Summer 2001 (9.2)
from Baku to Tbilisi, Georgia, or vice-versa? There's now a new
transportation option to consider-the Silk Road Express. For
slightly less money than an airplane ticket, business and leisure
travelers can take advantage of overnight train service. The
Silk Road Express route was launched in June 2000 as a joint
project between SI Travel and American Express.
top to bottom:
View of Tbilisi, Georgia; the Silk Road Express departing from
Baku's Central Railway Station; the train's restaurant car; and
a double-occupancy business-class sleeping compartment. Photos:
Economy rates are $168
one-way and $270 round-trip. Business-class rates are $260 one-way
and $470 round-trip. All fares include sleeping compartments,
dinner and a full breakfast in the train's restaurant car. Alternate
menus are available for an additional charge.
The train has quality facilities on board, such as comfortable
double-occupancy compartments in the business-class carriage.
There's video and audio entertainment in the restaurant carriage.
A wide selection of meals are also available there, so passengers
can dine or simply relax with a drink, readily available from
The demand for quality
train travel has existed for several years since independence,
especially since the relationship between Azerbaijan and Georgia
has strengthened, and more and more international companies have
opened offices in both countries.
Complicating the situation was the fact that the highways between
the two capitals were in poor condition, especially during winter.
The potential for starting the new train service existed, and
SI Travel decided to start negotiations with the Azerbaijani
railway authorities. Soon the project was up and running.
Three Times a Week
Silk Road Express departs from Baku's Central Railway Station
three times a week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and returns
from Tbilisi's Central Railway Station on Mondays, Thursdays
and Saturdays. Passengers should arrive at least 30 minutes before
In between are two short stops in Azerbaijan-Ganja and Ujar-plus
the border checkpoints, which usually take an hour to complete.
The crossing is relatively hassle-free, and passengers do not
need to disembark. Instead, immigration officers board the train
to check passports and visas.
To get to Georgia, you'll need a valid passport, an Azerbaijani
exit visa and a Georgian entry visa. The Georgian and Azerbaijani
embassies usually process visa applications within three days.
For tickets, contact SI Travel, 111 Nizami Street, Baku. Tel:
(994-12) 97-08-00 or 97-09-00; Fax: 97-19-02; e-mail: email@example.com; www.si-travel.com. SI Travel, an Azerbaijani
company, was chosen in 1996 by American Express Europe Ltd. to
be its travel representative in Azerbaijan. It offers a full
range of travel services and specializes in corporate services.
SI Travel sells tickets for the Silk Road Express, while the
management and operation of the service is undertaken by Silk
Road Express Company.
(9.2) Summer 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2001. All rights reserved.
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AI 9.2 (Summer 2001)
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