Moldova - General Information
Moldova (Republica Moldova)
National railway system
National Railway Operator
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.
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.
numeric 23; alpha CFM.
A station to station timetable facility including days of running is available at . On the menu bar select 'Transportul de Pasageri' then select 'Mersul Trenilor'.
However, a good privately compiled timetable is available (as at 19 December 2019, not updated since August 2019).
There is no public timetable as such.
- European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball.
- European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - Baltic States, Belarus and Ukraine) by M.G. Ball.
- Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova Railway Atlas by Quail Map Company. A comprehensive atlas of the Moldova rail network in English and German, which records the evolution of the network and place-names on it, published December 1995, but now out of print.
- 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.
- Map offered by CFM CFM Network Map dated November 2022
- Thorsten Büker's single sheet Map of Ukraine and Moldova dated March 2018.
Online tickets are available for the international trains from Chisinau to Iasi Socola and Chisinau - Bucharest via the CFM website
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.
An annual report over the activities and results carried out in 2022 has been published.
"Russian" gauge (1520mm). There is a gauge changer at Ungheni, where bogies are changed.
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.
Some distances are visible via the Network Map
Recent and future changes (latest first)
On 10 November 2022 the night train 351/352 Chişinău - Kyiv was reinstated, operated by UZ.
On 22 August 2022 the cross border line Basarabeasca - Berezino (- Odessa), avoiding Transnistria, was reopened for through freight traffic.
On 18 May 2022 modernisation work on the 233 km Bender (Tighina) – Basarabeasca – Giurgiulești line was officially launched. This will remove weight and speed restrictions, increasing the line speed to 120 km/h for passenger trains and 90 km/h for freight.
All train traffic from Chişinău/Tiraspol towards Odessa was halted in late February 2022 as a result of the collapsed cross border bridge at Cuciurgan.
Starting from 12 December 2021, trains 105/106 Chisinau-Bucharest resumed.
The Moldovan parliament has voted (October 2021)to bring CFM into line with EU legislation by breaking the railway into passenger, freight and infrastructure divisions. Passenger and freight may be opened to private operators.
On 2 August 2021 services were restored Bălți Slobozia - Ocnița - Bălți Slobozia, Bălți Slobozia - Rogojeni - Bălți Slobozia and Ungheni - Bălți Slobozia - Ungheni
Reported in early 2021 that a collapse in freight revenues has led to financial problems with workers not paid and no money to buy fuel, so service cuts necessary in addition to those caused by the Pandemic. Local services Chişinău - Ungheni, Chişinău - Bender and Bălți-Slobozia - Ocnita were reported operating.
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.
From 2019 there are services through Transnistria: Chişinău <=> Moskva (alternate days from December 2019) 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 since at least September 2019 two daily train pairs have been running between Basarabeasca and Zloţi.
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 53km 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 1435/1520mm is meant.
Local services are mostly suspended due to the lack of finances for diesel. Priority is given to international services to Iasi, Bucharest and Kyiv, serving some local stations.
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.