In October 2018 I took a night train from Mashhad to Tehran. Alternatively, you’ll have a very similar experience if you take the night train from Tehran to Mashhad. Here is my experience in pictures.
First of all, why would you go to Mashhad? The primary reason is to see the Imam Reza Shrine. Moreover, why would you visit Tehran? Read about the things to do in Tehran.
Now, back to the night train experience in Iran:
Mashhad Train Station
Of course, you will arrive in good time for your departure time. At this point you may wish to wait in the huge lounge. One things for sure, there are enough seats for everyone. What’s more, there are numerous supermarkets and restaurants in case you need to eat or stock up on food for the 10 hour journey.
Boarding the Train
When the train is ready for boarding your ticket is checked before you’re directed to the correct carriage. You will probably receive a friendly welcome to Iran from the ticket inspector. If I remember correctly there’s also a friendly stewardess handing out complimentary sweets as you board the train.
Is the Train Clean?
I would go as far to say that this is one of the cleanest trains I have ever been on. Not only is it clean but it’s also nicely decorated too. It almost has a royal feel to it.
4 Berth Train Compartment
I was very surprised with the quality of the 4 berth compartment. As a matter of fact, it’s the kind of carriage you’d expect James Bond to be traveling in! When you first arrive you will find complimentary bottled water as well as fresh fruit.
Complimentary Iranian Tea
Shortly after departure, fresh tea and cake will be brought to your compartment. You certainly won’t be going traveling hungry and this is before we visit the dining carriage.
The classy dining carriage continues the royal theme we discovered in the compartment. I enjoyed an Iranian kebab with rice which to be honest was not the tastiest I’ve eaten in Iran. However, maybe I was already a little full from the fruit and cakes I had eaten earlier. Of course, there are no alcoholic drinks but there are different flavored non alcoholic beers, coke, sprite or hot tea.
Important: Look at the brand of my train, Zendegi. If you want exactly the same experience as me book with this train company.
Are the Toilets Clean?
Before boarding the train I was unsure what the toilets would be like. As a matter of fact I thought they may be squat toilets. However, on inspection I discovered sparkling clean western style toilets. Furthermore, the toilets were still sparkling clean upon arrival the following morning.
Tehran Train Station
Tehran Train Station is manic. As you would expect in a huge capital city, it’s full of commuters. When you enter you can’t help but notice the imposing posters of the Supreme Leaders. Finally, it’s located in the southern part of Tehran.
Where do you Buy Tickets for the Iran Night Train
You can visit the official Iran Rail website to check the current timetable and prices. The journey from Tehran to Mashhad or vice versa takes around 10-12 hours. It’s possible to buy your tickets online but you must pay in foreign currency. This may be OK if there is currently no black money market in Iran. If there is a black market you will save a significant amount of money by paying in local cash for tickets at either the train station itself or through an agent. The price of the one way ticket I bought in local currency on the black market in 2018 came to $17. Alternatively, an official rate ticket would have cost closer to $65. Both prices are a real bargain when you consider the quality of the train ride I’ve just shared.
Enjoy the night train journey through Iran.
Read about the Trans Mongolian Railway in Siberia. Visiting Iran? Read about the former capital, Shiraz.