a printed ticket to board the train. In case of damage to the train, compensation is possible only to the holders of the printed ticket. Currently, the Zendegi, Sabz, and Simorgh trains of Raja Company in Mashhad and Tehran stations allow passengers to board with their ID cards without showing a printed ticket.
  • It is essential to keep your train ticket with you until the end of your trip.
  • If you are traveling as a solo female traveler and want to be comfortable in the compartment, you have the option of buying a ticket for the women’s compartment.

Train Ticket Rate and Refund and Compensation Policies

  • All train passengers are insured against accidents from entering the origin station until they leave the destination station.
  • Iran train ticket for Children between 2 and 12 years old is half-price.
  • The ticket price for infants up to 2 years old is 10% of the total price (equivalent to the cost of passenger insurance). Also, in this situation, the infant will not have a seat. Passengers who want their baby to have a seat should pay half price.
  • Passengers who want to purchase tickets for two consecutive trains should leave at least three hours between the first train’s arrival and the second train’s departure. Otherwise, the passenger will be responsible for canceling the second ticket without compensation.
  • Passengers who want to continue their journey with another vehicle after getting off the train must respect a four-hour interval between reaching the destination and the second vehicle’s departure.
  • On long routes (such as Mashhad-Ahvaz), extra delay without compensation is probable for unloading and reloading at Tehran station.
  • It is not possible to refund the ticket price after the train departure.
  • Online refunds are available for purchased tickets up to 60 minutes before departure. After the mentioned time, the passenger must take the printed ticket and ID card to one of the train sales centers in person.
  • In the table below, you can find the Iran train cancellation charges.

Rules for Luggage

  • The luggage size cannot exceed 75 cm, and the weight cannot exceed 30 kg for every passenger. 
  • If your luggage exceeds the mentioned limits, you must hand over your excess luggage to the baggage counter at the station. 
  • The belongings of passengers must not endanger other passengers or damage the train. Accordingly, carrying combustible, incendiary, disease-causing, smelly, oily, and dairy liquids, drugs, toxic and breakable objects, etc., is prohibited on the train

Finally, please ask your questions or share your comments regarding Iran Train Travel. We appreciate your valuable comments, and they will also be useful to others.

Iran Travel FAQ

Most Frequent Questions and Answers about
Iran Train Travel

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