Slavutich - Semikhody

The world’s strangest train route

This train in few minutes departs to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.  And there is a whole story behind it, making it, probably, the strangest and the most surreal railway route in the world.

Historically, the area that now enclosed in Chernobyl Zone has been crossed by railway line from Chernigiv to Ovruch, established in 1928 with total length of 177 kilometers. It was used for passenger- and cargo operations, joining eastern and western parts of the north of Ukraine.  After Chernobyl disaster, the significant part of the line got into contaminated area, and multiple stations were closed for normal operations, including the Yaniv station that served the city of Pripyat and Chernobyl NPP. With the start of liquidation works, the western branch of the railway turned to massive logistics artheria to dispatch necessary materials to the power plant site.

Train in Chernobyl Zone

Once it became visible that there won't be any return to Pripyat, a replacement town for then NPP's employees was founded — Slavutych. To connect it with the power plant, an eastern part of remaining railway was used. So it starts in Slavutich and goes to the west, towards the Chernobyl NPP, crossing the state border of Ukraine — to enter Belarus. There are no more stops performed after this — only bypasses. First (and last alive) station on the way is Iolcha (Yolcha) in a normal neigborhood. However, shortly after the train enters Belorussian Zone (Polissya State Radiological-Ecological Reserve, PGREZ).

On its territory there are 3 more abandoned stations — Interchange (Peresadochnaya), Kolyban' and Posudovo. The first one, the Interchange, was created especially for this route ans was intensively used up to 1991, until the radioactive emission levels naturally decreased to acceptable limits. The station, located straight in the forest, consisted of few boarding platforms and dedicated decontamination facility for rolling stock. The “clean” train from Slavutich was coming to station, where people had to take another, “dirty” train that continued to NPP, and vice versa. Nowadays, all the complex is abandoned, and trees are growing over the platforms, but it is still possible to regognize it from the train. The decontamination facilities — a system of rotary washers in hangars were also shut down and dismantled.

After PGREZ, the train again enters Ukraine and continues going towards Chernobyl NPP. Shortly after the state border, it passes the abandoned platform Mashevo. Following common practice, it was named by village that actually lies few kilometers away, while the surrounding neigborhood is abandoned Gorodchan village.

Train in Chernobyl Zone

Next is Zymovysche platform, also abandoned, decorated with graffiti 'Welcome to Hell'. The railway crossing here, as well as at Gorodchan is completely authomatic. Given that it equipped with working light outpost, probably the only within few kilometers, it looks pretty surreal in the darkness.

Train in Chernobyl Zone

Finally, the train comes to Semikhody railway station at NPP. This station itself is an enforced checkpoint with hangar-styled platforms and clothing change/decontamination facilities. All the operating stations on the way, including those on Belarus territory are under Ukraine management and belong to Ukrzaliznytsa corporation.

Train schedule

From Slavutych to Semikhody: 06:30, 07:23, 07:41, 10:00 (was 11:15 before February 01, 2018), 18:28.
From Semikhody to Slavutych: 08:40, 15:55, 16:45, 17:05, 20:40.

One do not need a ticket for the train, though we strongly advice NOT to take it, unless you have permission for the destination checkpoint. However, in our tours on demand we can give you such experience - properly documented and remarkable.

Write a comment